The Welcome Blanket Project aims to connect people already living in the United States residents with our country’s newest immigrants through stories and handmade blankets, providing both symbolic and literal comfort and warmth. At the same time, the project offers a positive, hands-on way to understand the scope of a 2000-mile border wall and to subvert it from an idea of exclusion to one of inclusion. By participating in this project, people will also come together to talk about immigration policy and how it affects real-live people.
All are welcome to get involved in positive, pro-active, civic-based art-making.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
– Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (1883), written on
The Statue of Liberty
“I will build a great wall— and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me— and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
– Donald Trump, Candidacy Speech (June 2015)
Welcome to Welcome Blanket!
Here’s a question:
The proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is almost 2000 miles long. Imagine if the massive distance of this wall was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include. Instead of wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?
A welcome blanket is traditionally created to lovingly mark the arrival of a new person into the world. In the Welcome Blanket project, each handmade blanket is a physical manifestation of this celebration of new refugees and other immigrants: “Welcome to the United States and your new life here! We are so glad you have arrived.”
We want you to join us! Make a blanket and share your story as a gift to a new immigrant to the United States.
If a 40”x 40” throw blanket averages 1200 yards, Welcome Blanket requires about 3200 blankets to reach 2000 miles of length.
We did not only reach our 2000 mile goal, we passed right by it! The blankets you have made, along with your enclosed notes, have been be displayed together in an inaugural show at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago July 18 through December 17, 2017. After the show's close, the blanket packages have been organized, catalogued and distributed to refugees and other immigrants through partner resettlement organizations. Since then, we have worked with different hosts (including MODA and Fuller Craft) to continue the project. Right now, we are facilitating Welcome Blanket On Call , a special call to action.
Thank you for being part of the Welcome Blanket Project!
Get involved! Are you looking to:
Print out our flyers, posters, welcome note templates, etc, click HERE.
Find a local yarn store near you already allied with the project, click HERE.
Find the "Come Together" blanket pattern (you are welcome to use this pattern or any pattern of you choosing) in knit, crochet and quilting, click HERE.
Send your Welcome Blanket, please write your note and sign up on our newsletter. Don’t worry! We are moving forward, the project is continuing, we just need to make sure we have an appropriate place to receive and store your wonderful gift of welcome.