Author Archives: Craftivist Collective

About Craftivist Collective

We are a group of people who marry activism with craft. Our Manifesto is: "To expose the scandal of global poverty, and human rights injustices though the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions." We do craftivism projects as individuals and groups all over the world and would love you to join in on the fun that trys to have a positive effect on the world. All events are open to all, anyone can take on one of our projects we just ask for photo evidence and your thougths for our blog. If you feel you need more support to deliver a project just ask! :)
  1. What did I say in my TEDxBedford talk? Here is the script

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    Many of our craftivists around the world prefer to read our blogs rather than watch our videos (and vice versa!) so I thought it might be useful for those lovely craftivistas to have my filmed TEDxBedford talk script to read & reflect on. It’s a new talk I haven’t done before. The 15minute filmed talk will be on YouTube TEDxTalks channel in the next few weeks eek! I didn’t say the script word for word (I learnt from memorising a script for my TEDxBrixton talk last year that it leaves little room for personality and engaging with the crowd & just made me super nervous) but it does cover my main points and probably in more detail than my talk. Please do comment below – I’m always so keen to learn from your feedback on what is useful, not useful and if there is anything I haven’t covered that you have questions about.

    Ok so here goes…

    I think the world is boss! Every time I scroll through Instagram I see stunning images taken of this world, I read about incredible project happening around the world in a quiet small way but making big differences in people’s hearts and minds. I can’t get over how much we can do with our smartphones!

    All of this wonder, means I find it even harder to give up on the injustices I see in the world. I refuse to give up fighting for a world whether sweatshops no longer exist, and a world where the default is putting people before profit not vice versa.

    I have been an activist for most of my life. I have always been passionate about fighting for a better world & looking at how we change the root causes of poverty and injustice so we don’t need charity in the world. In our area people we would have outsiders wanting to give out children’s shoes. Great intentions but we didn’t want them- we wanted government and business structures changed so we could afford to buy our own shoes for our children. I grew up in an activist family: here is a photo of me with local campaigners as a 3 year old,

     

    slide 1 of my powerpoint slides for TEDxBedford. A photo from our local newspaper in Liverpool - the Echo showing local people squatting in local housing to save them from demolition and winning!

    slide 1 of my powerpoint slides for TEDxBedford. A photo from our local newspaper in Liverpool – the Echo showing local people squatting in local housing to save them from demolition and winning!

     

    I was voted Head Girl by my peers at school and won lockers for the pupils, I’ve always been part of activist groups in university & I’ve also been lucky enough to be a campaigner in my work life too.

    Working for the charity Christian Aid I was privileged to go to Kenya to visit our partners and beneficiaries doing incredible work to access healthcare amongst other things. At Oxfam I saw how UK campaigners helped Coca-cola commit to a ‘zero tolerance’ of land grabs- a big win for small-scale farmers worldwide. I’ve seen where campaigns have helped change the way the world works for the better but I’ve also seen passion, good intentions and energy used that sadly hasn’t led to positive change.

    So I want to talk to you today about 3 current worries I have with the activism world today and I want to talk about a tool that I use to try and tackle these concerns . Can you guess what that tool is? It’s… craft (of course!;p)- by craft I’m mostly talking about  cross-stitch and hand-embroidery.

     

    Cross Stitching photo of my hand stitching by Robin Prime for Craftivist Collective

    Cross Stitching photo of my hand stitching by Robin Prime for Craftivist Collective

     

    My first worry I want to share with you is that some forms of activism don’t encourage us to look at ourselves and our role within some of these harmful structures or cultures first.  Our human instinct often includes looking for others to blame for injustices in the world. Some activism is signing petitions, going on marches, holding placards telling people, business or governments what to do, lots of quick external transactions. But surely if we want to make the world a better place in the longterm we need to start with looking at whether we are part of the change we wish to see in the world or whether we are actually part of the problem. Now I know that’s not something that’s easy to ask of people & it’s not a very attractive fun thing to do but I think it’s vital we critique our own thoughts and actions as part of our activism in this world.

     

    Photo by Robin Prime of my embroidered roots of a tree I stitched to represent and remind me of my values and values we need in activism

    Photo by Robin Prime of my embroidered roots of a tree I stitched to represent and remind me of my values and values we need in activism

     

    Needlework is incredible as a form of INNER ACTIVISM.

     

    The first of 3 elements of my approach to craftivism is Inner Activism

    The first of 3 elements of my approach to craftivism is Inner Activism

     

    Hand-embroidery and cross-stitch is a slow process and involve repetitive hand actions which means they are naturally very meditative. They exercise our inner monologue which we often down make time for & they’re a great tool for critical thinking. So they are perfect to help us tackle injustices & ask ourselves those uncomfortable questions about the role we play in injustices but in a safe space on our own or in small groups. So if I want no sweatshops in the world do I need to buy more ethically, do I need to ask the shop manager about how much money the garment workers are paid for that top I’m going to buy and do I need to ask myself whether I actually need this top?. You’re not going to stitch words you don’t believe in and by stitching those words in your craft piece you are committing yourself to being part of the solution to the problems you are looking at.

