Julia Feliz made a very interesting point about the limitations Craftivism has a way to bring social change, the real one. She also pointed out another issue I´ve never think about, craftivism comes mostly from white women, for she, the opressors side.
I understand many of the points she shared. We need to rethink and reevaluate the impact of craftivism actions. I guess if for Julia, craftivism is only a self-strategy to feel proud of your humanity and creativity.
Honestly, I don´t think so.
After years of experience working in the field of development and social change, I think there is space for every kind of activism. The one who promotes and stands for human rights, by using different instruments: crafts, banners, protests, occupations, etc. Or the one who is involved in a long -term perspective and implements concrete actions, let´s say projects on capacity building, advocacy, education, and a long etc. Both ways are rigth and both ways bring change in a way. And this is what Craftivism tries to do so, as this research looks for. In this case, crafts are only a language, an instrument.
An open approach to craftivism that involves both ways of looking for a better world. We migth add the individual one, because our daily choices are also political acts (bying natural textiles, buying from local and avoinding companies abusing labour rights, using public transport, and much more…). But let´s focus on the issue.
Betsy explained very well, and has always prioritise this point of view in her webpage as you can see if you read all her work.
By brinding concrete change in people´s live or by raising awareness on others. Both are necessary and both are relevant. For me the pussyhat movement was a wonderful way of saying – here we are!.
An opportunity to show how many people are linked and shared same values. (My percection might be wrong). But, the same people who coordinated the pussyhat movement are now coordinating the Welcome Blanket a way to raise awareness about the abuse and injustice the wall between Mexico and the USA represent. And I see this action as an action supporting POC people.
Now, what I see as a point that we can really think and analyse is how POC people is involved in the craftivism movement. According to Julia they are not part of the movement only “fake beneficiaries”. Why they do not participate in? they do not feel invited? or it´s because their real needs are not reflected in the message. How can craftivism movement be more participatory?
I do not have many responses but I´m sure there is a way of bringing craftivism to POC people as Julia said. A way of promoting a way to promote ownership of craftivism as strategy to let them voices heard.
At Dialogue Café, we organised a wonderful session on Craftivism (you can listen) in the framework of the Global Exchange of Crafts Makers.
Any thought to be shared around?
From Spain, Laura Cadenas, IT Fashion makes a review of craftivism concept and some of the most relevant initiatives launched by Betsy Greer (Founder of Craftivism concept) and the Craftivist Collective.
Last but not least, launchs a reflection on how craftivism can promote a more sustainable fashion through mini-statements and much more.
“Tu hacer es tu voz. Úsala bien”, dicen los craftivistas. ¿Te atreves a usarla?
This article makes a review of relevant artists using textiles to speak out. From Albers to the Pussy Hat initiative, you will find several references to wonderful experiences and stories handmade by women.
The Greeks knew something that artists, along with a new generation of “craftivists” (people combining craft with activism), are rediscovering — that fiber (woven, knitted, braided, quilted, crocheted, embroidered) can be an expressive medium, one more powerful, perhaps, for its ubiquity. Textiles, after all, accompany us on nearly every step of life: We are born and swaddled, buried in shrouds; most of us are even conceived between sheets.
Sophia Narrett, a recent Rhode Island School of Design graduate whose solo exhibition of embroideries opens at Brooklyn’s BRIC Arts/Media center in May, wrote in an email, “When an object is developed by human hands for hundreds of hours, it leaves a quality in the surface that can be sensed.”