Creative, Positive & Purposeful Activism
I learned a new word this week – Craftivism. Maybe self explanatory but has been defined in many ways. As with anything that gets popular quickly, sometimes the original idea, the founding ideology as it were, can get lost. Therefore, we go to the source of where the movement started.
Betsy Greer is know for coining the term ‘Craftivism’ and defines it as:
“A way at looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.”
Sarah Corbett agrees with this definition and asks us to Be a change-maker not just a world-worrier. Her work with the Craftivist Collective is an inspiration. Taking time to stitch, either in a group, or alone – provides our worried minds with a safe place to focus on positive mental images. Who knows, the next great ideas might be waiting for the quiet time spent stitching.
The Colorful Quilt Squares Chilean Women Used to Tell the Story of Life Under Pinochet, creates a visual account of what life was like after the coup d’etat in 1973. Life before the internet, in a closed country where civil rights and liberties had no meaning. Yet, women felt compelled to share their stories. They found a way to broadcast to a larger audience with a medium that would not be suspicious to government officials. For a long time, nobody suspected the quilt squares to be a form of communication.
Women have been a part of activism long before they were officially allowed to be. Knitting and activism have a long history together, going back to the French Revolution and the red Phrygian caps, “liberty caps,” which were based on hats that emancipated slaves wore in ancient Rome. When large groups of women set their minds to a cause, they don’t always show their solidarity in marches or demonstrations. The fruits of their efforts could be for the family at home, or the global family in need of support.
A Welcome Blanket is a great knitting project where small personal efforts each day can change a life for someone in need. Instead of donating old, used blankets which have seen better days, this project flips the status quo. Create a beautiful, handmade blanket of heirloom quality and then give it to another person, who has a much greater need for warmth. Doing the right thing, doesn’t need to involve large marching signs. A small act of kindness can go an even longer way.
I love the idea of calling attention to important social changes we need to make as global citizens, through the use of craft. This is a rallying cry I can get behind. Which is saying a lot because, nobody would accuse me of being an activist. But something about combining craft + activism, speaks to me. My first creation will be the New Normal Tempestry. A scarf that is a visual representation of global annual deviations-from-average temperature spanning 1880 – 2018. Who would have thought that scientific data could be interpreted into something so special?
As I pondered the DailyFinds about craftivism, I realized I probably want to be a part of most projects I have found so far. I even love the idea of stitching some of my personal stories, rather than only using photos, videos and words. This is a whole new medium for expression and I am free to take it on as I see fit.