    What’s so brilliant about craft is that you are connecting your hands, heart and head and when you link that to injustice issues it can be world changing personally and politically.

     

    Photo of our Craftivist Footprints by Garry McClennan to help us with our inner activism using craftivism

    Photo of our Craftivist Footprints by Garry McClennan to help us with our inner activism using craftivism

     

    This is a photo of a shoeprint I embroidered and framed. It sits on my bookshelf by my bedroom door. When I leave my room each day I spot it in the corner of my eye and it reminds me to make a positive mark on the world and think about my journey as a good global citizen.

    The second concern I currently have is that some activism is aggressive & confrontational. We often look for a scapegoat to demonise and blame. But most injustices are complex and there isn’t one person to blame for all of it. Demonising people and trying to bully them into submission isn’t going to lead to long term positive change. It also doesn’t fit in with the values of treating people as we want to be treated. I think we need to include GENTLE ACTIVISM into our toolkit alongside the other forms.

     

    The second approach to craftivism is always making our activism gentle in it's approach. Strong but humble and respectful

    The second approach to craftivism is always making our activism gentle in it’s approach. Strong but humble and respectful

     

    We need to empathise with perpetrators to try and understand their roles in injustices and how we can gently challenge people to make a positive change. My mum knows it’s much more powerful when she says to me ‘I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed”. Because it reminds me she loves me and sees that I can do great things but I did something wrong. Teachers are good at using this sneaky tool now too aren’t they?! But we often don’t in activism. We forget that people are people.

     

    All of the craftivism (activism through craft) I do is small & beautiful not big and brash so people are intrigued & excited that they have found my mini protest banners and have chosen to go up to them to read the message.

     

    Images of some of our gentle activism: mini protest banners, cross stitched masks & a cross-stitched chair all to provoke not preach, intrigue people by being small and beautiful not big and brash. Always off eye level so it's not asking for attention...

    Images of some of our gentle activism: mini protest banners, cross stitched masks & a cross-stitched chair all to provoke not preach, intrigue people by being small and beautiful not big and brash. Always off eye level so it’s not asking for attention…

     

    They could see someone had spent a long time making them so they cared about the issue rather than doing it for fame and attention. All my activism messages are provocative not preachy.. I put labels on them all so people can google for more info on the issue but in their own time. I’m trying to gently nudge people to think about their role within society and injustices and connect to these issues more deeply. People often share images of my work online with friends or followers and it causes conversations about issues that we should be having but often avoid. We’ve had positive media attention and been published in a number of books because our messages are timeless , universal and unusual but not too depressing or judging so that people want to read about and share our images and work.

     

    Often I craft alone or in a small group in public spaces like cafes, train stations and on public transport. And it means people are naturally curious & come up to you and say  “what are you doing?” and you can say “I’m stitching this issue about inequality – what do you think?” And you engage people that way. So you are getting out into the world of non activism bubbles but still talking to people about those issues. . Because craft is involved, it’s not scary: people naturally come to us and ask us what we are doing, they tweet pictures of us, stick it on instagram, pinterest etc.

     

    Examples of some of the media attention we have had in different publications. We've had even more (amazing huh?!:) but didn't want to overwhelm people ;p x

    Examples of some of the media attention we have had in different publications. We’ve had even more (amazing huh?!:) but didn’t want to overwhelm people ;p x

     

     

    I  embroidered my MP a hanky as a gift because she told me to stop emailing her petitions because it wasn’t going to make any difference. I wanted to show her that I truly cared about these issues and wasnt a clicktivist or slacktivist. And I wanted to see how I could be part of the change I wish to see in the world.

     

    Photos by Robin Prime of the actual hanky I gave my MP to gently engage her in a more deep and meaningful way. Using craft as a catalyst for building a relationship with her and being critical friends not aggressive enemies

    Photos by Robin Prime of the actual hanky I gave my MP to gently engage her in a more deep and meaningful way. Using craft as a catalyst for building a relationship with her and being critical friends not aggressive enemies

     

    It said… To my MP [her name],

    As my MP I’m asking you to please use your powerful position to challenge injustices, change structures keeping people poor & fight for a more just and fair world. I know that being an MP is a tough and big job but please DONT” BLOW IT, this is your chance to make a real and positive difference [smiley face]. 

    Your’s in hope, Sarah. With my postcode so she knew I was a constituent. 

     

    It built a relationship with her because I showed I respected her, wanted to work together where possible and understand each others positions and be open to change my mind if she convinced me. She opened up to me more which helped me see where we could work together : I was a good critical friend rather than an aggressive enemy. I sell them in kits now and people have made them around the world for other influential people like teachers, senators, journalists, police, to encourage them to use their power and influence to support the most vulnerable in the world

     

    Imagine if we gently challenged and encouraged people & worked with people for social change based on our values and morals, our world could grow into a much more fruitful & healthy place don’t you think?

     

    The third & final concern I have is that some activism isn’t very attractive to engage in. We focus on the problems we need to fix rather than the brilliant goal we want to achieve. To sustain ourselves as activists and encourage others in surely we need to be hopeful & even joyful.

