Tag Archives | carrie reichardt

Extreme Craftivism with a Zulu Voodoo Taxi and Creating the Craftivism Manifesto

Carrie Reichardt is not only one of my favorite craftivists, she is also one of my favorite people. Her creativity and wish to free people who are suffering in solitary confinement (with some seriously dodgy cases) is mega inspiring. I just helped back her Kickstarter campaign to create a Zulu Voodoo Taxi for Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore not only because I believe in Carrie, but because I also believe in the way she uses craftivism to create dialogue.

Check out the video above to see more of her work with the Treatment Rooms Collective (and yes, that’s me with the glasses in the red shirt!). I hope it spurs you on to donate to a worthy and amazing project.


Speaking of craftivism, dozens of international craftivists and I are creating a craftivism manifesto!

Craftivism needs you

Here’s part of the email I sent to those involved today:

Let’s create a manifesto! I’ve had a look at loads of different manifestos and I think the Holstee manifesto is a good guide for what would be great to create.

Other good examples:

* The amazeballs Craftifesto made by Amy Carlton and Cinnamon Cooper
* Sugru’s Fixer Manifesto
* The Fixit Manifesto
* And for humor’s sake, there is also the Manifesto Manifesto

In an ideal world, we’d all come up with bits of this manifesto (either via text ideas or edit ideas or just a hearty “heck yeah!”), so that it represents many different personal interpretations of craftivism.

And then someone would make it look pretty and then we would all get a copy and then sell it to interested others to cover costs if there is outside interest. (If you can either make it look pretty or print it up, talk to me.)

Sound cool?!

If so, get in touch so I can send you the Word document as a starting point. Your job is to look at it, think about it, and add your thoughts and edits… sending it back to me by August 1st.

Then, I’ll look at all the different documents and make sure that at the least, one of your changes makes it to the main manifesto*, so that we all have ownership of it. The end result? Together we will have created a document that helps people understand what craftivism is at its heart, with maybe some ideas on how to join in, too.

*However, I am reserving the right to not include suggestions that are not related to craftivism. So keep it craftivism related, m’kay?

Controversial Double-Headed Elephant Heads to Christie’s!

I was sent the following by my friend Carrie Reichardt last night, and really think it’s worth spreading the word about. For more pics (at a larger size, too!) and to contact Carrie, see Carrie’s website.

I love how Carrie and Nick’s work embraces the issues directly, but ultimately allows them both to back off from the creation itself as it (literally) stands in public view for passersby to make their own conclusions. It’s in that self-reflective space where someone views a craftivist work and is allowed to digest and think about a work without interruption where the (positive) revolution and change and real work begins.


Controversial double-headed elephant goes to auction this week at Christie’s in Milan

A leading spokesperson for the ever growing craftivist movement and renegade potter Carrie Reichardt, otherwise known as The Baroness, will this week see her controversial mosaic elephant sold by Christie’s in Milan to raise money for the global elephant parade charity.

The elephant was made in collaboration with Nick Reynolds, harmonic player in the cult activist band Alabama 3 and son of Bruce Reynolds, the master mind behind the great train robbery. It is part of a growing trend, started by the Cow Parade in Zurich in 1998 of getting artists to decorate resin animal sculptures that are exhibited in public places before being auctioned for charity.

Reichardt and Reynolds unique double headed elephant was originally called ‘Bunga Bunga’ – in reference to the then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s alleged sex parties. The name was considered far to political for its organizers so Reichardt was forced to changed the name to Little Miss DMT, (the drug she credits with giving her the vision for the pieces highly intricate mosaic pattern .), It is one of 50 elephants that have been on displayed through out Milan for the last few months. Little Miss DMT has been taking pride of place in front of the Triennial Museum of Modern Art.

The devil they say is in the detail, and as with most of Reichardt work, it is in the detail where the controversy lies.

As Reichardt says; “The only reason, I and Nick take part in these large charity events is because they allow you to make public art that is totally uncensored. You find that when you work for free, rarely anyone actually checks what you are doing, so you end up with total creative freedom.”

