Art Speaks + Book Signing: Unraveling with Peggy Orenstein

Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 7 pm CT
In person, at Textile Center

In January 2024, renowned author and native Minnesotan Peggy Orenstein joined in conversation with local artist Rachel Breen about the themes in Orenstein’s acclaimed book, Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dyeing Wool, and Making the World’s Ugliest Sweater (2023).

About the book:

In this lively, funny memoir, Peggy Orenstein sets out to make a sweater from scratch—shearing, spinning, dyeing wool—and in the process discovers how we find our deepest selves through craft. Orenstein spins a yarn that will appeal to everyone.

The COVID pandemic propelled many people to change their lives in ways large and small. Some adopted puppies. Others stress-baked. Peggy Orenstein, a lifelong knitter, went just a little further. To keep herself engaged and cope with a series of seismic shifts in family life, she set out to make a garment from the ground up: learning to shear sheep, spin and dye yarn, then knitting herself a sweater.

Orenstein hoped the project would help her process not just wool but her grief over the recent death of her mother and the decline of her dad, the impending departure of her college-bound daughter, and other thorny issues of aging as a woman in a culture that by turns ignores and disdains them. What she didn’t expect was a journey into some of the major issues of our time: climate anxiety, racial justice, women’s rights, the impact of technology, sustainability, and, ultimately, the meaning of home.

With her wry voice, sharp intelligence, and exuberant honesty, Orenstein shares her year-long journey as daughter, wife, mother, writer, and maker—and teaches us all something about creativity and connection.

Artist Bios:

Peggy Orenstein is the New York Times bestselling author of Boys & SexDon’t Call Me Princess, Girls & SexCinderella Ate My DaughterWaiting for Daisy, Flux & Schoolgirls. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, she has also written for the Washington Post, The Atlantic, AFAR, The New Yorker and other publication, and has contributed commentary to NPR’s All Things Considered and The PBS NewsHour. She lives in Northern California (but is a Minnesota native!).

Rachel Breen is a visual artist whose third hand is a sewing machine. Her work has been exhibited widely across Minnesota and nationally, including at Textile Center. Rachel was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to India in 2022 and has had artist residencies at MacDowell and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Rachel is an inaugural recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship and has received four Minnesota State Arts Board grants. Rachel maintains an active studio practice in Minneapolis and is a professor of art at Anoka Ramsey Community College.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Creative Support for Organizations grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.