20 May Craft Crush #5: Carrie Reichardt
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.
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.
How 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.