This month we are featuring Carol Williams for the Capitol Hill Art League’s Mind of the Artist series. Read her story and check out her artwork below.
You can view more of her artwork here:
Carol Williams: “The Craftivist”
My work with fabrics and buttons is a repurposing of the traditionally feminine art form of
sewing and quilting, which has been historically classified as craft. But I believe that quilting,
depicted as folk art associated with the activity of rural women, both Black and white, has been
underrated as the true art form that it is. My exhibit uses the “women’s work” of sewing to
make political commentary. I began using the term “Craftivist” last year, which describes how
art and activism converge as a unique vehicle of social messaging.
I compare my pieces to political cartoons, but with textiles and buttons rather than pen and
paper. Each of my hangings tells a story, describes an experience, or illustrates the double
standards of which we are all guilty. The framing I use for mounting is black fencing wire, with
the edges twisted into decorative designs that often expand on the theme of the artwork itself.
It’s somewhat perplexing to me that “art” is generally thought of as being essentially non-
political. But I find all things “political,” especially the mysterious absence of “politics.”
The responses to my work indicate that many people are seeking an outlet to the anger, anxiety
and angst of the past 6 years, and are relieved and comforted to see words and works
expressing what they may feel but cannot find the language to say. A docent at my Delaplaine
solo exhibit in Frederick, MD, sensed that “people are ready to dialogue in other mediums than
just talking, watching the news, or sharing their feelings with friends.” Another local artist and
fellow veteran described my artwork as “American Gothic with Grenades.” As complimentary
as that was, I find it much more challenging to present ideas with humor, irony, and lots of
color. I avoid confrontation and name-calling; if my work can’t educate or persuade, at least it
might be enjoyable for those who don’t agree. I’ve been told it is also family-friendly.
My “Pigs at the Capitol” was selected for an Honorable Mention at the CHAL Juried Exhibit at
the Hill Center this summer, and also received a Juror’s Award this fall at the MFA exhibit in
Annapolis, MD. The “Flag of Treason: Then and Now” and “the Red Plague” are two of my
most popular pieces here in West Virginia.
This year I opened a storefront here in Shepherdstown, WV, (not far from Frederick, MD) for
the purpose of displaying my themed exhibits—It’s called the “Hot Button Gallery.” I’m there
every weekend, from 11-5PM. In the big front window is my display, “the Definitive Thorny
Issue,” composed of a model of the uterus surrounded by the massive thorns from my Honey
Locust tree. I keep it lit up 24/7, making it impossible to ignore as people pass by.
I can be reached through my website anothercarolwilliams.com if you are planning a day trip
to Shepherdstown. I also have copies of my book, “the Age of Uterine Law,” available at the
gallery, and on Amazon.