     

    The 3rd approach to our craftivism I'm going to focus on today is, what I'm calling joyful activism

    The 3rd approach to our craftivism I’m going to focus on today is, what I’m calling joyful activism

     

    I’m calling this JOYFUL ACTIVISM because I can’t think of another way to say it & I did a workshop last weekend in Cardiff where I tested out this title ‘joyful activism’ and one participant Emma said she really liked that it was a joyful and fulfilling activity to do. I don’t mean it’s just about fun doing activism because activism is about acknowledging & understanding that there are structures harming people and the planet & we want social change & to support people which means we want to serve others – if we are just having  fun we are focusing on ourselves not others and that can discredit our work. But we do need to be hopeful, loving, gentle. We need to remember all the gorgeous cool stuff in the world and believe that we can make it an even more awesome place for people which in the end also helps our own wellbeing. We should feel empowered in what we do, excited, in solidarity with others & part of a global village.

    I started doing craftivism in 2008 on my own as a reaction to some forms of activism I didn’t think were effective and because I was feeling like a burnout activist. I didn’t feel I fitted into activism groups but I didn’t want to give up striving for a better world. It helped me continue to stay hopeful and engaged and to try and get activism messages across outside of the activism bubble. Within 6 months of documenting my craftivism work online people around the world asked to join in.

     

    Examples of some of the aways we reach outside of the activism public to engage new audiences or people who don't want to do more traditional forms of activism. Not only does our approach reach these audiences but also it's a great way for conversations with the public that the public initiate

    Examples of some of the aways we reach outside of the activism public to engage new audiences or people who don’t want to do more traditional forms of activism. Not only does our approach reach these audiences but also it’s a great way for conversations with the public that the public initiate

     

    And now I run the Craftivist Collective as a social enterprise supporting individuals groups and organisations around the world to do effective craftivism. – people tacking part in Nowray, Sweden, America, Australia, Thailand, all over the place.  I sell kits and do events, projects and workshop & teach in universities. I work with charities as well as large art institutions and even have a book now & there is much more to do! I’ve been able to do all of this because people have seen my work and want to put some joy back into activism. Some people joined because they are burnt out or disillusioned activists, some because they are crafty introverts who are nervous of traditional activism that’s extrovert. The feedback I get is that people feel inspired, invigorated, hopeful and even enjoyed doing or hearing about my approach to craftivism. People leave feeling confident to gently challenge themselves and others to improve or speak out on injustice issues. And people feel part of a movement making the world a better place one stitch at a time through inner activism, gentle activism and joyful activism.

     

    examples of some of the organisations we have worked with as the Craftivist Collective. I could add on many more like Helskinki University, House of Fairytales, Oxfam, Greenbelt Festival, Wilderness Festival, Textil Museet in Sweden, Gothenburg University....

    examples of some of the organisations we have worked with as the Craftivist Collective. I could add on many more like Helskinki University, House of Fairytales, Oxfam, Greenbelt Festival, Wilderness Festival, Textil Museet in Sweden, Gothenburg University….

     

    Activism should’nt be something we opt into once in a while. I believe it should be threaded throughout all that we do if we want the world to be awesome and if we want to reach our potential to be our best selves.

     

    I always like to end with this image of bunting I made (that's me on the left!:s) photographed by Robin Prime. It's a call to action for all of us to think about how we can be our best selfs to help not harm the world

    I always like to end with this image of bunting I made (that’s me on the left!:s) photographed by Robin Prime. It’s a call to action for all of us to think about how we can be our best selfs to help not harm the world

     

    So…. what do you think? Do you think I’ve covered everything? Have I overwhelmed people with info? Have I made it clear what our approach and vision is? Do you disagree with any of it? 

    Please do share with people you think might find it useful, and please do comment below if you have time – I’m always so keen to learn from your feedback on what is useful, not useful and if there is anything I haven’t covered that you have questions about.

  2. Join us in Bristol for a wellmaking craftivism workshop (only 10 places available)

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    Join our Founder Sarah Corbett, delivering a Craftivists Garden #wellmaking Workshop in Bristol:

    Tuesday 18th November, 6pm-8pm, Alterknit Universe ‘the WOOL SHOP’, 39 Main Road, Cleeve, Bristol, North Somerset, BS49 4NS

    £4 each (Ages 12 and over only). BOOK HERE. We only have 10 tickets available.

    Craftivists Garden #wellmaking logo by www.mattwithers.co.uk
    Craftivists Garden #wellmaking logo by www.mattwithers.co.uk

     

    Craftivists Garden #wellmaking workshop with Craftivist Collective Founder, Sarah Corbett 

    Join me in Bristol leading a #wellmaking Craftivists Garden project workshop that will show how craft activities can help improve wellbeing by involving participants like you and me in the fun, connected, sensory and mindful process of making things. What you will make: You will create an embroidered flower to add to a national installation of flowers in January 2015 in London.  Your flower is invited to be part of the installation, you can, if you wish, have it back after being part of the installation in January. If you don’t finish the flower in this session you can take it home to finish and post it to Craftivist Collective. The choice is yours!
    All materials will be provided.
    £4 (Ages 12 and over)

     

    Please book HERE to pay £4 per person.

    Our process for craftivism
    Our process for craftivism for this project
  3. Did you spot us in Mollie Makes (Issue 45)?

