Pins and Needles was born out of an ad hoc feminist collective who gathered around the solving of a mystery. The story of this collective starts here.
In the fall of 2013, a librarian recommended a book to Terre. The Chronicles of Harris Burdick is known as a book that contains images that are used as storytelling and writing prompts. After much looking for this book, it was added to an Amazon wish list. A used copy of the book was delivered to the US as a gift where it was picked up and brought to Terre as a Christmas gift.
Upon opening the volume, a stack of 34 index cards fell out of the book, and into Terre’s lap. Careful to pick them up in order, they were examined and placed back into the book.
The cards were unusual. Having worked in libraries in circulation, the cataloguing system was not recognized as either of the primary methods of organizing libraries. With some research, it was found that the cards had some peculiar aspects:
- The cards had irregular type – indicating that they were written with an impact typewriter
- The cataloguing system has been identified as a museum system
- All of the cards referred to works of art
- Most were paintings
- One was a film
- One was a reference card
- Artists Picasso and Miro have no death date on the cards
- All cards referred to women depicted in art
- A significant amount of cards refer to Canadian artists
The mystery was ignored for months, until the cards were brought into REAP Waterloo’s Felt Lab. In the innovative context of this space, the cards were organized and reorganized and certain patterns were found.
- Half of the cards are women in a passive context
- Half of the cards are women in an active context
- Several repeated concepts
- The art work ranges in production date from the 16th century to the 1970s
- The women are described in primarily mundane and everyday context
A team was assembled, comprising the artists included in the collective undertook the production of this work. After much discussion, hard work, and a cheery amount of food and drink, the collective established four initial primary stories with the goal of exploring the hidden stories of the women described through the artwork. These stories were presented at Night\Shift 2014.