Community Spirit in a Large Forest or Why Can I Never Stop Crying – a Sewing Circle in Progress, which I carried out during four weeks at the time of the group exhibition To Me You are Beautiful at Trehörnahults gård, Småland, Sweden 2001.
The starting point of the project was my interest in the meaning of textile artisanship and the importance of a sense of community for women and for society as a whole. Invited members of sewing circles from the local area as well as visitors to the exhibition could sit in a conservatory and do needlework. Everybody was invited to add to a communal tapestry by embroidering ”I feel that I am needed” and sign with their name.
Gunilla Lundahl writes about the exhibition in the magazine Hemslöjden 2001/5: The catalogue for her work was a red A5 folder with embroidery materials and copied text by, for example, Louise Waldén, Nina Lekander and Louise Bougeois. Texts about “the power of textile” about power and invisibility, about sewing and importance of the time consuming and unprofitable. Malin Arnell herself wrote for example this: ”I want to feel that I am needed, I want to feel like I am part of a community, and I want equality. I want to do needle work and I want to scream: all the power to the people (to the differences). I am so tired, so tired of seeing how people fall apart because they can not find a place where they are needed.” Is image enough? Is text? Hardly. Therefore this action, this happening, this work of art. That mainly is invisible and concludes in an exhortation. Staged in a small room, a room outside and inside, exposed and protected, a completely lit through room, without borders and intimate. A room for the necessity.
Syjunta i Trehörnahult, Gunilla Lundahl, Hemslöjden, 2001/5.PDF (in Swedish).
Hemslöjd som feministisk strategi (Crafts as feminist strategy), Johanna Rosenqvist, Den feminina textilen - Makt och mönster, ed. Birgitta Svensson and Louise Waldén (eds.), Nordiska museets förlag, 2005. PDF (in Swedish).