Crafting a kinder world

All the way through May my friend Danielle is going to have a display on craftivism in her window at The Make It Shop as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival. For the uninitiated, craftivism is:

a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite* (Betsy Greer)

The theme that Danielle has chosen is Crafting a Kinder World.


Last year’s Chorlton Arts Festival window display: Unleash Your Creative Beast

As well as the display, there will be a craftivism event on 27 May and I will be there to help host it. The plan (so far) is to create a “Kindness Tree”. We’ll spend the day inviting people to craft all sorts of small items to hang on the tree, each with a message of kindness. Subsequently our gifts and messages will be given away to spread the love.

Our last Make It Shop event: 60 Million Trebles Hook-up

I’m currently putting together a few bits and pieces to contribute to the shop window display, but most of my craftivist creations are long gone – having been given away to those in need (either of the object made or the message it embodied). So, I need to make a few more… but you can help me out here if you like. If you would like to send me an item to put in the window – whatever the craft, as long as it represents an aspect of craftivism – then please do. It could be a charity blanket, a twiddlemuff, a motivational embroidery, some bunting with a message, a piece of artwork, or whatever other crafted object fits in with the ethos. The display runs throughout May, so we would need your contributions in the next two weeks. There are two provisos. First, that the nature of the object is kind – craftivism is a gentle form of protest, or political action through positive creation – so any contributions that are displayed need to fit with this. And second is that, when the display is finished, you will allow me or Danielle to donate your object, whatever you send, to an appropriate charity or deserving person rather than send it back to you.

You can keep up to date with what’s happening on the Make-it Shop website here. And you can contact me to arrange making a contribution using the contact form below. And if you are in Manchester on 27 May – call in and say hello, have a cuppa and make something with us.


* Putting aside the fact that something is either infinite or not… I don’t think it’s possible to be ‘more infinite’!


Making it!

I had the great pleasure to be invited to spend World Wide Knit in Public Day at The Make It Shop in Chorlton, Manchester. You are much more likely to find me in a dedicated wool shop than a general craft shop, but this place was a treasure trove of interesting crafting supplies to tempt all but the strongest will. Fortunately I was distracted by the knitting all day otherwise I may well have come home with a significantly lighter wallet. As it was, the only thing that I did buy was a set of pompom makers… so expect bobble hats in the future. But just look at it…

I was delighted to visit Chorlton – a thriving town within Greater Manchester. The high street has lots of local shops, and spending the day sitting outside one of them, I came to realise that it is a thriving centre. I discovered that local shops are members  of a south Manchester loyalty card scheme called Tag and that there’s a very active traders’ association. All in all, a great model for supporting community.

I’ve written in the past about the importance of buying local and supporting producers and traders in your own area, but it’s worth saying again. According to the New Economics Foundation:

… every £1 spent with a local supplier is worth £1.76 to the local economy [compared to] only 36 pence if it is spent out of the area. That makes £1 spent locally worth almost 400 per cent more.

And that’s before you take into account the fact that shopping local is likely to support local  artisans, producers and crafts people, you can ask the retailer questions about the product and get advice, you can often try before you buy, you are enjoying a social experience and you are being part of a local community. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and support your local retailers and producers…. and if you are in Manchester, pop into the Make It Shop and say hello…. and perhaps give in to temptation.


Now isn’t that just inviting you to go in?



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