The next stage of our craftivism adventure… what do you think?

09 Dec The next stage of our craftivism adventure… what do you think?

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Hey craftivistas, supporters and people who might have found this blog by accident. I hope you are all well and happy. Sarah Corbett here.

I haven’t written a personal blog for quite a long time now and so much has been going on I wanted to share it with you and get your thoughts. So…

As you know I’m much better at creating images than words so I thought I would start off with this photo (there’s me- person in the left of the picture!) to let you know that I’m going down to part time in my job from mid January 2012 so that I can turn the collective into a social enterprise (eek!). I’ve spoken to quite a few hardcore craftivists from across the UK as well as LA, Berlin and as far as Melbourne to see if people are happy with this and everyone seems really keen and excited. In 2 years we’ve gone from our first meeting of 6 people in the British Library cafe to having members across the world, our name in print in 3 books, national and international media publications, working with the likes of Tatty Devine, the Tate and Hayward Gallery plus being part of an Extreme Craft exhibition and more. It’s been crazy and most of what has happened has fallen in our laps and we’ve just reacted to offers rather than proactively planned what we want to do and where we want to be. I truly believe there is so much potential to reach more people and show them the benefits of craftivism plus, sadly I can’t go on working full time and then lead the collective on top of that- I’m going to turn into a burnt out craftivist which will be ironic!!

So here is the plan or us being a social enterprise. There will be 4 focuses

  1. products to sell online and offline in shops – create more products especially kits
  2. workshops, events and talks- this could be organisations/people booking me in or we set up ourselves. I’m also keen to be a bit of a travelling craftivist (think pop up shop but more of a pop up person) where I tweet were I am plus book in days in particular venues around the UK and people come and join me to do some craftivism or just have a chat- what do you think? It could be a cafe, train, circle line tube, park bench, craft shop… again people/places could book me in and I go where there is a demand
  3. ‘special projects’ – which might be a funded projects with partners, might be a campaign we really love and want to work on like we did with the Railway Adventure and Sew to BedΒ or just something we want to do that isn’t covered in the first 2 streams. I’m thinking a craftivism bootcamp would be amazing and I could make certificates for the attendees at the end plus we could ask them to then train other craftivists/set up events etc so I don’t do everything.
  4. still creating hi res photographs for our blogger fans (and maybe media if I get more confident pitching stuff) to use to raise awareness of global injustices and trying to do it even quicker now to react to current news such as Osborne’s budget announcement in March if it will be fuelling inequality

Plus improving our website, improving our instruction videos and adding to them, creating new craftivism projects (yay!) and so much more.

Luckily I’m getting help with the business plan from 4 people who asked to be my mentor (random I know but amazing!) and are advising in different ways (funding, media, social enterprise business plan and strategy) so I’m really excited about the future but also nervous too and wish there was more time to do what they need from me.

Really hoping I can find more people willing to help me with particular jobs such as improving this site, updating the blog, designing some kits, improve and update our online shops, researching facts we need for new kits, book keeping and more otherwise I can’t do it all :'(

I’m currently making a Survey Monkey so I can offer it to you (yes you!) to find out what you would like from the Craftivist Collective in the future, and get your thoughts and ideas on our plans. It would be really helpful to get your honest feedback.

Any way, right now I’ve gotta go and make 10 kits to give to 123 Bethnal Green Road concept store who want to sell them as stocking fillers before Christmas! πŸ™‚

I hope to hear from you soon and maybe see some of you at the January workshop here

10 Comments
  • Deadly Knitshade
    Posted at 14:32h, 09 December Reply

    You go, chick!

  • Heather Stryk (@hstryk)
    Posted at 17:08h, 09 December Reply

    Hello! I’m so glad you are moving forward with the Craftivist Collective! I have been researching craftivism and it’s been frustrating to see so many collectives fall apart. I’m a grad student at the New School in NYC and I’m putting together a craftivism research project. I will be publishing a zine this month and the project will continue into my thesis. So far I have a website: http://www.counter-craft.org and a tumblr: http://counter-craft.tumblr.com & I made a Facebook page in hopes of not alienating people because they aren’t members of a particular craftivist group: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Craftivist-Community/213275055416647. I also work as a web designer and I would love to help you in any way with this project.

