From Carrie O’Dell, Dramaturg:
This project started with a garbage bag of discarded yarn. The bag was left over from No Dominion’s November 2015 production, Departure, and we weren’t sure what to do with it. It seemed a shame to throw it away. The bag lived in the trunk of Kaitlin’s car for a couple of weeks before I remembered a passage from Debbie Stoller’s crochet how-to manual, The Happy Hooker : “...[A] lace manufacturer admitted that he expected his workers to turn a few tricks on the side to make up for his not paying them a living wage....this may even explain how the word “hooker” came to have such wayward connotations.” This connection raised questions about gendered labor; both sex work and fiber arts like knitting, crochet, weaving, and embroidery have traditionally been feminized. Sex work and fiber arts have not only been feminized, they are dismissed--fiber arts are relegated to the world of craft, considered lesser than the high art traditions of painting and sculpture, while sex work is written off as an easy way for a woman of loose morals or dire circumstances to make a quick buck. Fiber arts are art and sex work is work but their historically feminine place in our culture have contributed to their diminished status. We seek to explore the relationship between sex work and fiber arts and examine the connections among the things we term women’s work . We want to create a devised script for this project, using as source material interviews with sex workers and fiber artists; brothel plays of the early twentieth century such as George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession , Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance , and Ourselves by Rachel Crothers; literary depictions of the tricoteuses of the French Revolution; and discussions from online communities built by fiber artists and sex workers.