The work was done in reaction to the widely felt shock a horror at the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, and was responding particularly to his open admission of serial sexual assault. I created it as a way of contributing my voice to the larger movement.
Abbey Gans Mather, 10 May 2018
Trump’s election terrified me. I was terrified, and in retrospect not nearly imaginative enough about what he would do with four years in power. But more over I was alienated from half of the country who had seen and heard him “grab her by the pussy” and said, yes, that’s the guy for me. Often, especially since having a child, I use knitting to turn time I am stuck waiting into objects. The Pussy Hat Project arrived in that moment - alienated and waiting for the blow to fall - and gave women across the country to express solidarity and care for each other. And the pattern could not be simpler. It is a square that can be knit, or crocheted or sewn. But when you wear it cat ears pop up. So, I made a hat, I made my daughter a hat. Friends at school asked for hats. I made a couple more. Then I, and everyone in American, ran out of pink yarn. And we marched. Thousands of people wearing the hat, together.
I delight in the Craft Council’s focus no only on objects but on the act of making and the value of technique. It feels to me like a way of saying that individuals matter, and learning and practice and knowledge and skill and most of all complexity matter. Those, in at least the United States, are values very much under siege. The value of the Pussy Hat, is that it is such a simple piece that individuals deployed in complex ways to turn it into a political message and warning. It gave women a voice when they needed it most, and showed a path to organizing and facing the coming years. I do not want to end this without a shout out to the creators of the project, Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh, for a design of an object and a message that was at once a handcrafted object, but also part of much larger work.