17 Dec #imapiece of the Week featuring @roopaprika
Name: Rachel Stevens aka @roopaprika
Blog here: http://littlestitchblog.wordpress.com
Location: Reading, Berkshire
Craft of choice: I think my favourites are cross stitch, knitting and patchworking. Though I am currently obsessed with pickling (is pickling a craft?)
Who are you and what do you do?
By day I run community projects for an environmental charity and I am also a postgraduate student studying Global Development. If I ever have any spare time I can also, laughably, be described as a cyclist.
How do you get into craft and craftivism?
My mum was always making things – everything from embroidery to collages to curtains and sofa covers. My childhood was full of craft – I always knew they were pretty thrifty skills, but ones that were full of personality and beautiful too. But when I grew up and moved out of home I just stopped; I’m not sure why.
A couple of years ago I was deeply unhappy. I’ve never considered myself an activist; all I have ever wanted to do was to help people improve their environments. But I found myself in a career which I increasing felt was dogged with politics and lacked true participation. I was desperately seeking an outlet. I accidentally discovered the Craftivist Collective after Googling some street art I had seen out walking in Greenwich – someone had filled in a pothole with a piece of beautiful pottery (http://www.thegreenwichphantom.co.uk/2010/07/born-to-kiln/). I was really inspired by the Craftivist Collective’s mini-banners; I loved the idea of making small beautiful statements that could inspire people and but also ‘reclaimed’ a little bit of the environment. I couldn’t make pottery to infill potholes but, thanks to my mum, I could cross stitch. A couple of weeks later I found myself at a CC stitch-in where we made name labels for the Desconocida Unknown Ukjent project. Craftivism opened my mind to issues that were going on around the world; it re-inspired me to try challenge the injustices and issues I felt so strongly about. It also made me pick up a needle and thread again and made me fall back in love with craft.
Today I have made quite a few pieces for the Craftivist Collective’s projects. I still really love with the power of mini-banners. I have changed career and have gone back to university. Craft now fills my world. I am always making something – from little cross stitched statements, to Christmas presents for friends and family, to learning skills to furnish our new home.
Why did you decide to get involved in the Jigsaw project?
It’s difficult to know where to start! Global inequalities are something that need to be addressed and there are people out there that have the power to do so and need reminding of that. But I also love this project because it tackles the apathy that we can all often feel. It provides a quiet but thoughtful reminder that everyone has a part to play in dealing with issues such as poverty or malnutrition – they are not just things that happen in other countries – and that we are all part of creating a solution.
I’m also hoping,with the help of some local crafters, to be able to spread the #imapiece message and get more people involved by organising a stitch-in in Reading, something I am very excited about. You can find out more here: http://www.facebook.com/events/126239110869143/
What have you stitched on your piece and why?
On my piece I have stitched “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…”. It is quote by Barack Obama, I believe, from his first US presidential election campaign. I also heard a local community leader use it when inspiring people to tackle problems we have in our local area. To me it means that we shouldn’t wait for someone else to come along a create solutions, we all have the power to make change happen.
What do you love about craftivism?
Craftivism gives me a creative outlet and gives me a voice to challenge, engage and, hopefully, inspire people.
And if you would like one of your Craftivist Jigsaw’s to be a Piece of the Week here contact us at CraftivistDOTcollectiveATgmailDOTcom And get involved! #imapiece are you?