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    We are always so humbled to be covered in Mollie Makes. They cover our projects a lot!:)

     

    Did you spot our Founder Sarah Corbett in Issue 45 of Mollie Makes? The issue came on sale 22nd September. We love Mollie Makes & Mollie Makes readers. MM have been so so supportive of our work over the last few years and have featured our projects and images numerous times. Editor Lara has attended our events too and we feel very much part of the MM community so we feel very honoured to be in issue 45. What do you think of the interesting feature?

     

    Have a look at the sample issue HERE if you haven’t got a copy. Be warned – it will definitely tempt you to buy their lovely magazine!;p

     

     

     

    Cover of issue 45 or Mollie Makes which has a feature we are covered in.
    Cover of issue 45 or Mollie Makes which has a feature we are covered in.

     

    Article our Founder Sarah Corbett was interviewed for. Read what she says. Do you agree? :)
    Article our Founder Sarah Corbett was interviewed for. Read what she says. Do you agree? :)

     

     

    All images for this article in Mollie Makes are ours-  we are honoured that they chose them. What do you think?
    All images for this article in Mollie Makes are ours- we are honoured that they chose them. What do you think?

     

    Mollie Makes is a lifestyle magazine for those who live creatively. They bring you the latest crafting trends in easy-to-follow how-tos, encouraging you to adapt and share your own crafty spin on things. MM celebrate creative industries and give up-and-coming designers their first platform, discuss hot topics in the design world with lots of insider tips, and aim to inspire readers to live your best, artful life.

     

    Creative endeavors are more than a day job for the Mollie Makes team. From choosing gorgeous indie cushions and prints for their interiors pages to learning how to take beautiful photos for their website and Instagram feeds; customising  clothes to making gifts for friends, they’re crafting along with you. MM love trying new things and being inspired by what crafters are creating, wearing and blogging about too.

    The Mollie Makes community is supportive, lively and full of crafty knowledge and like-minded people.

     

    Readers can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

     

    Download the iPad VERSION

     

    And keep up-to-date with the blog and subscribe to their newsletter here: www.molliemakes.com

     

     

  4. Women’s Institute spotlight our current project: Our Craftivists Garden #wellmaking project is featured in October 2014 issue of WI Life

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    We are honored to have our current project Craftivists Garden featured in the October issue of Women’s Institute (WI) magazine ‘WI Life‘. Many of the WI groups across the UK take part in our craftivism projects and we hope they will take part in this project too.  

     

    The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI will celebrate its centenary in 2015 and currently has 212,000 members in around 6,600 WIs. Wow!

     

    The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities. You don’t want to mess with these classy campaigners. 

     

    See there feature here:

     

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women's Institute members in the UK

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women’s Institute members in the UK

     

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women's Institute members in the UK

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women’s Institute members in the UK

     

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women's Institute members in the UKWI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women's Institute members in the UK

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women’s Institute members in the UK

     

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women's Institute members in the UK

    WI Life magazine Oct 2014 issue. This magazine is for all Women’s Institute members in the UK

     

  5. Come join in our London workshop for our Craftivists Garden project :) 13th Nov

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    Come to our London Craftivists Garden workshop! :)

    Thursday 13th November. Book your ticket for  £4 here

    Starting 7:30pm with a short introduction and then crafting in groups, this exciting collaborative venture will show how craft activities can help improve wellbeing by involving participants like me and you in the fun, connected, sensory and mindful process of making things.

     

    Our process for craftivism
     

    wellmaking craft groups

     

    This is a unique project that goes beyond seeing  craft as a relaxing tool but seeing craft as an incredible tool to help us connect, challenge ourselves and help us grow and flourish in our lives in different ways and help us see how we can change the world one stitch at a time.

     

    3 elements of wellbeing crafted into a flower

     

     

    Join our London workshop to hand-embroider, knit or crochet a flower for our #wellMAKING Craftivists Garden, while reflecting on the importance of wellbeing and what we need in order to flourish as individuals and as a society. We want as many people here as possible. Please arrive just before 7:30pm to start at 7:30pm with a short talk and then crafting in groups around tables.

     

    £4 ticket pays for the craft resources.

    You can also buy tea and cake from the ethical cafe to have whilst crafting.

     

    Kahaila cafe where our workshop will be including tea and cake

     

    More about the project:

    See our video here

    Many of us have read about or experienced first hand how craft helps people’s wellbeing, and we believe it is also a beautiful tool for us to reflect on how we can improve the wellbeing of those around us in our communities and in society.

     

    Craft is a lovely way to keep us optimistic and striving for better things; it’s a great tool to think about challenging and sometime uncomfortable thoughts (like how we all impact each other and planet) with the comfort of craft to help us not go into despair or feel disempowered.

     

    We want each flower to represent you as a flourishing flower in our garden (which itself represents society, obvs!) and the time you have taken to deeply think about wellbeing for you and others. We’ve also created an app to collect your private answers to our questions for us to provide evidence of the power craft has to improve our society. And we’d love you to join our #wellMAKING Garden Party in January when it is confirmed.

