For the first workshop of the series we’re doing with the V&A sponsored by Coats Crafts I came up with a project to fit in with the fact that the first workshop was going to be on the 1st December and to accomodate the format of it being a drop in workshop 11am-4pm. We had 10 craftivist volunteers all day helping and over 120 participants with people staying for hours to make a star or two and reflect on the message behind it. Here is what we did which you can do at home over the Christmas holidays or any time of year as it’s quite a timeless message.
You’re a Star workshop:
This workshop will reflect upon how we can all be stars and use our gifts & passions to make a positive difference in our world. Craft and chat in a social setting as you stitch a Christmas star with an encouraging message for yourself or a friend.
During this workshop you will have time and be encouraged to reflect on how we can all be stars and use our gifts, passions & actions to make a positive difference in our world. Craft and chat in a social setting as you stitch a Christmas star with an encouraging message for yourself or a friend.
Questions to reflect on whilst stitching your star:
- Who do you know who you think is a good Global Citizen* & why?
- How do you use your talents, passions & actions to help rather than harm the world?
- Who are you going to give this star to & why?
- What message are you going to write on the tag & why?
*definition of global citizen below.
A good Global Citizen is someone who:
- is aware of the wider world & has a sense of their own role as a world citizen
- respects and values diversity
- has an understanding of how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically & environmentally
- is outraged by social injustice
- participates in and contributes to the community at a range of levels from local to global
- is willing to act to make the world a more sustainable place
- takes responsibility for their actions
Source: Oxfam 1997
Step 1: pin your star template onto your fabric and cut around the fabric so you have 2 star shapes. Keep one star shape for the end.
Step 2: write your message in biro onto your star shape. It would be a message to you or a friend. See below for examples. The message is to encourage people to use their talents, passions and actions to remind them help not harm the world we live in & to be the change they wish to see in the world.
Step 3: Stitch over your message using a backstitch and embroidery thread (floss). Stitch slowly so you can focus on why you are stitching your message, who you are stitching it to and how you can challenge yourself (or the person your making it for) to be your best self. This is safe space to challenge ourselves to think honesty about how we can improve in our actions and behaviours to make sure we are helping and not harming the world through our actions such as buying more ethically, challenging/encouraging others to do the right thing and challenge some of our behaviours or attitudes towards others. We are all human so are imperfect and can always improve or at least reflect on the good deeds we do & if we can keep doing them.
Step 4: Step 4: Pin your 2 stars together with the pattern & message facing inside. Stitch around the edge using backstitch, leaving approx 3cm gap. Again this is a great time to think about how we can all improve and be good servants to the world and people in it, to think about whether we are part of the solution to injustices or part of the problem and how we can change that. It’s a great chance to talk to the person next to you or reflect alone whilst listening to music. Then turn your star inside out. I use a pen or chop stick to push the corners into shape gently.
Step 5: Stuff your star with stuffing and make sure there is stuffing in all of the corners to keep the star shape. Then sew up the whole & add an eyelet in the corner of your star to either add ribbon through the eyelet (5mm wide) to hang up or attach a keyring.
Optional: why not stitch your signature on the other star shape to appear on the back & you can even use different fabric to make it even more unique & linked to your character & feel more personal.
Step 7: Final step is to attach a tag and write a personalised message on to the person you are giving your star to. Remember that this craftivism project is about enouraging people to shine brighter and think about themselves as a responsible global citizen. It’s not about saying how brilliant someone is and that’s it. It’s to challenge us all using this lovingly made craft gift to create a safe space and be a criticial friend and encourage us all to improve as human beings on this planet and strive to be the change we wish to see in the world. That’s the activism message
Examples of stars for people:
My sister made me this star with a message on a tag encouraging me to shine my brightest using my talents and actions but not to burn out or try and be someone I’m not. It was also a good reminder for me to think about the small actions as well as the big ones I take from smiling at my neighbours rather than ignoring them to challenging my friends in a loving way who might not think about how the clothes they buy might be made in sweatshops or the sweeping statements they might say about a particular type of person is harmful both to them and others if it’s ingrained in their brains. I have it hanging in my room as a permanent tool to remind me to shine and if I feel like I can’t then I need to ask why I can’t because… “evil flourishes when good people do nothing” and I don’t want that to happen do you?
I made this star for Ann who is an incredible lady in Everton where I’m from. She works extremely hard to support local people to help with better housing, emotional support for parents and young men caught up in gangs and drugs as well as helping people get back into employment and increase their confidence. My star is to remind her that her work is not going unnoticed but also to think about how she could see if it is possible for her (within budget) to use more ethical products in the community cafe and not judge people who are not from the area who want to come in and help too but that she could welcome them and help integrate well into the community. I will hopefully give Ann my star over Christmas when I see her and have a lovely chat about it over a cuppa so my comments on shining brighter are said in a tactful, emotionally intelligent way that’s encouraging not attaching. Maybe we can talk through the Global Citizen definition together. Conversations are just as important as the craftivism piece we’ve made don’t you think?
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