This creative freedom, along with Reichardt and Reynolds sheer craftsmanship has allowed them to recently exhibit some extremely contentious work in the public realm. Banksy may boost of getting his ‘subversive’ work into the mainstream galleries , but it is doubtful that even he could pull of such an audacious sited piece as their ‘Trojan Horse’ at Cheltenham Races last week.

As Greg Wood of the Guardian pointed out:
“’Trojan Horse’, by Carrie Reichardt, had a skull for a face and, in Reinhardt’s words, “some pretty hard-hitting facts and pictures about the abuse that the horse has had to endure at the hands of man” presented as mosaics on its body. These included a much-used statistic from the extremist animal rights group Animal Aid on fatal injuries to racehorses, a fact which suggested to some observers that the course should have paid more attention to Classical literature. A Trojan horse, after all, is generally best left outside the walls.”

So it was through craft and altruism that they managed to get their fiercely anti racing and anti blood sport piece on display along with 9 other similar works at Cheltenham National Hunt Festival last week. This life size resin horse was re-sculptured by Reynolds, and then mosaic in ceramic tiles printed by Reichardt. This included gruesome imagery, including a fox being torn apart by hounds and horses hanging in abattoirs with figures explaining that up to 10,000 in the UK will end up as horsemeat. If attacking the racing and hunting fraternity wasn’t enough, both the front two panels of the horse depict mounted police baton charging students from the recent protests, explaining the cruelty involved to the horse in such a situation.

It was not surprising then that this ‘Trojan Horse’ failed to get a single bid, when Cheltenham art museum attempted to auction it from the races last week to raise money for the RLNI.

As Reynolds wryly said, “Its not easy trying to sell a piece of art to people who approve of a sport that abuses horses, when the piece itself is a testimony to all the cruelty the horse has endured by the hands of man.”

Both now hope that some wealthy animal rights supporter will purchase the piece and donate it to a public museum so that the piece can remain in the public domain.

Hopefully in Milan, Christies will have more luck selling their elephant. But following Berlusconi resignation, and scenes of students rioting on the streets, this might prove difficult as they will be attempting to sell an elephant that has ‘La Rivoluzione e’ora (the Revolution is Now) mosaic on to all four ears.

Reichardt remains upbeat though…

“Just my bloody luck, Capitalism collapses, just as my art hits the art market…..– anyway, as a Craftivist I am much more interested in using craft as a way of spreading ideas and social justice that worrying about how much a piece can sell for.”

With their life–size ceramic sculpture of Liverpudlian Mary Bamber, which depicts the radical history of the suffragette movement, recently being purchased by the newly open Museum of Liverpool, there is always hope that both their horse and their elephant will end up where it was created to be – in the public realm.

As Reichardt is keen to point out….for her the ‘Revolution is going to be ceramicised.”



Falling Leaves and Blank Screens

For the first time in I don’t know how long, for the past chunk of time, I can’t write. Not a depression-made can’t write kind of thing, or a writer’s block thing, but “let’s just focus on getting through the day” kind of way. I’ve been cross stitching and walking and listening to a freakish amount of Deep Forest and crying and taking deep breaths as I watch those close to me go deeper into helplessness and loss and fear as two loved ones simultaneously get weaker and sicker as time goes on. As health things often do, it brings a crystal clear clarity to everything, what we’re here for, what we’re meant to do, how to best spend our days, what to really, truly appreciate.

And those questions I’ve been turning around in my mind, much like the way leaves twist and fall off the trees in autumn, they’ve been swirling around me and floating and crunching under my feet to not let me forget that they are the real fabric of life. I’ve been pursuing various paths of research and asked questions and reached no headway in certain areas and wondering if I’ve hit an impasse and need to redirect my course and if it’s the universe’s way of making sure I really want it. I wonder where my career is supposed to go and my family life and if I’ll ever go on even a date with someone who simultaneously makes me feel and laugh again. And, just as the leaves do, these questions get stuck in my hair or hitch a ride on my purse or stubbornly get stuck to my shoe. They float and they caress and they follow their simple path of gravity. Their written path of gravity, following the law of gravity.

