In preparing for my seminar at ArtPlay next week, I was doing a little research into how craft ahs been reinvented over the years and how we interpret craft today and I came across this fantastic book.
Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism was as an absolute find. It’s a compilation of contributions from crafters who have transgressed the traditional perception of craft as utilitarian pastime to a vehicle for self-expression and opinion. Craftivism as a movement has elevated craft and its importance in our lives. It is relevant: it offers communities the chance to explore and discuss social and political concerns; it allows people to express their opinions in non-aggressive way in order to seek positive change; it brings people together – working towards creating a better world.
Betsy Greer, editor of Craftivism: The Art and Craft of Activism says:
‘Whenever political views are shared, there is a risk of people turning off and having them turn away from the conversation. But the power of handmade objects shines through; they have a way of inviting people back into the conversation. While you may not agree with the cause, you may wonder why the heck someone made an object and how they came up with the idea for it. [Craftivism] helps continue potentially challenging conversations instead of silencing them. This works precisely because of craft’s utilitarian roots. Its familiarity helps bring even those reluctant to be political to the table, if only because they want to know how a handmade piece was constructed.’
It’s interesting to note that it is the act itself of ‘making’ that is the catalyst for change and action. I’ve always held the belief that craft is, or can be, more. And I’ve always wondered how I can help and encourage discussion with my own creations. I can’t bear the thought of making something just to earn money – there has to be more to it.
From Sayraphim Lothian’s divine guerilla kindness – dropping handcrafted cupcakes and tiny hand-stitched houses in public places to bring joy to passers-by, to the Arpilleristas from Chile who help to reconcile the atrocities of the Pinochet regime by stitching their experiences into amazing quilts that are both sad and beautiful to witness, this book contains stories that are inspiring, sometimes funny and sometimes sad and moving.
I highly recommend this book and encourage you all to grab a copy to experience for yourselves. Available in all great bookshops for $24.95 and published by Arsenal Pulp Press www.arsenalpulp.com
For more information about the editor and collaborator Betsy Greer, go to www.craftivism.com