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Women’s History Month #WCW | Jessie Hemmons

As fate would have it, the beginning of Women’s History Month falls on a Wednesday this month. We’re kicking off March 2017 with the first installment of our annual #WCW series. With so many incredible, successful women among us, we are excited to celebrate the tremendous amount of talent in Philadelphia that never ceases to amaze us. Each week, we’ll be featuring different ladies that are kicking serious butt around the city and beyond.

Jessie Hemmons may be better known as Ishknits throughout the streets of Philadelphia, where many have seen her street art. From knitting fashion accessories to crocheting powerful feminist statements in art exhibitions, Hemmons’ talents has been showcased all across the city.

Ishknits began in 2009 after Hemmons perused through a local bookstore and found the book, Yarn Bombing. However, it all really started when Hemmons was in high school. In her troubled teenage years, she found herself in a juvenile placement facility, where she felt she didn’t really fit in. One day, a girl sat down and patiently helped with her crocheting technique.

The first Ishknits street art project was a 12-inch rectangle sewed onto a bike rack in Center City, and the rest — as they say — was herstory. Since then, Ishknits’ installments have only grown in scope and scale. Larger pieces of her work have graced the doors of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and popular exhibitions, such as #SignsofSolidarity, Rock The Vote Presents: Truth To Power, and StreetsDept’s Philadelphia, Goddamn.

Ishknits has also expanded to other cities, nationally and internationally, even catching the eye of corporate marketers. Some high-profile projects include a print ad campaign for P&G’s Tampax, a holiday social media campaign for Target Canada, and a pop-up installment for Free People’s Tokyo grand opening.

In her work, Hemmons’ core mission revolves around womanhood and art. Crochet uses a feminine medium to create a catalyst that sparks conversations regarding women and empowerment. Through it all, she hopes to make an artistic impression on as many people as possible and allow access to impactful art, even to those who feel excluded from the fine art world.

What few may know about this artist is that she has obtained multiple degrees and an extensive background in Psychology. Aside from her creative spirit, Hemmons is deeply involved in healthcare. When she’s not rebelling with knit graffiti, she works as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the University of Penn’s Radiation Oncology unit. Her previous healthcare experience includes work at outpatient rehabilitation centers, pharmacies, and more.

Follow Jessie’s Ishknits journey through her website or social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Who are some talented Philly women you’re currently crushing on? Share their story with us so we can feature them!