     

    The #wellMAKING Craftivists Garden UK project is being run in partnership with Falmouth UniversityVoluntary Artsand Arts for Health Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, and is a Connected Communities project supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

     

    So let’s craft, connect, reflect, challenge so we can grow as individuals in society.  Come join  this unique project to  think beyondcraft as a relaxing tool into a tool to help us strive and flourish in our lives in different ways and change the world one stitch at a time…. x

  6. My journey as a DOer: from reluctant doer to… (hopefully!) a helpful doer. A filmed talk for The Do Lectures 2014

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    Image by Nick Hands of www. slow

     

     

    I’ve been a fan of the Do Lectures for the last few years so when I was asked to speak at this years Wales event I was super-excited but also terrified. The event is an intimate affair for around 100 people in a farm in Cardigan, Wales for 3 days. They hand pick 20 speakers from around the world to attend the 3 day event and talk about their journey of doing with the hope that they will inspire the attendees and people who watch the film online to DO good in our world using whatever talents and passions you have.  I often watch their filmed talks online whilst I’m making our craftivism kits because the talks are so honest, show people’s journeys, passions, learning from mistakes, their fears & vulnerabilities but their stubbornness to keep striving to make the world a better place for everyone.

    The Do Lectures was asked to give a talk in I’ve never done before so I decided to talk through my steps as a doer to show that anyone can make a difference.

     

    You don’t have to be super-human, perfect, extrovert etc. If I can do it, you can too!:) My journey in the video here goes through my stages in doing in this order:

     

    1. A reluctant doer - nervous to take hold of to the opportunity put in my way to represent my fellow school students as Head Girl but rising to the challenge. 
    2. An angry doer – angry that Primark was opening a massive store in Liverpool one summer but no one was going to be outside to remind people of the harm Primark do to the planet through fast fashion, not paying their garment workers a living wage etc so I felt I had to do something.
    3. A busy doer – campaigning in my job as a professional campaigner and support activists, joining lots of activist groups in my spare time… 
    4. A doubting doer - doubting traditional campaign methods and new forms labelled as  clicktivism and slacktivism.  
    5. Stubborn doer - not wanting to give up on fighting injustice and striving to help make the world a better place but not knowing what to do. 
    6. A quiet & gentle doer - quietly figuring out how I could use the meditative and aesthetic qualities of craft in activism and create activism methods that could be more engaging to people where traditional forms didn’t seem to work.
    7. A accidental doer – lots of people wanted to join in my craftivism projects so I accidentally ended up creating and leading the Craftivist Collective.  
    8. A helpful doer –   trying to be a person on this planet making the world better in my small way and trying to support other people to be helpful doers too 

     

    So here it is… I hope you find it useful to help you think about your own in your journey as a doer and how we are all human beings so all have the power to do good (and harm if we aren’t careful) so go on, do it, do what you can to remake this world into an awesome place, you know you can ;)  

     

    My Do Lecture 2014 talk - I was soooo scared!

    My Do Lecture 2014 talk – I was soooo scared!

     

    We are a social enterprise providing craftivism products and services for individuals and organisations to learn how to use craft to change the world for the better one stitch at a time. We hope you like this post, if you do please share it with people you think might also like it and do check out our little shop here to see what we offer and how you can help support us to continue to exist :) x

     

  7. Join our workshops at Knitting & Stitching Show in London AND Harrogate

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    K&S_LOGO_WHITE

     

    We are part of the Knitting & Stitching Shows again this year. It’s ace being surrounded by crafters excited to see how they can make the world a better place using their passion for craft. Our workshops have sold out quickly in the past feedback has been great.  We’ve met some lovely people and heard their story of how they got in to craft, how they use it and afterwards, what they are thinking to do next knowing how craft can work well will activism in some situations. Come join us this year :)  

    We are doing 4 Mini Protest Banner workshops this year. 2 at London and 2 at Harrogate. All are 1 hour long and you will learn more about how craftivism can be used and useful. Plus you will receive a craftivism kit (worth £10) & extra resources you can take home to help you in your craftivism. Book before our limited spaces sell out 

    1. Saturday 11th October 1pm-2pm,  London, North West Hall, Alexandra Palace. Workshop number C182. £12. BOOK HERE

    2. Sunday 12th October 11:45am-12:45pm, London, North West Hall, Alexandra Palace. Workshop number C222. £12. BOOK HERE 

    3. Saturday 22nd November 2:15-3:15pm,Harrogate International Centre, Kings Road Harrogate HG1 5LA. Workshop number C110 BOOK HERE

    4. Sunday 23rd November 2:15pm-3:15pm,  Harrogate International Centre, Kings Road Harrogate HG1 5LA. Workshop number C151. BOOK HERE

     

    Mini Protest Banner on theme of home
    Mini Protest Banner on theme of home

     

    You will learn how to make a Mini Protest Banner using cross-stitch & hand embroidery methods, explore & discuss the benefits of craftivism for the maker & viewers and how it can create change. All participants will receive a complete kit for you to work on during the workshop and take home in a small bag to continue your craftivism piece at home and become a craftivist
    Suitable for any level.

