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People I love that are near and dear to me, people who you might want to learn more about.

Craftivism, Activism, and Love.

Every Sunday I look forward to getting the Brain Pickings’ newsletter delivered to my inbox. I feel like every week there is something that resonates deep within me, and says things in ways that I could never quite pinpoint or elucidate on. This week’s was no different.

One of the posts mentioned was called The Science of Love: How Positivity Resonance Shapes the Way We Connect. To learn more about “positivity resonance,” please go check out the full post .

Perhaps counterintuitively, love is far more ubiquitous than you ever thought possible for the simple fact that love is connection. It’s that poignant stretching of your heart that you feel when you gaze into a newborn’s eyes for the first time or share a farewell hug with a dear friend. It’s even the fondness and sense of shared purpose you might unexpectedly feel with a group of strangers who’ve come together to marvel at a hatching of sea turtles or cheer at a football game. The new take on love that I want to share with you is this: Love blossoms virtually anytime two or more people — even strangers — connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong.

At the level of positivity resonance, micro-moments of love are virtually identical regardless of whether they bloom between you and a stranger or you and a soul mate; between you and an infant or you and your lifelong best friend. The clearest difference between the love you feel with intimates and the love you feel with anyone with whom you share a connection is its sheer frequency. Spending more total moments together increases your chances to feast on micro-moments of positivity resonance. These micro-moments change you.

Don’t let the quotes I pulled from this post mislead you (entirely), as it definitely is a champion of “the necessary physicality of love.” And, I am, too. However, at the end of the day, I like to think of craftivism as part and parcel love letter to the world, as sometimes in your love letters you express anger or regret or shame or any number of negative emotions before you begin to roll over on your back and expose your soft belly underside, the squooshy, mooshy, lovey dovey parts that mend all things back together and show that, no matter what your discontent, love still remains above all.

Whether you’re making quilt squares to donate to charity or creating protest banners and leaving them in public places or making xstitch pieces to voice your anger or knitting mittens for the homeless in your spare time or realizing that crochet is saving your life… it’s all a love letter to craft, activism, and craftivism.

And, in that, there is infinite beauty and depth and heart and soul and love.

When I started all of this I did so as a reaction to the negative connotations of the word “activism.” I never knew that I was really wanting to connect “love” to activism more so than craft! Because each time we do something that helps others with our craft we are creating our own “micro-moments” of love in our own hearts that maybe we’ll either give to ourselves if we need it or to others. We’re cultivating and harnessing love and care as we open dialogues and our own hearts with what we make with our hands.

As craftivists we are lucky enough to have a process in which to heal us, and a product with which to help others. We are lucky to have the time to let what we’re making sink in and resonate deep within us as we make it, and then lucky enough to have the chance and the freedom with which to share it. The process warms our own hearts as much as the products warm the hearts (and bodies and souls) of others. And, in that, I find infinite love and am happy that there are others that feel the same way.

Thank you, in helping to send your love letters out into the world in whichever way you see best. Thank you for creating more “micro-moments” from which to draw love, feel love, and be love. By willing to express your inner thoughts and then share them with the world through craft, you are creating the conditions of love and acting as a reminder that activism can be a 4-letter word, just one filled with joy instead of hate.

Help Fund the Little Book of Craftivism!

So, the wonderful Craftivist Collective needs your help in writing their book! I’ve given money to this project and fully support and believe in it, and hope you will, too.

To learn more, check out the video below and their words about the book:

What We Need & What You Get

We need £6,000 to produce a small book of craftivism. It sounds like a lot but we want a high quality beautiful thing people will keep and share. It will

explain the and benefit of craftivism for maker, viewer and reciever
have a gallery of things we’ve done for people to do or be inspired to do their own stuff
and a selection of how-to projects
We’ve got all the contents of the book pretty much sorted, and, in the spirit of Craftivism, are dreaming of putting something out in the world that is beautiful, cherished, shared, and inspires people to do something similar. If you have any suggestions of content and style, send us an email.

Cicada Books, the publishing company, are supporting us, by putting up half of the money. That gives us the chance to grow this little book from the roots up. We want your support, and we would be proud to have your name in a list of Craftivists and supporters at the back of the book. Craftivism is a movement, for anyone to be part of.

Cicada specialise in high-end art, craft, and design books. They create quirky, alternative books that reflect the unique voices of the artists. They’re a perfect fit for our small but ambitious project.

Cicada focuses on collaborations with new and emerging design talents from all over the world. the books have a quirky, alternative edge that reflects the individual voices of the artists and writers involved. Cicada captures the essence of movements and scenes in the artworld that are happening right now.

Cicada Books will then put the book together (we’ve already been dreaming about paper stock!), and distribute into bookshops worldwide with the help of Thames & Hudson Publishers.

The Impact

Currently there are no little accessible introductory books to craftivism.

We want to create something that you can leave next to the toilet, give as a cheap gift to a friend, or pick up at the till of an art bookshop. We want people to be able to make their own project, and think about global issues of justice in while putting something beautiful out there in the world.

In the words of the collective ‘A spoonful of craft helps the activism go down’.

