Publisher: Row House
Through her roles as an activist for Black liberation, 6th generation sewing enthusiast, community organizer, and university professor, Woolfork presents an insightful exploration of stitching as an ancestral creative medium, life skill, and self-care practice for African American women. With a captivating blend of academic rigor and storytelling, Woolfork gathers the hidden threads of America’s early home sewing industry and needles through the sartorial traditions of Black makers. Drawing inspiration from notable thinkers like Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ashon Crawley, Christina Sharpe, and Mikhail Bahktin, Woolfork uses sewing as a critical apparatus that yields groundbreaking insights into Black women’s self-presentation, bodily sovereignty, world-building, and ancestral veneration practices.
As the host and producer of Stitch Please, a popular weekly podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in the world of sewing, Woolfork brings her expertise to the forefront. Heard in a staggering 83% of the world’s countries, the podcast has become a powerful platform for showcasing the creativity and resilience of Black women creators in the sewing and quilting communities. In “Stitch Please: When Freedom is Fed with Needle and Thread,” Woolfork combines her knowledge of Black literary and cultural studies with the multifaceted nature of sewing and quilting. With accessible writing that balances humor and critical insights, this book offers practical sewing content, cultural critique, and inspiring examples of Black creatives self-making with needle and thread.
No matter your background or interests, this engaging work will leave you inspired, informed, and eager to celebrate the profound connections between needle arts and Black liberation.
My name is Lisa Woolfork and I am a sewist, podcaster, community organizer, and scholar. As a sixth-generation sewing enthusiast, I have long been drawn to the creative and meditative nature of needle arts. However, my passion for sewing and quilting goes beyond the personal satisfaction of creating something beautiful. For me, these practices are a way to honor the legacy of Black women who have used their skills to resist oppression, build vibrant communities, and extend the boundaries of freedom within their own lives.
Through my sewing and quilting practice, I aim to challenge traditional notions of craft and art and to explore the intersections between needle arts and Black liberation. I believe that these practices have the power to create meaningful works of art that can inspire and connect Black people across boundaries of space and time.
My work interrogates the divisions between art and craft, social justice and liberation, and seeks to amplify the voices of Black women, girls, and femmes in the world of sewing. I am interested in the structural elements of stitching as a form of meaning-making and archiving the ephemera of Black aliveness.
Sewing and quilting are powerful tools for rest, resistance and meaning making. As the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black Lives Matter, and the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing, I am committed to using my practice to foster greater understanding and deeper connection within and among our communities.
Academic / Artist / Activist
This study examines contemporary novels, films, performances, and reenactments that use time-travel as a representational strategy to portray American slavery and its lasting impact. By allowing present-day protagonists to witness and engage with traumatic histories, these works challenge the belief that such events are inaccessible and evoke a sense of bodily knowing. Lisa Woolfork argues that these cultural expressions aim to revive the significance of the slave past, bridging the gap between past and present and countering societal indifference towards the trauma of slavery.
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Join Lisa Woolfork in her engaging podcast as she delves into the world of art, exploring the intricate threads of inspiration and creativity. Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred platform, and let’s embark on a captivating journey of conversation and discovery. Click below to start listening and let’s talk!