Joshua Tehee

Fresno State grad helps Pussyhat Project keep marchers warm with a sea of pink

The artwork for the Pussyhat Project, was created by Los Angeles artist Aurora Pringle.
The artwork for the Pussyhat Project, was created by Los Angeles artist Aurora Pringle. Special to The Bee

At this point, there may be thousands of pink, cat-eared knit and crocheted hats being shipped across the country in anticipation of the Women’s March on Washington.

Aurora Pringle has the original – the prototype Pussyhat, if you will.

“The hat never comes off these days,” says Pringle, a Fresno State graduate and now Los Angeles artist who created the artwork for the Pussyhat Project, which launched on Thanksgiving weekend and has been a causing a major run on pink yarn. The project was started by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman following the election of Donald Trump and has become a crafter’s call to arms. As of this week, the project has taken in 60,000 hats.

“It was so undeniably brilliant that I had to hop on board,” says Pringle, who studied art at Fresno State before moving to Los Angeles.

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There is the obvious double meaning in the name, a subversive response to president-elect Trump’s stance on women’s issues and his blatant use of the word P word. But there is also a brilliance in do-it-yourself nature of the project, what Pringle calls the “point of access.” Suh and Zweiman worked with Kat Coyle, of The Little Knittery in Atwater, to come up with a free pattern for the hats and set up a website where makers can register and track their hats via Google maps. It’s an impressive number of pink dots.

The hats will make for a nice visual statement – a sea of pink that should show up in the news reports from the march. They also allow those who don’t have the means or motivation to be present at the march in Washington to be represented.

“Everyone can do this,” Pringle says. “Not that everyone can knit or crochet. You can buy yarn. You can just tell a friend.”

Patty Cappelluti knitted a Pussyhat.

It’s not pink, it’s blue, because she decided to make the thing last minute late at night and that was the color yarn she had on hand. The Fresno crafter will wear it when she attends the Women’s March on Sacramento on Saturday.

Cappelluti is not particularly politically active, if at all, but she’s looking to be.

“After the election, I was pretty shocked. I have friends that are part of marginalized groups,” she says. “This is something I can do.”

Cappelluti doesn’t know exactly what to expect from the march. She’s hoping to experience some solidarity, being around so many other women.

Which brings back the Pussyhat Project.

The hats are a visual reminder of that solidarity, Pringle says – a quick and easy way to identify allies.

That is a powerful thing. While, making a hat may not feel like some grand political statement, it is just as important an act, she says.

“Standing up in seemingly small ways is just as important,” she says. “Whether big or small, we need to do that. We’re not in a place right now where we can sit back and see what happens.”

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee