Historically, tailors and seamstresses have always been divided. Tailors are tradesmen. Their unions are documented historically and respected. Tailoring is art. Seamstresses on the other hand are synonymous historically with prostitutes. They are not paid enough to live, so it is assumed they make their living elsewhere. Sewing is craft.
Yet both are doing the same thing: sewing.
Needle Piece is an explicit, endurance performance piece that explores the combination between tailors and seamstresses through the needle. Over the course of 6 hours, I measured, cut and hand sewed a pair of pants in the traditional style of tailors. It asks questions on topics such as the division between art and craft, invisible labour, and the gender divide in textile arts and performance art.
Needle Piece was first performed at Hub14 in Toronto through Link & Pin: Feminist Fibers Performance Art Series on October 20th, 2013, from 8am-2pm.
For academic texts on Needle Piece, please look at the Link & Pin Website.
Needle Piece was discussed in: Vivash, K. “Thea Fitz-James: Gendered Boundaries, Durational Performance, and the Art of Holding It In.” Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théâtrales Au Canada, Vol. 36, no. 1, Mar. 2015,
Click here, for an interview with Thea on feminism and textiles in performance.