     

    If you can’t come to an event. Don’t let that stop you from getting your crafty activism on. Our book A Little Book of Craftivism if full of top tips and you can get our craftivism kits in our shop here

  8. Everyone wanted to stroke & hug our wellbeing soft sculpture bunting words made for decoration!

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    I love my job! In June I was asked by Now Events Live Founder Jana Stefanovska if I would ”decorate Deptford Lounge as part of the Anxiety Festival” where they were a partner. We also were booked to deliver a craftivism footprint workshop at the Deptford Lounge as part of the programme of activities throughout the festival.  I often get asked why I came up with particular ideas for craftivism projects. Here is a little peak into my brain about why and how I made wellbeing soft sculpture bunting (it fits in pretty well with our current #wellmaking project we would love you to get involved in)

     

    'Reflect' soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

    ‘Reflect’ soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

     

    A bit of background on who I was working with: 

    Anxiety 2014 was a new London-wide arts festival, curated by the Mental Health Foundation and took place throughout June. The festival explored anxiety, looking at its causes, how it affects all of our lives, and how it can act as a creative force. It brought together leading and emerging artists to address anxiety from different angles: from medical, social and historical perspectives to individual, collective and contemporary viewpoints. It presented a dynamic programme of visual art, film, performance, music, dance, theatre and talks spanning venues across London, including leading arts organisations, universities, health care institutions and community centres.

     

    Now Events Live is a wonderful organisation that create events that champion unique ways of being in the moment and enjoying what it brings. They offer an innovative blend of arts and wellbeing activities for all ages, from debates, talks and workshops to participatory installations and shared spaces. They provide opportunities to play and party, and also to reflect and be still. So it seemed like a perfect fit for us.

    'Learn' soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

    ‘Learn’ soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

     

    Decoration idea:

    Like all of our work I am determined not to create work that ends up in a landfill or cannot be reused, recycled or upcycled so that was always part of my private brief. Plus I always try and use recycled fabrics where I can, donated fabrics or scraps others might not use.  I’ve gotten to know Jana, the Founder of Now Live Events over the last few months and I knew we were going to be working at Wilderness Festival together too and she always has other events so I suggested I make resources that could be used at other events too which she was excited about. She was also happy for me to borrow the decorations too if she wasn’t using them at certain times which was great to know (did you spot some of them in our #wellmaking launch party photographs?). 

    Anxiety forms in different ways for everyone and expressed in different ways too so I wanted to make sure no one felt overwhelmed or misrepresented with the decorations around them. I also wanted our craftivism pieces to provoke thought and discussion about the world, everyone’s wellbeing, the wellbeing of our planet and society and not just our own world. See our current project: Craftivists Garden #wellmaking for more info on wellbeing and flourishing as individuals)

    'Be Active' soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

    ‘Be Active’ soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

     

    Design decisions & execution:

    I decided to create words for people to reflect on before, during and after their different workshops to keep them focused and present. Based loosely on the NEF 5 ways of wellbeing I picked 6 elements to make into separate bunting pieces with the hope it might spark of thought and discussion. I decided to do the lettering very rounded, lower case & not too large so it wasn’t too in-your-face or shouty (you know like when your parents used to send you a text ALL IN CAPITALS and sounds like she is shouting down the phone at you?! Maybe that’s just me being over sensitive?:s). I used colours that were hopeful like yellow and calming like green as well as kitch patterns that again were not to demanding of attention but still stood out in the Deptford Lounge. I decided to stuff the lettering (even though that quadrupled the time it took to make!) so it made the venue feel safe, comfortable and cosy to everyone. They were not fully stuffed because I wanted them to still look delicate and unassuming, even a little vulnerable. For a similar reason I decided to blanket stitch around each letter with embroidery thread to make it look more handmade than machine made (it was both). I have to admit it took me days and days to finish off all the letters (on the way to meetings, travelling around the country and during late nights) but I always believe that people connect more with items that have had time spend on them than items that have been made  in 3 minutes by a machine.

     

    'Hope' soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

    ‘Hope’ soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

     

    The Bunting messages you can see on the photographs are: 

    1. Connect – connecting to your senses, connecting to other people and the planet and our impact we have.
    2. Learn – always keep learning especially learn how to help not harm others, keep empathising, keep understanding how our actions affect others and if we don’t know the answer, ask and find out. Understand what makes us tick and how we can be our best selves to be useful on this planet using our gifts and passions.
    3. Be Active – not just to get our endorphins up (even though that is so so important!) but also to help the wellbeing of our communities, to remind us that we can achieve things and we are powerful. Help us stay strong to keep fighting for a better world for us and everyone.
    4. Reflect – stop, slow down and reflect on what we are doing, feeling, thinking and why. Do we need to be more mindful and intentional in what we do to help ourselves and have a positive impact on others too. Sometimes we can go on auto-pilot and forget that other people exist too.
    5. Hope – don’t make despair convincing, have a vision for a better world and a plan on  how to get to that vision and believe that we can reach it.
    6. Breathe – don’t forget to breathe properly, to check we are focused, rested and present too.

