PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT ART INSTALLATION

25 MILLION STITCHES – ONE STITCH FOR EACH OF THE 25 MILLION REFUGEES

The world is in flight. 25 million people across the globe have been forced to flee their homelands as a consequence of genocide, war, poverty, natural disasters, targeted violence, and other grave threats. They leave behind everything they’ve known, possessed, and been a part of in order to live; they face immense struggles, misfortunes, and perils on their journey; and, though it all, survival, much less successful resettlement, remains but the slimmest hope.

Please join this project, stitching 25 million stitches: one stitch for each refugee. How does making 25 million stitches help refugees? We believe that stitching for this project is a way for us to engage with this global crisis instead of ignoring it. And even though no single stitch can fully represent an individual, the act of stitching and the resulting work will help bring attention to the scale of the crisis. T two Two objectives of the project are:

1. To engage as many people as possible to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis and

2. To amass 25 million stitches to visually represent the sheer volume of this astronomical figure of refugees.

This is a community art installation. We are asking volunteers to hand stitch on fabric panels. We now have over 1,400 participants from 44 states and many countries overseas. However, another 1,000 panels will be needed to be stitched to add up to 25 million stitches. This huge community art project brings awareness of the immensity of the refugee crisis in a single striking fiber arts display and we can’t do it without your participation! When the panels are returned to us, we will assemble them in to a grand installation of everyone’s personal expression of solidarity and support for the refugees along with the first names of all the participants.

Our first full installation will be at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento
June 5, 2020-August 15 Opening Reception: Friday June 5, 2020, 5-7pm

Participating in the project: If you are interested in stitching, please fill out the enrollment form: https://forms.gle/b9pTuEqBBVg7BLJr8

Stitching Guideline: The aim of this project is to raise awareness and create opportunities for conversations about the dire challenges refugees face. You are welcome to come up with any design of your choice. There are no bad, ugly, or uneven stitches in this project. Uneven stitches and even personal designs make the panels more unique and beautiful. We encourage you to be creative! Panels completed with simple running stitches are always welcome! When stitching, you may use any design or text, you desire. Bolder colors and thicker embroidery threads are more visible and perhaps more satisfying. Once woven together with other lovingly contributed panels yours will be a part of a tapestry of profound community support. (Please refer to the photos below for the density of stitches we are looking for) We ask you to mark your name and home state directly on your completed panel with either a sharpie pen, or embroider them directly or on a small sewn label. Please send in your artwork as soon as it is completed so it can be included in ongoing community art shows showcasing the project. The final deadline is Apr 30, 2020

Please send finished panels to: 25 Million Stitches, P.O. Box #22246, 5930 S Land Park Dr. Sacramento, CA, 95822

How to further support the project:

1. Recruiting more stitchers is the best way to support the project. 2. You can help us minimize administrative time and cost by buying your own unbleached muslin. Panels should be 15inches in width and 17 to 35 inches inches in length. We encourage you to use recycled linens in similar dimensions as well. Joann Fabrics, Michaels, and Walmart all carry unbleached muslin. 3. Organizing sewing circles in your area will promote the project: 1.by recruiting more participants 2.by helping one another complete the panels.

Sewing circle: 25 Million Stitches Sewing Circle in conjunction with Slofemists events which will be featured at the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan) with four drop-in workshop/events September 28 - October 3 http://rpl.libnet.info/event/2785175

Tip for Organize Stitching Circles:
We find that various sizes work well, each with its own unique dynamics: Periodic and repeated meetings help recruit participants as well as help the participants complete the panels. Announcements of the circle in community newspapers are effective.
Combining a sewing circle with political debates, summer art camps, feminist sewing projects and book club meetings.
Embroidery threads precut to arms-length x 2 also makes sewing easier for your guests.    

Media coverage of the project

https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/sewing-discourse/content?oid=28583799

October 2019 issue of Sacramento Magazine

Please join our social media posts on Instagram and Facebook using #25millionstitches. You may ask to join the group and share your progress by posting your images: https://www.facebook.com/25millionstitches/?modal=composer, https://www.instagram.com/25millionstitches/https://www.instagram.com/25millionstitches/

The World Refugee Day: https://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/

The statistical refugee count is based on the UN Refugee Agency’s 2017 projection based on their study of refugees in 2016 (please read the link to UNHCR). https://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html

These squares are cropped images. Most of the panels are 15” x 32”