Jayna Zweiman: Welcome Blanket
July 18, 2017–December 17, 2017
Kat Coyle, Come Together blanket design
Artist, designer, and Pussyhat Project co-founder Jayna Zweiman’s work explores how political activism can be “positive, creative, and collective.” Her participatory project Welcome Blanket confronted issues around immigration and refugee resettlement through a tapestry of handmade blankets.
Welcome Blanket was a crowd-sourced artistic action that called for over 3,000 blankets to be knit from 3,500,640 yards of yarn, a length equal to the proposed border wall dividing the United States and Mexico. Welcome Blanket invited participants to knit, crochet, or sew the blankets for new immigrants as well as for refugees seeking resettlement and send them with personal notes of welcome and stories of immigration for display at the Smart Museum of Art.
The project opened in July 2017, in an empty gallery in the Museum which was activated as a receiving station to sort and store the blankets. Blankets accumulated in the space over the run of the project, transforming it from a visually sparse site of potential action into a vibrant installation of handmade blankets. Throughout Welcome Blanket, visitors were invited to spend time knitting in the gallery or joining a series of public programs, creating spaces for conversations around issues of human rights, immigration, and the legacy of artistic activism.
In December 2017 at the conclusion of the installation, the blankets were distributed in coordination with immigration organizations and refugee resettlement agencies and other community partners.
Browse the blankets that were received and catalogued.
Make a blanket
Visit the Welcome Blanket project page for current information on participating, plus patterns for knitting, crocheting, and quilting, welcome note templates, and information on hosting events and other resources.
Blankets were exhibited within the Museum between July and December 2017 and were photographed and published online as part of the project. Browse or search the digital catalogue of blankets above.
As the installation itself was created through a crowd-sourced production of blankets, unpacking parties and other Museum-hosted dialogues and public programs were also designed with our many partners including cultural workers, activists, academics, students, civic partners, and you.
About Jayna Zweiman
Jayna Zweiman is a multidisciplinary artist and designer. Zweiman’s independent practice combines architecture, art and new media to focus on experiences that overlap physical, virtual and conceptual spaces. She a co-founder of Pussyhat Project, an international network and movement of women’s rights supporters. The project was highly visible at the 2017 Women’s Marches with one of the largest crowd-sourced art advocacy projects ever. She received her AB from Brown University in visual arts and economics and her Masters in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She lives and works in Los Angeles.