Craftivism: Party of One

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails where people have been frustrated about not having a group to ‘do craftivism’ with. As someone who sent emails just like that until a few years ago, I can tell you, being frustrated is seriously not going to get you very far.

However, action will. And if you really want to call yourself a ‘craftivist,’ it’s not about joining a group or creating a circle or whatever. It’s about YOU wanting something to change. It’s about YOU wanting to make the world a better place. It’s about YOU wanting to make yourself a better person.

You could knit a blanket for soldiers or your sick aunt or homeless dogs or homeless people or refugees or a local family whose house burnt down. You could make a tree cozy for that tree in front of that really ugly abandoned building. You could xstitch a headline or a quote or an image of something that grabbed you and resonated with you about change/changing the world. You could then post it in your bedroom or place it on a park bench or downtown.

Because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you foment change and/or healing. Like I stated above, to be an activist is to create change. To be a crafter is (in a fundamental way) to heal/soothe/bring joy/teach others. Whenever you combine those two, you are a craftivist.

It’s about bringing light and joy and beauty in your life, the lives of those you know, and/or the lives of those you don’t. There’s no one way to ‘do craftivism’ or be a craftivist. If someone tells you different, then they are actually practicing some other -ism, because it sure as hell isn’t the one that I’ve been writing and talking about all these years.

Sometimes craftivist pieces heal you in the making. It’s important not to overlook that, I think. Because changing you is its own kind of activism, because it’s about not accepting the status quo, it’s about taking the reins and taking charge of your own actions. Because as you change, you become an evangelist for change in others, not only by your words, but also by your actions.

If you’re improving things along the way and including craft in this change, you’re being a craftivist. You’re spreading the good word, in a non-confrontational way, and letting people decide if they want to get on the bandwagon or not. With your enthusiasm, you’re empowering them to make changes and maybe even eventually include their creativity in with those changes.

So, take heart, and don’t get discouraged if you are the only craftivist around. That doesn’t mean you can’t act, it means you have even more reason to act! You have more people to inspire with your actions and have more work to do than those of us in towns with craftivist groups or collectives. Activism brings change. Craft brings healing. Craftivism brings healing change.

So, go forth and be crafty, in whatever way you want to be. You don’t have to call yourself a craftivist even, but do know that with your creations, you’re helping foment change without even opening your mouth. And that, my friend, is a very powerful thing, indeed.

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10 Responses to Craftivism: Party of One

  1. Abi Nielsen September 17, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    This. Yes. Have the courage of your convictions, and just get out there and craft. Heard somewhere: The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.

    • Betsy Greer September 17, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Abi! “Just get out there and craft” is an excellent way to put it! Hard to do sometimes when you think you’re all alone, but if you find emotional/personal/psychological fulfillment in it, then, quite honestly it doesn’t matter if you’re alone or with others, as, you, your person, is growing just by acting!

  2. jafabrit September 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Absolutely and well stated and I really like Abi’s comment.

    • Betsy Greer September 20, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      Thanks for the kind words! And, I know, how great is Abi’s comment!

    • Betsy Greer September 20, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      Thank you, and you’re right, how great is Abi’s comment! and hopefully this comment won’t replicate itself when I hit “post.” Ah, technology and adoption of new blog plug-ins. Always fun!

  3. Sarah P Corbett September 20, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I agree completely & I actually find it much more beneficial for me personally to do craftivism on my own most of the time because I struggle to find time to reflect and have that inner monologue at other times of the busy day.

    It’s still always great to meet up, craft together, discuss the issues together, how our craftivism can be the most impactful possible and teach each other craft skills.

    A mix is good but I do feel people are missing out if they don’t craft alone once in a while.

    It is a hard thing for some people to hear but the way you have put it is brillliant Betsy. Thank you :) x

    • Betsy Greer September 28, 2012 at 7:33 am #

      Aw, thanks, Sarah! I think that “inner monologue” is so vital to the whole process, as is discussion! I think that they both compliment each other in the bestest of ways and always hope that others think that way, too! So glad that you agree! x

  4. Vicky September 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Being the only crafter amongst my friends, and miles away from any sort of group, it’s really nice to read this – like a craftivist pep talk. Sometimes it’s easy to slip into the mindset that you’re not really making a difference if you’re going it alone – but then I suppose you just need to remember the power of one. Great post, thanks!

    • Betsy Greer September 28, 2012 at 7:35 am #

      Thanks for your kind words, Vicky! I like the idea of “craftivist pep talk!” Hurrah! :) I think it can be harder doing it solo because there’s less dialogue with others (it’s ALL inner monologue!). But I also think it’s integral for us to remember that it’s no less important, especially if what your making directly goes to help others! x


  1. craft + activism = craftivism. » Blog Archive » Public vs. Private Acts of Craftivism: Which Do You Prefer? - September 28, 2012

    […] on from my post the other day about solo craftivist acts, 2 things have come to my attention lately that are 2 very different solo acts of craftivism. […]

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