Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism

Nanaz Khosrowshahi | Monday, 9th November 2020
In Betsy Greer's book Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism she explores the relationship between activism and crafting through photos, essays, interviews and illustrations from artists around the world.
Author: Betsy Greer
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp
Publication year: 2014
RRP: £10.00
Greer helps readers understand the significance of a sole knitted pink heart randomly left on a public bench to symbolize peace after bombings in Sweden in 2011. 
 
Even if you have a lukewarm stance towards crafting or activism you will learn about social causes and unique ways of ameliorating the problems. There is no exact equation for tallying up craftivists' efforts or impact but at least craftivism encourages a do-it-yourself spirit and an appreciation for the art of crafting. Craftivism is a good coffee table book and conversation starter without feeling too preachy, instructional, or overwhelming.  
 
Permaculture readers might attend flower or plant booths at fairs and farmer's markets, supporting local businesses. Gardeners and horticulturalists with broken vases and pots can upcycle broken pieces into mosaics to decorate signs and tables parallel to artists using these broken pieces to create mosaic based murals. Craftivism and permaculture both involve education, teamwork, volunteering, skill developing, reusing materials, and building awareness of new terms, like what defines 'permaculture' or 'yarn storming'. Scraps of fabric from 150 different people to create one quilt compares to seed donations to plant trees in low income areas. Permaculturists design greenhouses like crafters design spaces for community based writing seminars and quilt patterns with destigmatizing AIDS messages. Immersing kids and the elderly in art and environmentalism is therapeutic and offers healing power, combating loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
 
Supplies of needles and fabrics are delivered to prisons so inmates can do meditative embroidery projects while incarcerated. Flags are displayed to protest museum funding cuts. Knitting and politics fused in 2017 at the Women's March when people wore pink knitted hats to symbolize women's rights. Knitted blankets, shawls and quilts for the 2010 volcano eruption victims in Indonesia sewn by men and women in a traditionally female dominated hobby blurred gender lines. Male knitting instructors training other males in knitting while working in openly public workshops can feel less apologetic or awkward by increasing the normalization of their presence in a female only club activity.
 
Be in the hoop of things with Net Works, where fiber artists knit basketball nets for abandoned basketball hoops in a gorgeous array of colors. Eco-friendly artists collect beach trash such as plastic water bottle caps, pasting them on murals to create seahorses, showcasing the art at malls. Tobucil and Klabs in Indonesia mainly focuses on improving literacy rates by being a bookstore that also serves as a community center with classes on bookbinding, scrapbooking, photography, public speaking, essay writing, and fiction writing. Sales from the crafts they make help to support the place. 
 
Share these projects on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to add momentum and assist with fundraising. You can have an impact in a school, homeless shelter, or orphanage regardless of physical distance from you and the cause in need. 
 
Supporting craftivism will simultaneously create the bridge and close the gap between you and the place.
 
The book is available at Amazon for 35.11 British pounds. It is also sold at Waterstones, Abe Books, and Blackwell's. 
 
Nanaz is married and a stay at home mom with three children.
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