Welcome Blanket On Call

FAQs

What sized blankets? 

A Welcome Blanket is 40”X40”, but we do not stand on ceremony. The IRC is open to blankets xx to xx. Put your handiwork into it.. it can be knit, crocheted, woven, quilted, sewn, or something else. Take a look at the Gallery for examples.


What material?

The easiest to care for is best!


Who will be receiving these gifts?

The IRC has specifically asked for these Welcome Packages for asylum seekers recently released from the border. 


Wait, I thought my Welcome Blanket would be in a show and shown collectively, what’s happening? 

Welcome Blanket On Call is an emergency art intervention. Because of the nature and urgency of this request from the IRC and because we are in between hosts, we are considering this an offshoot of Welcome Blanket. We are going to have an online gallery that is dependent on participants submitting images of their beautiful work (if you don’t think yours is beautiful enough, tame your inner critic). When everyone posts, we can all see how great the outpouring of love is! 


Wait, I want my Welcome Blanket in a physical gallery show… will those still be happening?

Yes! The dream is to make Welcome Blanket an American tradition. Welcome Blanket is a labor-intensive endeavor and we have some hosts lined up where we are still working out the details and we are always looking to partner with new hosts! 


What’s the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee?

Both asylum seekers and refugees are people who fled their home countries because of persecution and threats. When someone enters the US with refugee status, they have already been through the screening process that can take years. When someone claims asylum, they may be in the United States or at the border.  


A Personal Note:


I started welcome blanket for these reasons: 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.”

The Welcome Blanket Project aims to connect people living in the United States with our country’s new 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 the proposed 2000-mile border wall between the United States and Mexico, and to subvert it from an idea of exclusion to one of inclusion.

The goals of Welcome Blanket are as follows:

  1. Welcome new immigrants to the United States with a practical gift (blanket) and words of welcome and connection (accompanying personalized note). 

  2. Provide ways for those who want to support immigrants to create and give a practical and thoughtful gift.

  3. Create community around positive, hands-on ideas of inclusion. 

  4. Promote discussions about immigration policy and its effects on real-live people.

 I like to test ideas with people and explained the request from the IRC and she asked, “Couldn’t they get blankets somewhere else?” When I explained that these folks’ first experiences in this country has basically been in jail, separated from family and in a bureaucratic nightmare, and that the idea is that someone in this country cares about them so much that they sat down for hours to make them something comforting and warm, she replied, “Oh, that is really nice. Yeah, now I get why they aren’t just going to Ikea.”