Hot of the press and burning a hole in my desk is the brand new, craft book with a conscience – A Little Book of Craftivism by founder of The Craftivist Collective, Sarah Corbett and is published by Cicada. Craftivism is a term coined by Betsy Greer, referring to ‘the raising of social consciousness through the medium of craft’.
You may recognise the name from this blog – The Craftivist Collective is a group of people across the world reflecting on and challenging social injustices through the medium of craft. With their small, hand-stitched projects and public installations, these craftivists tackle issues of human rights, global poverty and social inequality in a provocative and thoughtful way, quietly encouraging people to engage with the issues on their own terms.
This last sentence, sums up exactly why I like The Craftivist Collective – I find it quite a juggle to fight injustice and tackle global poverty (no matter how much I’d like to!) whilst working full time and raising a family. I do, however, have time in the evenings when I like to sit and stitch or read. Perfect time during which to contemplate and ponder on the world I’m working in and raising my daughter to be part of.
I took part in one of the Collective’s projects last year, in partnership with Save The Children. The ‘#I’m A Piece’ project asked crafters to stitch a piece of a jigsaw puzzle which would form part of a public installation, highlighting the issue of child poverty in the third world. Influential bloggers Hilary Pullen from UK Craft Blog and Jamie Chalmers a.k.a Mr X Stitch were part of the campaign so I was chuffed to bits when Sarah contacted me via Twitter to ask if I would review her book. YES PLEASE!!
What strikes me is Sarah’s burning enthusiasm for her subject. This truly is a passion. Not in a shouty, annoying way but it’s slow, steady, controlled and – I suspect – highly likely to garner results. A great anecdote at the start of the book tells of Sarah’s MP writing to ask her to stop wasting both of their time by signing petitions and writing letters. Quite shocking. But, instead of backing off, Sarah embroidered a handkerchief with her message and personally met the MP to give the gift. Clever. In Sarah’s words ” Traditional forms of activism…annoyed the very people we were trying to influence…The Craftivists Collective projects are small, attractive and unthreatening…”
The book is a combination of tutorials, patterns, inspiring nuggets and thoughtful pieces of work which combine to create a really neat little book. My favourite tutorials are the Fabric Footprints and Mini Protest banners. I love the way Sarah’s thoughts on how to engage (and engage others) in craftivism pepper the book, fed in between patterns and tutorials. True to the central core of craftivism, the book is happy, positive and full of joy. I like the idea of crafting in a group, somewhere out in public, encouraging comment and interacting with the general public. Equally, Sarah advocates the importance of crafting along – giving yourself time to consider the issue you’re crafting about without distraction.
This is a great little book, jam packed full of thought provoking information. Even the way the book was funded (crowd sourced funding if you’re interested) is interesting! Highly recommended.
A Little Book of Craftivism is published by Cicada, available to purchase to pre-order on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Book-Craftivism-Sarah-Corbett/dp/1908714077 priced at £5.99.