Monthly Archives: April 2011

A very civil disobedience

“My dear Miss Havisham, would you like another cup of tea?” “Oh how charming, Mr Cholomondly-Warner, I believe I would, thank you.” “I must say your embroidery is too delightful, what exquisite stitching.” “Oh sir, you are too kind, I do protest! Although, I must confess I didn’t expect ‘protest’ to be anything like this. Do you feel as conspicuous as I, Mr Cholomondly-Warner, sitting on this hard floor?” “Indeed I do, Miss Havisham, but the constabulary gentlemen don’t seem to mind our being here, so do calm your nerves. Grape?”

Well OK, so it wasn’t quite like that. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that Sunday 10th April was scheduled as a day of craftivism, in railway stations across the country, to protest the government’s plans to hike rail fares yet higher – with no corresponding plan to plough any of the increased profit back into the rail network. Paid through the nose to travel by train recently? Get a seat? Eee, you were lucky.
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A Railway Adventure into Craftivism

Craftivism? What is she on about now? Girl, are you making this up?

Pfft, like I’d make stuff up 😉 Nope, craftivism is real.

“Craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite.” (Betsy Greer, “Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. 2007)

There are many advocates and practitioners of active Craftivism out there – the one I can credit with getting me into all this in the first place is the lovely Radical Cross Stitch, based in Melbourne – but this last week your Disobedient Child has allied herself firmly and shamelessly to the Craftivist Collective. And for why? Because I received an invitation, or maybe it was a challenge, from no less than Mr X-Stitch himself, to join in with A Railway Adventure: stitching a fabric train of protest to fight for fair transport fares.

Craftivist Collective, in collaboration with campaigning group Climate Rush, have organised stitch-ins at railway stations across the country on Sunday 10th April. People will be enjoying a nice cup of tea (what could be more civilized?) and stitching their protest/facts/messages onto fabric carriages, which will then be collected together and sewn into bunting and presented to Philip Hammond MP, Minister for Transport. A man who really should, given his job, spend a bit more time actually working out a half-decent public transport policy instead of shrugging Gallic-ly and saying ‘what, you’ve got a car haven’t you?’. Or words to that effect.

So anyway, as no-one else has organised a stitch-in in Sheffield, I have. If you’re still reading, you’re obviously curious, so why not come along on Sunday and see what I’m blathering on about. Join us for the stitch-in – I have fabric pens for non-sewers, there’s no excuse – or just share our tea and biscuits and have a good chin-wag. Don’t just wonder what craftivism is, come and find out!

Sheffield station, 1-4pm, Sunday 10th April. Get in touch for more details, but otherwise, see you there!

(PS: I have not credited these photos, as I found them through Google. If they are yours, please let me know. And, nice!)