Tag Archives: craftivism

You Are So Very Beautiful – a craftivist project

[Reblogged from Pickymiss.com]


The photo above is one of the pieces of encouragement I’ve been leaving around the place for a few months now. Not all at once, just one at a time, when I can. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen them. But now I find something similar you might want to be a part of: because that amazing Betsy Greer is at it again, stitching things to make the world a brighter place. And she wants YOU (points finger) to get involved. Stitching positive affirmations, no bigger than the palm of your hand, and putting them out there for people to find. Like these:


The ‘You Are So Very Beautiful’ guerilla art drop is happening in Baltimore and London on 7th February, so if you’d like to stitch something for it, or get involved in some other way, get in touch. For details (including posting addresses) of how to send sunshine and happiness to Baltimore and/or London, look at Craftivism.com. Please make sure your stitchings will arrive by February 4th. These three are en route to the Maryland as I type 🙂


I’ll leave you with Betsy’s words about why she started this:

“Because craftivism is as much about fighting the bad things of this world as it is about fighting the bad things we tell ourselves. We live in a world where the media constantly tries to tell us what is in, out, cool, passé. Every day we have to fight to remember that we are enough just as we are, we are beautiful just as we are. Some days, though, we forget. And those days can drag on into weeks and months. Leaving our souls sucked and dry, leave us husks of what we were as children, back when we knew we were amazing.

It’s time to remind both ourselves and others of just how wonderful we are just as we are. It’s time to let our acts of stitching go by leaving them in places for someone to find, someone who needs to hear those words just as you do, if not more. As craftivism is about healing ourselves as we make, and then healing the world with our products, let’s get to it.”


Rise and Root – a rune for the revolution

A few years ago a wonderful creative wild woman called Rima Staines posted on her blog a vision for subverting the blandness of the rat race we inhabit. She crafted this beautiful image for all of us to share, to draw and paste and print and stick and share as widely and as brilliantly as possible.


“I suppose I wanted to plant my revolution-seed in the dirt in the cracks of the pavements, in the dirt between the formica and polyester, in the dirt pushed to the edges of millions of touchscreens, in the dirt underneath escalator rails and hygienic hand-dryers. Like the gargoyles and marginal grotesques of the middle ages, I wanted to coax beauty in once more like a stranger to the citadels of public ugliness we all have become so used to. I wanted to surprise and unnerve and delight and disedge all the lovely human beings who have grown so unseeing in the unbeautiful subway of their daily rush through these places.”

I think we can all plant seeds like this. It’s what draws me to craftivism, and leaving my own art for people to find. It’s what keeps me looking up, when all around me hurry along with heads bowed against the wind and the dirt and the heaviness of surviving. Just seeing, just slowing down and looking around, is a radical act of dissent in this world of instant gratification and relentless productivity.

Rima also gives us a rune, which came, she says, through a dream, and via birch trees and sketchbook became this:riseandrootrune

Take this, Rima says, “as a symbol we’ll all recognise when it’s chalked on our doorsteps, and tattooed on our foreheads.”

You can (must) read her blog post here, and check in the comments for links to the full-size images, as well as wonderful discussion as to the etymology (for want of a better word) of this rune. These images are a gift for the revolution. Take them, she says; take them and run.

Your summer craft mission

Dear reader, would you like to help change the world (for the better, she adds, hastily)?

Image: Craftivist Collective

Image: Craftivist Collective

There are lots of ways to affect change, there are lots of things you can do, and here’s just one for starters:  This summer the Craftivist Collective is teaming up with War On Want to add their crafty shoulders to the “Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” campaign. I’m joining in too, and together we’re asking people to take up craftivism – stitching in support of the stitchers, as it were.  How?  By stitching mini protest banners, and hanging them where people will see them. Mini whuh? How? Well OK, I’ll let Sarah (founder of Craftivist Collective) explain how: Continue reading

Non-violent protest. Or: On feeling foolish, and doing it anyway.

You’ve probably heard the news, but if you haven’t, it goes a bit like this: British soldier gets horrifically murdered in Woolwich, by people claiming to be acting “for Islam”. White British fascists fall over themselves to demonstrate how this shows why all Muslims should be kicked out of Britain (or worse). Ordinary people react by telling fascists to ****  off.

Well that’s how it went here, anyway. The EDL (English Defence League, not to be confused with, but hopefully soon to be eclipsed by, English Disco Lovers) decided that for some reason known only to themselves, it would be appropriate to march en masse through the centre of a city approximately 180 miles from Woolwich to lay a wreath for the murdered soldier, who was in no way affiliated with the EDL, at the war memorial. And they honestly expected people would see this as a mark of respect, not as a political gauntlet-throwing. Bless. I’m beyond proud to say that people of my city thronged out and stood in their way, and said no, not here.

But anyway,
Continue reading

Don’t take the art out of Sheffield!

Oh look, someone's been bunting again.

“Last year the Arts Council turned down Museums Sheffield’s application to become a National Portfolio Organisation, despite complimenting our ‘clear, strong, application’. Yesterday, we learned that our application for £1.4m of Renaissance Major Grant funding, cash which has transformed the service we provide for the city since 2004, had also been turned down by the Arts Council.

This comes at a time when local authority cuts, passed down from central government, are impacting badly on arts organisations. Our own local authority funding Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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!)