Krista Suh may have excelled at her studies during her time as a student at Pasadena’s Polytechnic School in her teens, but her knack for combining knitting with sparking a worldwide movement where millions of women wear her signature pink knit “pussyhat” at historic Women’s Marches is something she learned all on her own.
Suh co-founded the Pussyhat Project just days after the 2016 presidential election as a way to protest the rhetoric used toward women and minorities in the previous year’s state and federal elections.
The now-iconic hat has come to symbolize resistance culture across the globe.
Suh and co-creator Jayna Zweiman envisioned marchers to knit, sew, or crochet the hats to create a “sea of pink.” Their idea clicked.
Suh will make an appearance at Vroman’s Bookstore Friday evening to read excerpts from her new book DIY Rules for a WTF World. The book chronicles her journey as she transformed crafts into activism and how other women can do the same.
“I came up with the idea for the pussyhat and developed it here in Southern California. It’s a homecoming in that sense, but the book is really the next step in my next offering to people” Suh said Thursday. “They’re both tools to help people have the bravery to speak up.”
“I do think it is my love letter to the resistance. I think it can really help women and girls believe in themselves,” said Suh.
Krista Suh saw her concept grow to see her idea become the symbol of a worldwide movement in just two months. But like so many women, Krista spent years letting her fears stop her from learning to live by her own rules, according to a statement.
The Pussyhat Project can be traced back to late 2016 when Suh and her friend Jayna Zweiman enrolled in a knitting class and discovered their passion for women’s rights. They were inspired by the pro-women’s rights language of the upcoming Women’s Marches.
Together, they conceived the idea of creating a sea of pink hats at Women’s Marches everywhere to make a powerful visual statement of solidarity.
The name Pussyhat™ was chosen in part as a protest against vulgar comments Donald Trump made about the freedom he felt to grab women’s genitals, to de-stigmatize the word “pussy” and transform it into one of empowerment, and to highlight the design of the hat’s ’pussycat ears’, according to the Pussyhat Project website.
“When I came up with the idea I was so excited about it and I immediately thought about a sea of pink,” said Suh. “When you knit you actually see the progress you’re making and that’s a really great grounding symbol of the progress you’re making out there,” said Suh.
According to Suh, followers were encouraged to knit 1.7 million hats in two months leading up to the national women’s marches.
“I think creativity is so important and I think the pussy hat project really connected with people emotionally in a widespread way because it wasn’t the normal flier or ‘click here’ type of thing. It was such a tactile and creative thing,” said Suh.
Suh says she visualized her project making into mainstream media early on.
“I really wanted it on the cover of the New Yorker,” said Suh.
But like so many women, Krista spent years letting her fears stop her from learning to live by her own rules.
Suh admits that she has not always been vocal about much in her life until her mid 20s and was reluctant to dream big.
“I was just really afraid of speaking up. I was known to be very quiet,” said Suh. “With the election and life I’ve learned tricks on how to encourage myself to speak up more,” said Suh.
Suh’s dream of making headlines would come true.
The pussyhat has since received high-profile coverage after being placed on the cover of TIME and the New Yorker.
“I’m going to take that as a win. My dream came true,” said Suh.
Despite the high-profile coverage, Suh says that is not the most important thing about the Pussyhat Project.
“It’s kind of secondary. It’s cool to see celebrities wear it, but I think it’s even cooler that non-famous women–salt of the earth women–made this happen,” said Suh.
Suh says the hat represents freedom in her own life.
“I don’t need to be that good Asian girl anymore of always trying to get good grades because I feel like I have the ultimate prize, which is a connection with people,” said
Suh has big plans in 2018 and includes the launch of a new project she calls the Evil Eye Glove.
“I will be putting out more information on that in the coming weeks,” said Suh. “I want people to get revved up for the November midterm election,” added Suh.
A Pussyhat now resides in the Rapid Response collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the permanent collection of Michigan State University’s museum, and other collections as an important piece of feminist history.
Now in DIY Rules for a WTF World, Suh shares the tools, tips, experiences, “rules,” and knitting patterns she uses to get creative, get bold, and change the world, according to a press release.
Suh will read excerpts from the book and display a book quilt to help illustrate the content for the audience.
“The book is laid out on a quilt with all 46 chapters,” said Suh.
The public is invited to join Krista Suh as she discusses and signs DIY Rules for a WTF World: How to Speak Up, Get Creative, and Change the World at Vroman’s Bookstore Friday at 7 p.m. 695 E Colorado Blvd.
The event is free. For more information call (626) 449-5320 or visit www.vromansbookstore.com.