We all have our own leaves falling, hitting us, reminding us, nudging us, asking us various questions about our lives. Sometimes they’re crystal clear, other times they’re kinda fuzzy and unsure. As I look into the face of my brand sparklin’ new baby niece and hear the excitement in my brother’s voice when he talks about his new role as father on one phone call and then hear tears of sadness on the next, as one watches a loved one fade away, the leaves seem to fall faster and clearer. And all I can think of is that this clarity is no mistake and of some grand design, that these are the moments we should pay attention to and the questions we should pay attention to because they are the quilt we wrap up in when we’re unsure of what to say, what to do or which way to turn.

Each leaf represents a choice that either we grabbed or let float away, and when raked into a giant big pile at the end of the season… We’re met with the important moments and we jump into the whole crinklin’ earthy heap of our lives, our loves, our fears, our regrets, our laughter, our mistakes, our joys and most of all, the snippets of clarity that we were lucky enough to witness because we dared to participate in it with our eyes and hearts open. And therefore, we don’t sink to the bottom, we’re held amid this big pile of leaves, buoyed by all the good stuff that was made sharper by the not-so-good stuff and squeal in delight at just how big and varied it is and how just okay we are.

So I guess I’ve been unable to write because I’ve been too busy watching the leaves fall and not busy enough deciphering what they’re trying to tell me. Instead of running from them and dodging them, I should be welcoming the way they tickle my neck and crackle when I step on them. Because just as each stitch helps me move towards completion of a project, each leaf is just as significant in creating a full and unique tapestry that will keep me warm, buoyed and safe in the knowledge that I’m still moving forward.

Also… something amazing you should check out… this video from the brilliant Reel News of the construction of Carrie Reichardt’s amazing statue of suffragette Mary Bamber.

Mary Bamber: A Revolutionary Woman from Reel News on Vimeo.

Why To Pay Attention, via War Boutique and Carrie Reichardt

Last December when I was at Carrie Reichardt’s (amazing) house* in London, she showed me some of the pieces of work she had by her friend War Boutique. I was amazed at the way he incorporated his knowledge learned from creating “armour systems for the government,” into his art practice using, as he notes in the video below, Kevlar, ballistic nylon, chain mail, stab vests. There’s more about the origin of his work here.

While you should watch the whole video, as it’s brilliant, one thing he says spoke out to me the most, “In today’s society, there’s so much wrong with society, to me, that’s the role of the artist… to try and keep that highlighted and not let it drift away and become yesterday’s news.”

It’s our (whether you call yourself an artist, crafter or maker) role to make sure people pay attention. Our (collective!) role.

War Boutique Artist Profile from Alex Buckley on Vimeo.



And speaking of Carrie, she currently has a show up at Ink’d in Brighton until April 10, which you can read a review of over at Spindle. The show is called Mad in England, a show about which the Ink’d website notes (click text to read more):

UK renegade potter and leading anarchist Carrie Reichardt will be bringing an eccentric twist to all things British at Ink_d Gallery. As we built up towards the media mania of The Royal Wedding Reichardt has decided she just can’t take it anymore – and this show represents the Great British Empire as ‘Cruel Britannia’ through her unique anarchic vision.”

If you can’t get to the show, you can still own a bit of “Mad in England!”I recently received my specially made mug for the Kate n Wills Royal wedding next month in the mail that Carrie created for the occasion. While it does contain a 4-letter word not suitable for the kitchens of some, it looks quite proper sitting on my kitchen shelf.



*Seriously her house is amazing. They did a 4-page spread on it in The Guardian last year. See the original Guardian article here, and complete with photos over here. (And yes, there is a little blurb about Garth Johnson, Craftivist Collective and I down at the bottom of the article. Way to go, eagle eye!



Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes