15 Oct The Power of We – Blog Action Day 2012
Today is Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is ‘The Power of We’. As you know, I’m a deep thinker but I’m not a confident writer so I avoid writing blogs; but the theme this year really resonated with me so I thought I’d give it ago on behalf of the Craftivist Collective. So here goes my attempt…eek
In August 2008 I came up with the Mini Protest Banner craftivism project idea and started my little blog A Lonely Craftivist to document what I was doing. I never thought that 4 years later I would be here running a global Craftivist Collective – working with charities, art organisations and others and running workshops, exhibitions and events full time. I never actively promoted my first blog but through the power of the internet and lovely readers asking to join in, we set up the group and had our first open meeting in January 2009. Without people asking to join in and being so supportive online and offline (i.e. the real world!) plus giving constructive feedback too, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to run the collective. And without people like yourself getting involved, talking about the issues with others and sharing our images and projects through your blogs and social media, we wouldn’t have become the collective we are today. Check out your power!
So I’ve decided to blog about the Power of We as individual craftivists and the Power of We together as part of the craft community.
The Power of We as Individuals:
The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.
Betsy Greer and I have spoken about the benefits of craftivism to the individual a lot recently. We both get lots of emails from people asking if there is a group they can join or an event nearby; but we really think that a huge benefit of doing craftivsm is the time we have on our own to reflect and educate ourselves on these big issues. It also gives us time to reflect on what power we have as individuals, our place in the world and how we can make a positive difference whilst we are on this planet. Exercising that inner-monologue is so important and probably the biggest benefit I feel craftivism has. If we have deeply engaged in issues ourselves then our passion and motivation to do the right thing and not stand for injustice will not fizzle out.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
When I deliver workshops, talks or even when I’m asked to explain what Craftivist Collective is all about, a recurring comment is along the lines of “but I can’t do anything, the problem is too big, it’s the Government that need to do X, what can I do!”. I often feel completely overwhelmed too by injustices in the world especially when I read the paper or watch the news, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have power to change things. Just think of all the examples of normal people (not superheroes) like William Wilberforce or Rosa Parks who stood up for what they believed and became catalysts for change. J P Flintoff has a small and beautiful book on how we can be the change we wish to see here – please read it on the bus and share it with your friends!
The Power Of We as the Craft Community:
The craft community is growing in number and strength across the world which is amazing to watch and be part of. Remember when our friends used to take the piss out of us for cross-stitching and now they want to join in?! ;p Craft has reminded people we can make do and mend, slow down and reflect on life whilst stitching, as well as bringing beauty and joy into the world through our lovely like creations. Often without thinking but just by doing we are challenging extreme capitalism, challenging consumerism and remembering that we are all unique creative beings and who can affect each other by what we put out into the world.
The world is like a puzzle; everyone is special, they merely need to figure out where their piece of the puzzle goes.
I think we often forget how powerful we are as a craft community or we try and ignore it because like Superman’s uncle said (or was it his aunt?) with “power comes great responsibility”. But we do have power. Many of us have a large amount of readers and people who look to our blogs and opinions for inspiration.
I’m actually taking 3 influential craftStars (Mr X Stitch, Deadly Knitshade and Hilary Pullen) to Indonesia with Save the Children (STC) in November to see the effects of hunger and what STC are trying to do to tackle it with the local communities. This is so that we can blog, tweet and vlog our experience and hopefully get the craft community and others to support STC Race Against Hunger campaign through the craftivism project we are launching tomorrow (shameless plug!).
It‘s pretty scary to be a voice on this issue but all 4 of us can see that we do have a platform within our community to speak out and hopefully get support from our community (that’s you!) to engage in this issue and show World Leaders that hunger needs to be at the top of the agenda at the G8 in the UK spring 2013. (Find out more on our website when it launches tomorrow on World Food Day). Like it or not, politicians will actually take notice if they see that thoughtful people care deeply about an issue- enough to stitch a craftivism petition with us.
Let’s keep making sure that we are being the change we wish to see in the world (whether its being a good mum, crafting using ethical resources or making craftivism creations to provoke ourselves and each other to be our best selves and fight for a world that reaches its potential to be a heavenly place for all).