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 18:51h, 09 December Reply

      Ooo I’ll head to your Facebook page, sign up and give you a little message on FB to see how we can support each other. Keep up the great work Heather! πŸ™‚

  • betsy
    Posted at 16:08h, 10 December Reply

    “I’m really excited about the future but also nervous too and wish there was more time to do what they need from me.”

    Just be excited, nervousness equals pushing yourself, which can be a good thing!

    As for “what they need from you,” remember that not giving people authority over your own heart/decisions is going to keep you on the right (craftivist) path. Follow what you think is right and good vs what someone can offer you. We’re given our gut instincts for a reason!

    x

  • Erin
    Posted at 12:06h, 12 December Reply

    I totally love this craftivism movement and have recently started doing my own stuff and getting my friends inspired too. I am not so sure about this idea though if I am really honest, I think it moves away from the amazing original idea of craftivism. I like it as a movement, something everyone can be involved in, that folk do because they are passionate about things and want to spread their thoughts in a new and creative way. What I mostly don’t like about this is the shop – selling stuff or doing workshops for £££££ πŸ™ I think this moves away from what I think is great about it all. I think it’s good as it is, expand if you want, inspire more people, work with more people but I don’t like the selling, shop, money money enterprise, company thing. To me this is not good. You asked for honest, you are still great!

    Erin xxx

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 16:25h, 15 December Reply

      Hi Erin

      Sarah here. Thanks for your honest feedback, we are so so grateful for any constructive criticism. I agree with you that no one should have to pay to be part of a movement which is why we have created free instruction videos anyone can watch as well as instruction blogs, press releases and examples people can use if they want to set up their own craftivism event or deliver one of our projects alone. Plus we always encourage people to create their own craftivism projects. However we cannot continue to carry on maintaining this level of commitment on top of full time jobs otherwise we will burn out and be no use to anyone. Also sadly we cannot provide free resources for everyone or in your words “work with more people” because it costs money to hire venues and pay for equipment, travel etc to be able to provide workshops for people who want to learn craft skills and learn more about craftivism. Alongside our workshops we will continue to offer our free stitch-ins where people can join us for free and stitch their craftivism project with other craftivists but again we cannot afford to continue to buy all resources in to give out for free. If we could afford it, we most definitely would.
      We are getting in more and more requests to deliver workshops, exhibit in galleries and sell products so people can buy them as gifts for people or themselves and spread the word. We have only started doing the above because there has been a demand for the it and we see the benefits of it to help raise awareness of craftivism, provoke discussions and support people to become craftivists. We are going to be a social enterprise because we do not believe in making profit out of craftivism and we want all profit to go back into the enterprise to deliver some free workshops for particular audiences as well as provide other tools to encourage more people to be craftivists as well as offer more support. I’ve been lucky enough to have had some money in the last two years to pay for the maintenance of the website, flickr, workshops, events and activities but sadly I can no longer continue to do this. We can only grow if we have time and financial support to do so.
      I hope you understand our predicament and limitations without financial backing and lack of time. If you still feel uncomfortable by the above please do continue to raise your concerns and we can continue to discuss our the reasons behind our decisions taken.

      Good luck with your craftivism projects!:)

      All my respect
      Sarah x

  • Craftivist Collective
    Posted at 21:48h, 13 December Reply

    Betsy, oh Godmother of Craftivism what would we do without your guidance, encouragement and continuous support. Thanks for guiding us on the right path and being such an inspiration x

  • Lorna
    Posted at 14:34h, 10 January Reply

    Sounds like lots of hard work, but it will no doubt be amazing Sarah. All the best of luck! I’ve already directed a few excited potential craftivists here in Manchester to the website and will be keenly keeping up with your developments. p.s you can always facebook me if there’s anything I can help with around Manchester (or Newcastle).

    Lorna M. x

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 22:36h, 10 January Reply

      Thanks hun πŸ™‚ Let’s definitely set up a workshop in Manchester in 2012 and see if that helps bring craftivists together who migh want to meet up regularly again. Plus we could see if Oklahoma and other shops might want to sell our kits and products but I get nervous being a saleswoman so I might need your help to push me through the door :s Hope you are well lovely Lorna πŸ™‚

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