Free Beak Pattern for Canary Craftivists

04 Jun Free Beak Pattern for Canary Craftivists

Do you want to protect our planet from the climate crisis yet, like me you are an introvert, shy away from attention and can get anxious of large groups, loud, performative or divisive forms of activism? Well, guess what?

You’re exactly the type of person we need for our new climate craftivism #GentleProtest campaign this summer! Our campaign will have more positive impact if it’s people like you who join in to show our politicians that it’s not just a minority of people who are concerned about global warming; we care too! We need the quiet crafty types of people to join us in encouraging our politicians do to more nationally and internationally and faster to tackle the climate crisis. The more diverse and bigger the climate movement, the more politicans will feel held to account. As a craft community we may not agree on everything politically but we can come together with this common cause of saving our planet to show we care.

Flock of two: A mother and teenage daughter crafting their life size canary craftivism objects as a gift for their Member of Parliament.

Our ‘flock’ gatherings across the UK are part of the gentle craftivism Canary Craftivists campaign encouraging the UK Government to be bold hosts of world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) this November in Glasgow to tackle global warming faster and at a larger sale before it’s too late. All information on the campaign an be found here.

A flock of 8 diverse canary craftivists many of whom have never been part of a public climate campaign before. Some in beaks and capes, some in just borrowed yellow clothes. In front of a view of London from Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath.

We need your help to create small flock gatherings (2-12 people max) across the UK where craftivists live and near recognisable landmarks that your community want to protect from the effects of climate change. You don’t have to talk to people or even look at them, you can hide behind your mask like I do! We just need a great photo of your flock near your local landmarks to go with your press release (template here) to gain local media attention (you might not read your local newspaper but your MP and their staff do!) this Summer to show that those who are concerned about climate are diverse and we the UK Government to do more to protect our community especially in the lead up to COP26. If you live in a Conservative-held constituency where you do not normally see climate action happen and you can gather a flock of people who are not already party of a climate campaign group then you have even more power to make a difference! Please do let me know if you can take part here

A flock of 3: Ciorsdan in her favourite tree wearing her beak, alongside Patricia in her homemade cape and mask made from an upcycled towel and skirt (!) and Lauren wearing her knitted canary as a headband and her trusty yellow raincoat for the erratic english weather!

Materials needed:

Where possible please use ethical resources and upcycle existing resources or buy from charity shops.
  • Paper
  • pencil and marker pen
  • Ruler 30cm
  • Pins to hold fabric in place
  • Embroidery Needle No.5
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Embroidery thread scissors
  • Yellow and white felt (ideally made from post-consumer plastic bottles such as Kunin Group’s felt made from post-consumer, BPA-free recycled plastic bottles.
  • Donated fabric with pink as a majority colour (cotton, linen, non-stretch)
  • Embroidery threads: pink, yellow
  • 60cm Braided Elastic Rope Code (10mm width ideally)
  • And don’t forget your carefulness, courage to campaign and your compassion for yourself that your handmade beak might not be perfect and that is why it’s even more endearing to those who see your Gentle Protest.

Step 1

Save the above image. Zoom in to fit a full A5 piece of paper and trace over both shapes on your computer screen (like a light box) with a pencil. You can go over the pencil lines with a pen and ruler to neaten your straight lines and measure them.

Step 2

Place or pin your mask shape onto yellow felt or fabric and draw around. Place as close to the edges of your fabric as possible to limit waste. Cut out twice.

Step 3

Find some pink fabric for your beak. Your fabric can be patterned or plain. I used donated scraps kindly given to me by Barley Massey at Fabrications that where once curtains. I’ve also used old floral patterned cushion covers too for my friend to wear. This is a great opportunity to ask family, friends, neighbours or community members you don’t know if the have any fabric or old clothes they can donate or go hunting in charity shops! 🙂

Step 4

Cut around your beak twice in felt for extra stiffness of your beak shape when wearing it. I used white felt but you could use any colour as it won’t be seen in your completed mask.

Now for some space for your Crafter-Thoughts

At Craftivist Collective, craftivism is more than just the making and the final creation; it’s about the thought behind the action. The mindful activism that connects our hands and hearts with our heads gives us the courage to grapple with big issues through deep contemplation. We’ve got an affectionate term for the thoughts that influence our craftivism at every stage. These ‘crafter-thoughts’ are vital little things. They’re seeds from which our learning and understanding of the world grows. Each one we jot down empowers us to be more effective in all that we do. Why not help make the world a better place one stitch at a time by using craft as a way to engage people in global issues to think, act and be the change they wish to see in the world.

Use the slow stitch-by-stitch nature of craft to help you consider the complexities of injustices. The crafter-thoughts linked to our #CanaryCraftivists campaign are listed below. More about them in our campaign page here 

1. What do you enjoy about your favourite green space in your area? 

2. Where do you think you might be able to reduce your own carbon emissions to protect our world?

3. Imagine you are a politician: how would you feel about receiving a beautiful, handmade yellow canary from a constituent? 

Step 5

Pin your two mask shapes together neatly and seel the curved side only using a blanket stitch or whip stitch (these videos are great by Maggy at Red Ted Art). I cut the length of thread to be the length of the tip of my thumb to top of my shoulder . I used three strands of embroidery thread but you can use single stranded cotton or more strands of embroidery thread. It’s up to you and the aesthetics you are going for.

Step 6

Cut your Elastic rope into two pieces of 30cm lengths. Fold over both sides of your mask (that are closest to your ears) by 1cm with the flap on the inside of the mask and the elastic wrapped up inside the 7cm length of felt leaving 11.5cm of elastic on either side. Pin the elastic into the flap (do not strength the elastic into place). Sew the 2 layers of felt sandwiching the elastic in place with a running stitch. Later on you can decide where to knot your loose elastic tails to fit snug on your ears that isn’t too loose or tight on your face. Then cut off the excess elastic not needed or tuck behind your mask.

Step 6

For your beak to have a defined point when wearing, pin your felt beak shape with your pink fabric into place and blanket stitch or whip stitch together. Do for both beaks separately. I used all 6 strands of pink embroidery thread but you could use less or a different colour. Do what you think looks most attractive for your gentle craftivism action.

Step 7

Flatten your mask as much as you can onto a table to position your two beak shapes either side so that they meet in the top and bottom at the tallest height of the beak shape on the mask centre seam. That way there is beak shape does no dip into a v on your nose. This can be fiddly so I hold the two beak pieces together with pins and try out how it looks on my face in a mirror before I start to sew into position.

Step 8

Using one strand of embroidery thread stitch over every third blanket stitch or whip stitch that was flush with the yellow felt of the mask in the same thread colour so you cannot see this extra layer of stitching. Where the beak is no against the mask felt use a blanket or whip stitch to go over each stitch so there are no gaps when worn.

Step 9

Look for yellow clothing in your wardrobe, borrow some or make a cape (patterns here) to go with your beak. Pick a local landmark in your community that is recognisable and loved. Select a date and time this Summer and gather a small flock of fellow quiet, crafty people who are also worried about global warming but are nervous of other forms of climate action and take a photograph of your gathering to send to your local newspaper with your filled out version of our Local Press Release template here. More info here and if you still have questions please do get in touch with me Sarah here and I will try to help however I can.

Together with courage and care we can help make real positive change

All information HERE.

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