26 Feb “As a teacher of Textiles the craftivism projects are a really good way of introducing social issues to my pupils, without being all ‘preachy’” Karen Rowe
Name: Karen Rowe
Craftivism of choice: Stitched Textiles mini projects
Jamie Chalmers aka‘Mr X Stitch’ came to talk to the Oxford Embroiderers Guild. He spoke about Save The Children’s ‘Race Against Hunger’ and the Craftivist Collective’s #imapiece as well as his love for contemporary craft and I was away!! I made my Jigsaw piece and used it as a starting point at school.
I thought #I’m a piece was a brilliant way to introduce the ‘Race Against Hunger’ to everyone at the school where I teach. Staff and pupils (aged 4-18) eventually created almost 40 jigsaw pieces in total. We had our own mini installation of photocopied pieces (the originals were posted). Nicola Blackwood, our local MP came into school to collect a jigsaw piece printed with a photo of all the pieces we had made.
The next thing I knew I was in Hyde Park at the Big IF!
To keep the profile up and keep the campaign going, a stitching friend, Alex, and I decided to try and get the Jigsaw installation to exhibit in Oxford. Alex, who works at Wolfson College ( a post-grad college at Oxford Uni), arranged for exhibition space there and we have about 300 pieces on display until 31st January. We have both been energised by the whole idea of using stitching to get across important ideas.
We had a ‘private view’ on Sunday 26th where instead of wine and canapés we served water, bread and cheese! (Alex’s brainwave) The whole 300 pieces will be moved to my school for the beginning of February. We hope to involve the local press too.
Stitching, is what keeps me sane. I always have too many projects on the go. At the moment I am creating a buxom mermaid to go in an exhibition called ‘Beside The Seaside’ at the Creative Stitches, Fashion and Embroidery Show at the ExCel in April. My ‘footprint’ is planned in my head. As a teacher of Textiles the craftivism projects are a really good way of introducing social issues to my pupils, without being all ‘preachy’. They like to know what I am stitching, and why, and so we can discuss all sorts of issues in an informal way. There is always something new and important to think about.
Next stop? Alex and I hope to organise a craftivist event here in Oxfordshire, and we are optimistic about getting one or two more venues for the Jigsaw pieces. Watch this space!
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