We’d like you to help us administer this rather delightful medicine! :)

To see the full campaign and/or fund the book, go here: www.indiegogo.com/littlebookofcraftivism

Rayna Fahey’s The Making and Baking of Banners and Biscuits

This is a video from Rayna Fahey that for some strange reason I never posted. However, on the internet, it’s never too late!

From Rayna’s original post on this:

The Making and Baking.. was born out of a desire to contribute to the conversation about the value of handmade. All too often purveyors of handmade goods find themselves having to justify their prices in the face of mass production of co

This Is Handmade is a video project by the very talented Penney Nickels.

What’s the project?

From This is Handmade:

IF YOU CAN’T SIT THROUGH 5 MINUTES OF MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING ASS HANDWORK, THEN YOU DON’T GET TO WHINE ABOUT HOW MUCH IT COSTS. IT’S JUST AS TEDIOUS FOR US AS IT IS FOR THE VIEWER. IT REALLY IS. AND WE DON’T GET HEALTH INSURANCE.

Therapeutic Craft, Creativity and Healing

So, astute observers may have noticed a change in the description of “what I do/talk about, etc.” either over on my About page or on my Twitter profile. It’s a little tweak, a change, reflecting a more recent diagnosis for me. I’m not going to lie, those 4-effin-words-put-together-in-a-row are some scary shit. They’ve been going around my head for 3 weeks now, like a horse riding a ring, wondering what this means, if things will change, if people will think I’m totally effin’ insane.

And with that change, comes the deletion to talking about “war” and the addition of talking about IT instead, because while personally (thankfully) I have never been in a war, I have known those affected by war my entire life. My issues stem from a different root, but show up and present themselves in much the same ways. Truth be told, those definitions in the last link are being changed in the next version of the DSM, changes you can read about here. What happened to me is not something I feel like I need to share, but I do want to clearly and seriously state that what happened happened almost 30 years ago and no one from my family hurt me (again, thankfully). Not thankfully, there was something else that happened by someone else that made it all worse about 20 years ago. (YES!) And I’m writing this because I think it’s important to note how important craft and creativity was for me in my life.

Over the past 6 months, while this has all been a work in progress, I’ve learned a lot about its various causes; the criticisms of it; the arguments about who has it and who doesn’t; the stereotypes… some good, some bad. Ultimately, what it runs down to is: child + incident + brain/emotional development = weird problems (hypervigilance, freezing, panic attacks, avoidance) that no one knew what the heck to do about. Because this happened SO LONG AGO and no one knew what it was, I’ve dealt with all of the symptoms above because I had no choice. And today, I’m the same person I was 3 weeks ago, and for the past 10 years.

What made the difference in reducing many of my symptoms was craft. While I thought it just alleviated my depression and anxiety, it relieved something much more than that. It helped me re-syncopate and live, really. It helped me find a rhythm in the stitches that brought solace and understanding of myself that no one could ever bring. And it’s not just knitting, not just craft, but creativity. Giving myself permission to create was what opened up the doors to let bad things rush in and wreak havoc and do their worse. In short, the stitches, the freedom to create them, the freedom to mess them up, the freedom to see how time passed as my scarf/hat/sweater grew longer, gave me a safe space. They provided a safety that I never would have guessed if I had never picked up the needles. They provided the kindest type of safety I have ever known.

I’m not saying that this is the case for everyone, because it’s not. However, I’m writing this because I wonder what would happen if we took creativity’s power more seriously. If we let those whom are sick and unsure and scared and alone create more, give them the permission to make a mess, try something new, be imperfect. If we let them dive into the imperfection that illness can bring through creativity; allowing them to unleash in a number of mediums until one makes more sense than the others. I say this, not as a therapist, or a doctor, but as someone who never takes it for granted when I find myself walking down the street without constantly looking over my shoulder for a possible threat, as someone who can be brought to tears of joy that they can feel the wind down to their bones, and as someone who is ever grateful to have found craft as an outlet in which to help keep me here, alive, well, and most of all, happy.

Who could we make happy, too, if we took the powers of creativity more seriously?

Here are a few links related to therapeutic knitting, as it was knitting that I first found as an outlet:

Lovely cartoon (!!!) called “Therapy Knitting.”

Stitchlinks: a whole dang website about therapeutic craft.

Knitting as Healing Therapy

More on therapeutic knitting by Betsan Corkhill, the founder of Stitchlinks

JP Flintoff’s How to Change the World!

First off, thanks to Sarah of the Craftivist Collective, whose Facebook post tipped me off to this this morning. When I was in London a year or so ago, I had the change to meet JP Flintoff in person, who Sarah told me was “lovely.” And, after we had coffee (thanks for the cuppa, JP!), I fully concurred.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Sew Your Own for free, so this morning I bought a copy of his new book, How to Change the World, published by the wonderful The School of Life in London.

Here’s a lovely clip of JP talking about how you can change the world, which has made me excited to read the book!

The video clip is from here.

Now go start changin’ the world or something, y’hear?


You can order How to Change the World, as well as his other books, here.

To read more from JP, check out his blogs, JP Flintoff and Making Things. You can also find him over at @jpflintoff.

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