Yep. I was at THE social event people will be buzzing about all year, and instead of being mortified at our fashion faux pas, everyone was celebrating a “YUGE “ episode of “Bitch Stole my Look.”
Aerial pictures showed a world wide river of rosy hats with charming pointed ears, which, when viewed en masse, blended into an undulating flow of bubblegum pink.
But up close, the hats told a complex and wonderful story. Each hat was completely unique, just like the women (and many men) who wore them.
Unlike the red, white and blue embroidered make America blah blah blah hats we saw all summer, these spectacular hats had not been made in a factory, nor were they embellished with robotic precision or any meaningless catchphrase.
They had had no size markers nor manufacturer labels, and I am pretty sure that most every one (at least the ones in our national marches) had been made with care, right in the good old USA.
The pussy hats were gloriously, spectacularly and lovingly HANDMADE… each pink crown was individual — imperfect, real, and completely unique as only a truly hand crafted item can be.
The hats (including sewn fabric hats, ear embellished headbands, and a beautifully folded and taped pink shopping bag headress) were certainly an artistic expression — the kind of art women historically deploy when trying to relieve a stressful situation.
Instead of punching someone in the face when conflicts arise, women have reached instead into their sewing basket or other handwork to relieve anxiety or anger.
The pussy hat project was no different, and, as women have often done, the solution was shared with others who were similarly affected.It began with a pattern and a few photos posted online and shared (for free) with anyone who wanted to engage.
Knitters and crocheters then sourced yarn from high end knitting shops and big box stores, or by trading with others across the web. Some makers upcycled fiber from old thrift store sweaters, or dug dusty old yarn from stashes, baskets and attics.
The cost of materials wasn’t the point: all the crafters met the project on their own economic terms, adding to the individuality of each hat.
Swatches were gauged, then the crafters shared their skills by making for those who couldn’t, or by teaching those who wanted to learn.
The hats I made were possible only because my HUSBAND taught me how to knit them after he had been taught (in an effort to relieve stress) by my sister. I have never found my husband sexier than when slipped on the bright pink hat he had made for himself, wearing it with pride despite the 80 degree heat.
At the flagship march in Washington DC, as well as at all of the sister marches around the country and the world, the pink pussy hats were both a uniform and at the same time were the most authentic expressions of individuality imaginable.
We were an army, but an army where each individual member was valued, important and worth listening to. If there were exclusionary VIP areas, I didn’t see them at my march in Austin, Texas.
Making and wearing my pink pussy hat made me proud to be an American. My hat made me proud to be an artist who works with her hands. My hat made me glad I am a woman.
I am feeling determined since my enlistment as a member of the all volunteer pink army, and I’m pumped to keep on wearing the uniform as we tackle the work to come.
It won’t be easy, but our heads (and hearts) will be warm, and we know we are not alone.
THIS is what Democracy looks like.
Catherine Hicks Art and Embroidery
Marched in Austin, Texas 1/21/2017
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