A call for entries in a time of political upheaval

If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably already heard about a new exhibit opportunity called Threads of Resistance organized by a group I belong to called the Artists Circle. This is an opportunity to create textile art that will go on tour throughout the US over the next 2 years, with 12 venues already on the schedule, and opening at the New England Quilt Museum on July 15th. I encourage you to read our mission statement for the exhibit.

This all began a couple weeks ago, when several friends and I were discussing how stressed out we’ve felt since the inauguration in a private group on Facebook. Before long we began talking about making artwork to process our feelings, which then led to the idea for an exhibit.

I think many of us feel like we have no voice in a situation where policy is being put in place on a daily basis, that’s in direct opposition to America’s moral fiber. Sorry if you disagree with this belief, but my understanding is that America was founded on equality and justice for all, not just financially comfortable white people. And no matter how many red flags go up, and ‘REAL’ news stories are broadcast, (ones that would typically have taken down a democrat in power 10 times over for even the slightest of these infractions) NOTHING changes. The feeling of powerlessness to stop the wheels that have been set in motion is palpable.

For the most part, my work always has a story behind it and many of my art quilts have been cathartic in nature, especially over the last 8 years. I find making art incredibly healing, you can read an article I wrote about that process here and you may remember a couple months ago, after the election, when I was so filled with despair, I started making prayer flags to find some peace of mind.


“Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time endlessly exposing them.”  ― Annette Messager

I get why so many Americans felt left out of the recovery from the recession, I’m one of them. My ex and I lost our home and life savings and will never fully recover from everything we lost, but I don’t blame the democrats. I blame the drastic economic shift in wealth that happened during the recession, aided by Wall street. I blame the CEO’s of banks that pocketed money the government gave them to help people like us with modifications on our loans, by giving themselves astronomical bonuses instead. The ultimate gall is to see 45 appoint someone who profited from the foreclosure on thousands to a position in charge of the economy.

Getting ahead is not about how hard you work, the hardest workers in this country are most often the poorest. The truth is money makes money, and when you don’t have it, it’s nearly impossible to climb back out of the hole of poverty. So why would I trust a “billionaire” who doesn’t pay his workers, (or taxes!) and instead files bankruptcy to avoid his debts? He is far from being a friend of the working class.

Never in my lifetime did I think we would have white supremacists in a place of power and influence in the United States. That is terrifying on so many levels!

In regards to that and the economy, we certainly don’t want to deport all our immigrants. Do you think Americans are going to do the back breaking labor of agricultural workers, especially at a pay scale that still makes food affordable for the rest of the country?

Our planet is in jeopardy. I don’t know about you, but I like clean air, safe drinking water, and want to protect the health and welfare of people. Our future should be working towards clean technologies, protecting national parks and environments, and not making nefarious oil barons wealthier. We have rules against profiting from policies while being in a government office, that are blatantly being ignored.

We have a president with the communication skills of a 3rd grader, and the inappropriate behavior of a lascivious adolescent. He’s a narcissist and a pathological liar.  He even boldly lies about things we can see with our own eyes aren’t there, and thinks we should believe something’s true because he says it is? I don’t think so! He has proved himself untrustworthy. Why else would there be national security leaks? They are going over his head to inform the American people of his dangerous behavior and policies.

In the mean time, he’s trying to reduce our trust in the judicial system, along with valid news sources like any authoritarian dictator. Thank god for our hard working news outlets, they are our daily check on reality in the dystopian twilight zone of present day America.

The hardest part of this, is watching the republicans not lift a finger to stop the injustices that are happening. They’re more concerned with getting their policies passed and saving their jobs, than our country. I realize by speaking out and making work that may be inflammatory, that I too am jeopardizing my ability to work in a job I love, but I think doing nothing and staying silent in the face of losing our democracy, is a far worse offense.

Obviously, I’m angry, and afraid, and so I’m going to make art about it. I’ll tell you now, it won’t be pretty, I’ve been haunted by an image that came to me the morning after the election, and this exhibit feels like the impetus I’ve needed to put it on fabric.

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” –Cesar Cruz

If you’d like to submit work to Threads of Resistance, the call for entries is here and there is also a Facebook page you can follow and submit inquiries, if you have them. We are determined to keep it a troll free zone.

Keep creating, Judy

IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.

