Stitching Some Love for Our Global Neighbours at the Hayward

12 Sep Stitching Some Love for Our Global Neighbours at the Hayward

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On the 25th of August hip London gallery The Hayward was taken over – by needles, thread, and love. The Craftivist Collective’s love letter response to Tracey Emin’s retrospective show, “Love is What You Want” drew a big crowd to the Waterloo Sunset Pavilion hosted experienced craftivists and people just learning how to stitch, signing their names off to a pledge that craftivist Sarah Corbett had handcrafted as a giant letter.

Dear Fellow art-lover,

Tracey Emin states “Love is What You Want.” We want you to show your love.

The Craftivist Colletctive urge you to show love to our global neighbours struggling in our unjust world.

It’s easy to say we care but that’s not enough! ACTION is needed for justice to happen.

Are you up for the challenge?

Please sign this letter to commit to act for justice and encourage others to do the same.

The use of a letter was inspired by Emin’s own work. As well as her repeated use of fabric letters in many of her most famous works, early on in her career she wrote letters asking people to donate money to support her as an artist. Her provocative, intricate, bold and dramatic art and strong political views led to a lot of debate in the Collective when the Hayward approached the group to produce work in response to it.

Instead of asking for money, we decided to ask for love – the word at the start of her collection’s title, and a word that, along with hate, Tory, tax, sex, gender, controversial, and fame, gets often used around her work and life. At the workshop we handed out cards for participants to fill in with ideas for what they can do in their lives to create a better world, and linen tags to sign and stitch the signature to attach them.

When the call went out for people to join us at the gallery, we were unsure how people would react. But the tweets began flying and the event facebook page began filling up with interesting questions and comments. The letter and the request for signatures gathered a big response, with over fifty people attending, working alongside each other and talking about how to make a positive change for good.

The floor of the Pavilion quickly filled up with busy stitching and lots of great conversations  got started.

One of the best things about the workshop was talking to people who had come along for the first time, and got to try out some craft and talk about social change and art as the letter on the wall grew with more signatures.  At the end of the night people were still gathering around reading it, and it was a great example of what craftivism does best: bringing people and ideas together, stitch by stitch.

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