Crafting change

It’s been gratifying to see craft taking centre stage in world politics over the past few days… did you see all those amazing hand-crafted hats on Saturday? Knitted, crocheted, sewn, and created from plastic bags (check out Alys’ hat here). Such diversity, such individuality – so common to see if you frequent blogs like this one, but so rare to have highlighted in the mainstream media, where the most common craft stories are ‘did you know that knitting is not just for crones?’ and ‘men invented knitting, so it’s ok for them to do it now’.

Chez snail there are no pink hats – many other colours, but not pink – but the creativity is still being channelled towards social change/craftivism. Despite having treated myself to some lovely new wool on Saturday, my hook has only been employed on scrap yarn, creating more blankets for the 60 Million Trebles project (#onestitchonelife) aimed at helping refugees and highlighting the terrible situation of displaced people.

I completed one blanket over the weekend:

I had intended to move on to making something for myself, but at the moment I feel a strong need to focus on my charitable creations, so I made a start on another blanket using yet more yarn left over from previous projects. I decided to join up the squares as I went along:

But then, I got distracted and started rummaging around and pulling out my sock yarn scraps. These are too fine for the “squares blanket” above, but there are so many of them and the colours are so beautiful that I couldn’t help but start yet another :

I was trying to stick to one blanket at a time, but I’m quite happy to fail at that!

 

Making the world a better place

I have recently added a new word to my lexicon: CRAFTIVISM. It’s quite nice, isn’t it? A combination of craft and activism, meaning:

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)

It’s not just about beautifying your surroundings, like yarnstorming (yarn bombing), nor is it simply about using your craft skills to create an object that delivers a direct political statement, such as a strand of bunting with words on it; it’s about any craft activity that makes the world a better place.

A charitable donation: coats I knitted to support a dog rescue centre

A charitable donation: dog coats I knitted to support an animal rescue centre

Through activities such as teaching knitting lessons, crocheting hats for the less fortunate, and sewing blankets for abandoned animals, craftivism allows for creativity to expand previous boundaries and enter the arena of activism… instead of using solely one’s voice to advocate political viewpoints, one could use their creativity.

How fantastic is that? The craftivism.com web site goes on to say:

In a world that was growing increasingly large and unfamiliar, craftivism fought to bring back the personal into our daily lives to replace some of the mass produced. In promoting the idea that people can use their own creativity to improve the world, craftivism allows those who wish to voice their opinions and support their causes the chance to do just that…but without chanting or banner waving and at their own pace.

Building community by crafting together

Building community by crafting together

I’m smitten by the fact that what I do (what lots of us do) has a name. I don’t think that this makes it any more valid, but it does feel like an acknowledgement and delivers a sense of community. I’ve written before about civil disobedience through creativity and the small actions we can take to make a big difference, and now I discover it has a name. I’m delighted that some many things, from my green bath puffs to writing about the ethics of knitting yarns are part of this bigger movement and that others too think we are making a difference.

So, what are you going to do this week that could be considered ‘craftivism’?

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