51 Responses to “A call for entries in a time of political upheaval”

  1. Pam says:

    THANK YOU, Judy. You said everything I’ve been feeling. All I would add is that I have never seen such denigration of womanhood that was accepted by so many people (and a majority of women themselves). He could never have been elected if woman had stood against him. This shows another serious problem with our culture, that woman will not stand up for themselves or other women. I am offended by everything he does and says, but being a self-admitted sexual predator is the thing I can’t forget. And that fact has disappeared from the public conscience.

    • Christine Sandow says:

      Absolutely agree about women too often being their own worst enemies. He shouldn’t have gotten one single vote from a woman.

    • thanks Pam,

      believe me women’s issues, healthcare and the Muslim ban are right at the top of my list of things to be angry about as well, but I if I wrote about everything my post would have gotten very long, LOL.

    • Nancy says:

      I respectfully disagree. Women across this country and around the world are the ones speaking out, protesting, resisting and revolting against Trump and now going after our republican representatives. Threads of Resistance will be yet another HUGE thorn in their side. Women are … persistent and relentless when wronged, are we not? Thank you Judy and the Artists Circle for focusing our frustrations and powerlessness into a constructive “LOUD” voice of protest.

      • Hey Nancy,

        nice to here from you, what’s it been, gasp, 20 years? since we last saw each other?!?!

        Actually, I think Christine is referring to the women who voted for trump, there were plenty. I’ve experienced the wrath of their vitriol many times on FB and have been stunned by their support of him. Luckily, I think there are more of us women who oppose him, and I think the GOP underestimates our power to organize and be motivated to effect change. Never underestimate a woman scorned, right? 😀 I really hope we can make our voice much louder through this exhibit. ((hugs)) judy

  2. Wow, that was powerful, thank you. My biggest fear is the reversal he has made on the environmental laws, if we don’t have a clean planet, we don’t have anything. Also, the open hate spewing forth toward minorities is appalling. Yet, he takes his time, saying whimpishly that this needs to stop. My husband and I also lost everything in 2008. It’s been a hard uphill recovery. We still don’t know how we will ever retire on the meager savings we have left. My art will reflect awareness while still maintaining peace and love.

    • thanks Cynthia,

      I’m ashamed by what is being done to so many people with roll backs of protections for civil rights, and the environment. He’s going to destroy this country very quickly if things keep going down this path.

      I’m at heart a big pacifist, preferring negotiations for solving problems and not being boorish and confrontational. I would love to do multiple pieces of work around this, with messages of love and acceptance of others along with my angry work, as a way to find balance and hope. Unfortunately my time to make work is so limited, that I doubt I’ll get to work through more ideas that I have.

  3. Cindy says:

    If you are going to turn this political, I am out. I enjoyed this blog up until now.

    • Sorry you feel that way. My blog is not about politics, it is about art.

      Art is an expression of what one feels. My art is most often about my life experiences, and right now my life is being affected in powerful ways that are tremendously hurtful by what’s happening in a country I love.

      I fear for my children that are of mixed race, who our president has identified their ancestry as being rapists and drug dealers. That is not OK, it hurts me and those I love. I can keep those feelings bottled up, or I can express my pain through art, no matter what the topic.

      I have made work about my marriage breaking up, about being heartbroken, about happiness, about nature…about life, and I will continue to share my work and my students work here.

  4. Christine Sandow says:

    You beautifully articulated what millions of us have been thinking and feeling. Thank you for that post. It’s one I will both save and share. And I need to get busy making some nice resistance art.

  5. dyemaven says:

    wholeheartedly agree, Judy. but ‘if only’ we could be rid of him, I worry the v.p. is absolutely just as dangerous and possibly in a more underhanded, quiet way. is there a good apple in the bunch? can’t see one.

  6. GAIL TERRELL says:

    Thank you for speaking up. I admire your courage and know you understand the risk you are taking. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Take heart from knowing that even in Mobile AL, not everyone is a Trump supporter. I believe that it is important to let people know that someone they like, know and admire has a drastically different view of where our country may be headed.

    • thanks so much Gail!

      I loved meeting everyone in your group, we all had such a good time and I know in my heart they are all good people, even if they did vote for the one who shall not be named. ? I knew I needed to keep quiet about politics while I was there, lol. I’m sure it has got to be very hard being liberal in the south right now.

