Craft Crush #5: Carrie Reichardt

20 May Craft Crush #5: Carrie Reichardt

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As the Craftivist Collective we love to showcase fellow craft-lovers who inspire us to keep crafting, teach us new craft skills & new ways of thinking and challenge us in how craft can be done and seen. These people keep me and the Craftivist Collective moving forward and growing and basically I have a big Craft Crush on them for that reason & want to celebrate their crafty brilliance with you so you can be inspired by them too.

Craft Crush #5 is…. Carrie Reichardt!

I met Carrie in 2010 when she attended one of our free London craftivism sessions in Royal Festival Hall cafe on Southbank. This particular meeting was with members of the Shoreditch Sisters who we were supporting by doing their Embroideries project.  Carrie came with a lot of passion for craftivism, a big smile, lots of questions and jar of plastic eyeballs to add to the pile of craft resources. Since then Carrie & I have sat in her incredible mosaic’ed home and had lots of long conversations with a cuppa tea about what craftivism is, what being an artist means, what is effective activism and we had some heated discussions about how to go about making change. The more I know Carrie the more I respect & admire this incredible artist. We disagree on many methods of activism but we talk honestly and openly about why and challenge each other in a respectful way. I definitely have a Craft Crush on Carrie – her creativity, constant hard work, passion for justice and urge to support like-minded craftivists just oozes out of her it there is no denying her work provokes conversation on global injustices.

My pictureName: Carrie Reichardt AKA The Baroness 

Websitewww.carriereichardt.com  

What do you do? I’m a renegade potter, anarchist ceramicist and a craftivist.

What are your first memories of crafting? My mother was a very creative women and a wonderful knitter and as a child she would take me to the V&A. I always loved to make stuff – trying my hand at most arts and crafts.  As a child, I wasn’t particularly good at it but it was the thing that I most enjoyed.  

What inspires you? My parents and the people I have written to on death row and The Angola 3  and Kenny Zulu Whitmore. The A3 and Kenny are political prisoners, ex black panthers and the longest serving men in solitary confinement in the USA. They have each been locked up for more than 3 decades yet they remain the most inspirational people you could ever wish to call your friends.

Who do you have a craft crush on? Niki de Saint Phalle is one of my favourite artist. I have loved her work since coming across her whilst at college in the late 1980’s. Her absence from the Art History books is evidence of the shocking lack of representation of female political artists. I am also just blown away by working with Craftspace in Birmingham on the ‘Craft in Mind’ project. I have been working with some young people who have really shown how powerful craftivism can be, not only to the viewer, but perhaps more importantly, for the maker. The work they are now creating is truly inspiring.  

What three things could you not live without? My family and friends, my ability to create and colour.

To illustrate the Angola 3How has craft been a positive influence for you, your community or society at large? Throughout my life creativity has been my cathartic response to the painful situations I have found myself in. Had I not found my creative voice I would probably be dead or institutionalised.  Every person I ever written to in prison has kept their humanity and their sanity by being creative. Art has the power to heal and to bring communities together and we must fight to ensure that the ability to create is given to everyone. I am working with Acton Forum Arts

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? Inequality.

Have you got any words of encouragement for our readers about the power of crafts? We have to recognise the power of creativity to help and heal communities and to use this to bring about a more equal and fairer society. I really think that now is the time to go into our communities and make our voices heard in the most creative way we can find. Craftivism and guerrilla art acts of kindness need to become the new street art.   On a deeply personal level, I know that voicing your opinion gives you strength, and if your action gives another hope or puts a smile on a strangers  face, then what more could you ask for. As Herman Wallace (One of the Angola 3 taught me) “ The essence of your life is only measured in the way you can help others”.
Back of House
I bet you have a Craft Crush on Carrie now don’t you? :) 
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