Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2013

Noelle Campbell
By A Thread
Noelle Campbell
By A Thread

My thesis began with one simple thread, a vague idea, and the desire to make a statement about an issue that’s very important to me. Catalyzed by the political climate of the 2012 presidential election and inspired by second-wave feminist literature, I began stitching. By A Thread is a large-scale embroidered visualization and accompanying publication that juxtaposes the US casualties from The War on Terror with the number of US women murdered by acts of domestic violence from September 10, 2001 to June 6, 2012. Two columns made up of cross-stiches, each stitch representing a fatality, form the visual of the comparison. While the number of deaths are staggering on both accounts, the conclusion one makes from looking at this graphic is not what most would expect. Through the craft of needlework, which is traditionally associated with domesticity and the feminine, By A Thread strives to create an experience that is simultaneously delicate and deeply disturbing through an overt comparison of these tragic deaths. Although the piece is very large in size (2x8 ft), the white- on-white color palette doesn’t allow legibility until the viewer is close to it, urging a more intimate engagement with the information. The chosen materials and absence of color mirror the long- standing invisibility of violence against women and the inadequate discussion around these issues. Ultimately, the goal of By A Thread is to present a foundation in which viewers can confront their assumptions and unquestioned acceptances regarding aspects of our present-day culture.


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