     

    'Connect' soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

    ‘Connect’ soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

     

    The results: 

    Jana wrote:  ”Craftivism Collective is an incredible organisation with an amazing founder that aims to change the world through craft. NOW really resonated with the ethos and found that Sarah (the founder’s) approach to craft was something we really understood from the point of view of the ability of craft to focus you on the present moment. Sarah approached the workshop with incredible enthusiasm and the participants said they left feeling a sense of calm and presence having taken part in craft activities from a new angle while also discussing thought-provoking topics. The hand-stitched bunting created for the week-long festival at Deptford Lounge was absolutely beautiful and really fit the space, creating a theme focus for the week” = Pretty good aye!?;p 

     

    Since then I’ve used the bunting events and received great feedback where people went straight up to touch the letters, stroke them (!) and they’ve created great discussions on what it means to be well and live intentionally in this life of ours so we help not harm others were possible. Not only that but whilst I was making the bunting I was sharing photographs on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts and feedback was lovely: People where guessing what words I was stitching that would link to anxiety and I had some great chats with people on buses and other places were people spotted me frantically blanket stitching these little soft sculptures.

     

    'Breathe' soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

    ‘Breathe’ soft sculpture bunting photo by Tom Price

     

    We are a social enterprise providing craftivism products and services for individuals and organisations to learn how to use craft to change the world for the better one stitch at a time. We hope you like our post, maybe you would like to share the images with friends who might like them and might encourage them in their wellbeing as a global citizen on this planet :) x

  9. Ooo London Fashion Week starts today but whatever you do… Don’t Mention The Garment Workers!

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    I have to admit that I stilllove reading Vogue cover to cover once a month on a day off. It’s a little treat & distraction to help me rest & look at beautiful images of clothes, shoes & bags (ooo bags…). Anyway, today is the first day of London Fashion Week.  In many ways #LFW is a lovely reminder to all of us, wherever we are in the world, of how creative humans can be in creating stunning clothes, spectacular events and fantastical images. However, don’t you find it uncomfortable that the people who make clothes never receive a mention despite working long hours, with the majority (so sad to say) on poverty wages in unsafe conditions? I know I do. 

     

    Left up on a mannequin in the shop window of Paper Dress Boutique, Curtain Road, Shoreditch London. Photo by Robin Prime

    Left up on a mannequin in the shop window of Paper Dress Boutique, Curtain Road, Shoreditch London. Photo by Robin Prime

    The British Council conveniently don’t mention the garment workers, so this morning our friends at War on Want cheekily decided to give them a helping hand by dropping a banner outside of the main event saying:

    “DON’T MENTION THE GARMENT WORKERS”

    Look for the actual image on Twitter and elsewhere online now. Pretty provocative hey? What would you think if you spotted it walking through London as a fashion industry person? 

    Mini Fashion Protest Banner hung inside the epicentre of LFW last year in Somerset House. Sadly the fact is still true. Photo by Robin Prime

    Mini Fashion Protest Banner hung inside the epicentre of LFW last year in Somerset House. Sadly the fact is still true. Photo by Robin Prime

    We love fashion but hate sweatshops, which is why we want London Fashion Week to celebrate style and creativity but also to discuss how the industry can stop exploitation. Us craftivists can help get the message out there too in 2 ways.

    1. A quick way is by sharing the image of the giant banner  (find it online now) and of yourself like the below image on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler etc, to ensure garment workers aren’t forgotten but get the respect and dignity they deserve.
    2. A craftivist way you can show solidarity with garment workers is to make one of our bespoke Mini Fashion Protest Banners  and hang it on a shopping high street or mall never you wherever you are in the world. You can also share this on social media and we can retweet it etc too.

     

    Help spread the word by taking a photo of yourself holding a homemade sign saying #dontmentionthegarmentworkers & share it social media with the hashtag

    Help spread the word by taking a photo of yourself holding a homemade sign saying #dontmentionthegarmentworkers & share it social media with the hashtag

     

    Our bespoke Mini Fashion Banner kit fits easily into bags to take out and craft with a cuppa

    Our bespoke Mini Fashion Banner kit fits easily into bags to take out and craft with a cuppa

    Your kit includes everything you need in a resealable bag including a vinyl sticker to keep

    Your kit includes everything you need in a resealable bag including a vinyl sticker to keep

     

    Thank you (in advance) for your help – we will be joining @waronwant tweeting & instagramming #dontmentionthegarmentworkers today and sharing the message that London Fashion Week should love fashion but hate sweatshops- come join us online and help get the message out…

    Just “Don’t mention the garment workers!” ;)

     

    If you want to find out more about our way of doing craftivism, our book A Little Book of Craftivism is a great starting point. Buy here. We are a social enterprise so rely on your support to exist. If you like this post (we hope you do) then do share it with a friend you think might also like it (please).

  10. 5 types of activism we think craftivism can be – visual minutes from Sarah’s Shambala Festival talk

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    When I got an email from Ed Gillespie, Co-founder of Futerra & author of ‘Only Planet‘ asking me to speak at Shambala Festival in his brilliantly titled tent: ‘The Emporium of Invaluable Insights’ on August Bank Holiday it was hard to say no plus it was on the way to do craftivism at Greenbelt Festival so I managed to go & hang out at this lovely festival for the day. 

