Day 6

Who benefits from Donald Trump? Craft stores

In the days after Donald Trump was sworn in, sales of paint markers and poster boards increased and people began knitting pussyhats and thinking caps. Jayna Zweiman, the co-founder of The Pussyhat Project, and Lauren Drogos of Project Thinking Cap explain how crafting - once again - has become a revolutionary act.
A seas of people wearing pussyhats gather for the Women's March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

It's been 100 days since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. In that time, there has been an unexpected surge in sales — at craft stores.

According to the market research company NPD Group, sales of paint markers and poster boards increased immediately following Trump's inauguration. In the week before the Women's March on Washington, sales for poster boards were up by 33%.

Protesters carrying homemade protest signs line Central Park West during the Earth Day 'March For Science NYC' in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 22, 2017. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

And at the marches, knitters, crocheters and sewers have been making their voices heard through toques — pussyhats at the Women's March and thinking caps at the March for Science.

Jayna Zweiman is the co-founder of The Pussyhat Project, and Lauren Drogos is the co-founder of Project Thinking Cap.

They share their thoughts on craftivism and on how Donald Trump has helped bring the crafting community closer together.

Pussy Hat Project

Jayna Zweiman

"The Pussyhat Project came together with a marcher and a non-marcher. My friend, Krista Suh, was planning on going to the Women's March. And I myself have been recovering from a concussion and am unable to be in large crowds. And when we saw that the Women's March was happening, and that this was a pro-women march we both really wanted to be involved."


Lauren Drogos

Project Thinking Cap

"Crystal Lantz and I, we're both neuroscientists and we've known each other for several years, and we both were really inspired by The Pussyhat Project. When we saw that there was going to be a March for Science, we thought ... we, as scientists, could really use that sort of icon, that sort of image that people can rally around. So we came up with the idea of having a unifying colour theme, but diverse hats to represent a lot of different types of science."

JZ: "There were two missions for The Pussyhat Project. One was to create a strong visual image at the Women's March. And then the second part was to create this ability for people who couldn't be at the march, a way to be at the march and support women's rights."

Making  pussyhats  has taken me out of a depression.

LD: "A lot of people think that this craftivism stuff is new, but really there's a long history of crafters using needlepoint and other things as a means of political statements. In some sense, a lot of people are going back to their roots and trying to maybe turn something that's considered a very feminine project and kind of turn it on its ear and use it for activism and use it for speaking out."

Project Thinking Cap

JZ: "Knitting is really meditative and very therapeutic, and a lot of people who've been responding politically were quite devastated with the election results. So we heard — a lot of times — that 'making pussyhats has taken me out of a depression.' We heard that a lot."

LD: "A lot of us tend to gather together and use knitting circles and crocheting circles as a means of talking about the events in the community. It's not just an idle hobby. A lot of times there's much more deeper conversation going on in knitting circles than you would imagine."

Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh are co-founders of The Pussyhat Project, a social media campaign created to provide pink hats for protesters in the women's march in Washington, D.C., on January 13, 2017. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

JZ: "The difference between being in a knitting circle versus having coffee with someone directly, or talking with you directly, is that there's a lot more opportunity in a knitting circle to listen. I think you learn a lot when you listen. And I think when you bring together a lot of different people and an opportunity to discuss, it's really exciting."

LD: "It was really nice and sort of a little bit validating to have something that was your brainchild adopted and taken up as a cause by other people."

JZ: "When I see someone wearing a pussyhat my first reaction is: 'yes! It worked'."

LD: "If I pass somebody wearing a Project Thinking Cap hat I would probably try to give them a high five."

Project Thinking Cap

To hear Jayna Zweiman and Lauren Drogos talk about Pussyhats and Thinking Caps, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.