      It saddens me that what’s happening in our government is so destructive, tearing friendships apart because we haven’t all walked in each others shoes.

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you for expressing your views so firmly and clearly, Judy. This kind of straight-forward discourse is exactly what we need to oppose the appalling, hurtful policies of the Republican Party. I especially like the way you connect your/our outrage with art’s healing powers. Perhaps The Threads of Resistance show will go some way to healing our society, if only because art “speaks” across political divides and perhaps will overcome the kind of verbal hatefulness that has become acceptable in the last several years, thanks to right-wing talk show hosts and politicians. Thanks to you and your artist friends for offering an outlet to share our hopes and fears about our beloved country and its civil and democratic ideals.

  8. Anna Mae Gazo says:

    Judy, I took your class at SLO Creative Studio last Aug., and I want to thank you for your brave writing in your blog today. I say HEAR, HEAR!!! I am planning on entering Threads of Resistance, as I believe we have to speak up in a number of ways to be true to ourselves, as well as setting an example, as artists, of speaking truth to power. Thank you again for your fine writing.

  9. Sue says:

    Amen. While I didn’t vote for him, I started off thinking “give him a chance” but I’m already over that.. His “tear it down” style of governance is disgusting and his choices for Cabinet positions and advisors are stunningly poor. The lying and seeming complete lack of knowledge, effort or preparation are beyond anything I could have imagined. The House of Representatives acts like they are either afraid of him or are moonstruck and I’m particularly disappointed in them. Being loud and visible works in this moment. Real change becomes possible if we change the House of Representatives and Senate. Those 2018 elections will be here before you know it. If they won’t do their jobs, send those -Rs home so that we have true checks and balances.

  10. Sarah Coston says:

    Very well said, Judy. I totally agree. Have u put this on Facebook to be shared? Hope so.

  11. Carol Suring says:


  12. Diane Evans says:

    Bravo, Judy!!! And thank you for articulating so beautifully what so many of us are thinking. I have felt every emotion you described in this post, and I’m sure by now, you must know that you’re far from alone in your feelings. I am looking forward to seeing this wonderful exhibit; it will be an expression of kindred souls who are trying to make a difference in the world through their art. You are a treasure.


  13. Janet says:

    Thank you! I make phone calls and send post cards daily. It makes me feel as if I have some power whether I do or I don’t. I even made a small piece of art and had it made into postcards to send. The Fractured States of America. It helps me in a small way. Every day there is a new problem on a national and/or state level, it’s exhausting but still she persisted!

    • you’re welcome Janet.

      If anything, we could say was good that came out of this election, it certainly was getting us actively involved in our politics and not taking things for granted anymore! I’m so proud of all the efforts I see my friends making on a daily basis. We will persist!!! 🙂

  14. Darlene harris says:

    Thank you ten fold.

  15. Bernie Ryan says:

    You are an amazing person, Judy! Thank you for your candor and your courage in speaking out. You and your Threads of Resistance sisters have given me renewed hope.

    • thank you, Bernie!! I think when we get organized and active in things like this we feel better. Each day we need to be there for each other, to not feel so overwhelmed and helpless,.Together, we ARE stronger! 🙂

  16. cblanco46 says:

    Powerfully and well said.

  17. Laura says:

    Well said and thank you. I 1000 percent agree with you.

  18. Beth Kennedy says:

    this election has brought me out of retirement. I had already decided to make a quilt expressing my feelings. I will definitely be entering. Thanks!

  19. Jen Reardon says:

    So beautifully said. It gives me some peace of mind knowing there are others out there who feel the same way about what is happening in our country. I am horrified each day by the assaults be waged against what I believe in and what makes America great already.

    • JudyCoatesPerez says:

      Hi Jen,

      thanks! I think it really helps when we see how many of us feel this way. Strength in numbers, right? 🙂

  20. Laura Rylander says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and powerful words, Judy! And thank you, and The Artists Circle for organizing this potent exhibition!

  21. I’m not sure if anybody has mentioned this (didn’t read all the comments) but I’m in a facebook group called “compassionate craftivists” led by Donna Druchunas – I’ll share your post there! Feel free to join that group as well!

    • Hi Jenifer,
      this administration is inspiring a lot of artists! I’ve seen a couple groups that have formed to make protest art. I haven’t heard of Compassionate Craftivists though, thanks so much for mentioning it, I will look for them on FB. 🙂

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