    You might have seen the tweets, Instagram pics or posts on our Facebook Page of me in Shambala   delivering a talk to festival-goers chilling out in the warm, welcoming and whimsical tent & the response we had which was ace!

    It was a super-friendly and thoughtful audience open to hearing about our approach to craftivism plus I loved the fact that they had a bunch of illustrators and artists creating ‘visual minutes‘ on boards that where then left up for the entire festival for people to see a summary of the talks they  had missed. These images are totally shareable/pinnable/tweetable/instagrammable… online don’t you think?! (hint hint hehee;p)

    The theme for the Emporium this year was: Make. Do. Mend. And here is a little report from Ed on how it went plus the ‘visual minutes’ of my talk (higher resolution images can be found on our Flickr album here)

     

     

    The Visual Minutes board of my talk which I think was about 10foot tall

    The Visual Minutes board of my talk which I think was about 10foot tall

     

     

    “It was truly wonderful to have so many amazing and committed speakers giving so freely of their valuable time to come and share the experience and have a little adventure in utopia in that wee corner of Northamptonshire that springs into verdant and vibrant pop-up life each and every August Bank Holiday weekend… 

     

     

    The top of the 'Visual Minutes' board summarising my craftivism talk

    The top of the ‘Visual Minutes’ board summarising my craftivism talk

     

     

    “This was our third year of curating the Emporium and easily (in our modest view) the best so far, bringing something unique, provocative and profound to proceedings…

    “ Sarah inspired us to stitch and bitch with the best, urging elegant and beautiful provocations with graft that shift perceptions and behaviours, campaigning has never looked so artful”

     

    I gave a bit of background on how craft had been used throughout history for political change

    I gave a bit of background on how craft had been used throughout history for political change & my background growing up as an activist and then as a professional campaigner

     

     

     

    Then I spoke a little bit about the physical, psychological & emotional benefits of using handicraft and how linking that to activism is a great fit sometimes

    Then I spoke a little bit about the physical, psychological & emotional benefits of using handicraft and how linking that to activism is a great fit in lots of ways

     

     

     

    1 focused on 5 ways craft can be useful in the activism toolkit. 1 it helps transform ourselves before we ask other to change

    1 focused on 5 ways craft can be useful in the activism toolkit. First of all I think it helps transform ourselves

     

     

     

    Craftivism is a form of respectful activism- it's about engaging people in conversation, empathising with others whether they are victims or perpetrators, listening and working together to be the change you wish to see. All common sense really if we want long term change in our hearts and minds too don't you think?

    In my opinion craftivism is a form of respectful activism- it’s about engaging people in conversation, empathising with others whether they are victims or perpetrators, listening and working together to be the change you wish to see. All common sense really if we want long term change in our hearts and minds too don’t you think?

     

     

     

    For the Craftivist Collective craftivism is about graceful activism: it's about beauty, not trying to save or help people but treating oppressed & vulnerable people with dignity, its about solidarity not charity...

    For the Craftivist Collective craftivism is about graceful activism: it’s about beauty, not trying to save or help people but treating oppressed & vulnerable people with dignity, its about solidarity not charity…

     

     

     

    Our approach is quiet- quietly engaging on social justice on our own exercising our inner monologues or quietly discussing the issues in small groups and attracting people to come over and ask us questions and see what we are doing

    Our approach is quiet- quietly engaging on social justice on our own exercising our inner monologues or quietly discussing the issues in small groups and attracting people to come over and ask us questions and see what we are doing

     

     

     

    Our final example of our craftivism methodology is that it has to be joyful: we visualise how more awesome the world can be and how to reach that beauty, activism needs a dose of joy to sustain us and attract others to MAKE the world a better place one stitch at a time...

    The final example of our craftivism methodology is that it has to be joyful: we visualise how more awesome the world can be and how to reach that beauty, activism needs a dose of joy to sustain us and attract others to MAKE the world a better place one stitch at a time…

     

     

    “I think you’ll agree that is one fantastic feast of purposeful hedonistic fun, leaving all who passed through the Emporium’s portals with actionable inspiration that will lead to ripples of change both gentle and gigantic!” says Ed Gillespie, the organiser of this event. Thanks Ed!:)

    What do you think? We would love to hear your comments below :) x

    If you couldn’t attend this event but want to find out more about the Craftivist Collective’s methodology, our book A Little Book of Craftivism is a great starting point. Buy here. We are a social enterprise so rely on your support to exist. If you like this post (we hope you do) then do share it with a friend you think might also like it (please).

     

  • @NorthWestNosh: #craftivism encourages craftsters to engage with activism in our own quiet way. Sometimes the quieter the revolution, the louder it is heard.

  • @PrickYourfinga: At tonight’s #craftivist stitch-in we talked about what it must be like to be a politician, and how to activate change in our busy lives.

  • @Rin Simpson: My small act of craftivism will, hopefully, go some small way towards changing the world. But more importantly, it has changed me.

  • @storyofmum: I love the project – it’s really inspiring&creative & has really got me excited about activism again in a way I haven’t been since my teens!

  • @tomofholland: @Craftivists shows, inspires and facilitates craftsters to unite their individual creative powers to raise awareness of social issues.