Archive | graffiti + public art.

Who What Where: Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico

Who: Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico

What: The Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico announced that on Saturday, December 1, 2012, the last day of Felipe Calderón’s term, it will mount exhibits of hundreds of handkerchiefs embroidered with the names of those killed, missing and threatened throughout the administration. These exhibits will be mounted not only in various Mexican cities but abroad. In a statement, the activists said that these pieces of cloth embroidered by bereaved families are “the true memorial to victims of the war against organized crime” and are the symbol with which they want to bid farewell to the Calderón presidency.

Where: Worldwide

Text and photos below from around the blogosphere, click for original article:



The project aims, in their own words, “to embroider hope and memory.” When they get a considerable number of embroidered handkerchiefs, they will be display them in public squares all over the country.

On a warm day during May, a group of women knitting, sitting, talking, draw the attention of onlookers who come closer: three young men from Barcelona, Aram, Gabriel and William.

– What are you doing? – they ask the women.

– We are embroidering for peace-, the women answer in chorus.

– So is it true that you are at war? … –

– Not only at war, they have taken our children … –

They are mothers, sisters and relatives of missing people, who come together in the collective LUPA (Fight for Love, Truth and Justice, Nuevo León), and they meet every Thursday at 10 am, at the kiosk Lucila Sabella, at the Macroplaza in Monterrey.


Teresa Vera is stitching on a side street of the Plaza. Alfredo, a member of the Fuentes Rojas (Red Fountains) movement, embroiders cloth. The threads tell of the unidentified body that was found near the University of Cuernavaca March 5, 2012. “In less than a year there have been more than 60 dead in this city alone. The disappeared are even more,” Alfredo says.

He encourages people to stitch a handkerchief, in a sort of collective embroidery to give names to the number of dead. Teresa’s handkerchief is number 826 of the 63,000 planned to be embroidered all over the country. Their quantity echoes the number of fatal victims in this war for the last six years.

Craftivism in the News This Week… Suh-weet!

Text from here. Photo from here.

On Monday I got an email, followed by a phone call with Bill Harris who works for the city.

He was very nice, and said the city’s hands were tied and they tried to find a way to keep them — but they have to go.

Councilmember Lorie Zapf is collecting emails of support at to show community backing and find a way to keep them in Clairemont. Send her your story, and let her know how much you like them!

Bill Harris gave me this statement to post:

The City is forced to announce that the Stop Sign Flowers must come down. Even with the great community spirit this effort has generated, there are just too many restrictions to overcome. City staff looked through state law and local policies trying to find some way of allowing the flowers to remain in place. Unfortunately, particularly with traffic control signs and including all other City assets, there is just no way to retain the works where they now are.

We hope that the flower-makers will work with other site owners – private businesses, other agencies, business improvement districts and community groups – to find new homes for the flowers. This is a fun program that should easily capture the imagination of our communities in other, less restricted, locations.

City crews will not remove any of the installations for the next ten days unless they become a hazard. It is hoped that those who originally installed the flowers will take that time to remove and preserve the work. Following the ten day period, City crews will be instructed to remove and dispose of anything affixed to City assets as it is seen or reported. The yarn and leaf structures cannot be saved when removed by City staff.

I will be available to answer specific questions about the City’s direction via email from

For a map of San Diego street flowers go here.

See how you can make more here.

One of the sweetest things about this project is that the self-proclaimed “knitting guy” started to learn to knit “to teach my daughter. She received a “learn to knit” craft kit as a present, but the instructions were sparse and hard to understand. So, I decided to learn how in order to show her. I had thought about learning for a few years, so this was just the push I needed. That was about four years ago, and we have both been knitting off and on since.”

Also, there have been several awesome articles online about craftivism lately:

*Stir to Action piece from the Wellington Craftivism Collective
*Crafting the Future We Want over at Tck Tck Tck
*A lovely interview with the lovely Craftivist Collective over at HUCK magazine

And if that isn’t enough, and you’re STILL feeling crafty, go check out the the Blood Bag Project. Click the pic to see the gallery of submitted blood bags. You can also follow the project’s progress here

Now go and make somethin’ now, won’t ya?


KnitRiot Knits ’em, Leaves ’em and Warms up the Needy

Below is a lovely little video about a Los Angeles group called KnitRiot who makes crafty items and leaves them for the needy to find and take. How wonderful is it to make something full of intent and care and love and then leave it for someone who needs it to take by placing it near a homeless shelter?! As you’ll also see in the video, they also placed a tree sweater on one lucky tree, placing various items to craft with for passersby to take… And most beautifully, when they returned to the tree, they found thank you letters for leaving craft supplies.

What a wonderful world, indeed.

[Apologies for the giant video, but there wasn’t a resizing option…]

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

For more photos and information about KnitRiot, check their website:

Also, check out the LA Times article about them over here.

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.”

The Wisdom of Gilgamesh

Reflecting on the death of his friend, Gilgamesh decides to search for the key to eternal life, an ultimately futile quest. “Gilgamesh, what you seek you will never find. For when the Gods created Man they let death be his lot, eternal life they withheld. Let your every day be full of joy, love the child that holds your hand, let your wife delight in your embrace, for these alone are the concerns of humanity.”

It’s funny how sometimes there are no words, sometimes there are too many, and other times the only words that seem to fit are someone else’s. Lately these words from The Epic of Gilgamesh have been ringing through my head, as late last week my grandfather and uncle (father and son) both died of separate illnesses within 10 hours of each other. So, maybe today, after reading the above, you’ll go hold a hand, or hug someone or just smile at someone who looks like they could use it.

And also of note, two lovely books out of late that you might want to check out:

Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery

and Craft Activism.

Full Disclosure: I was asked to write the foreword for the first book and a blurb for the second, so am foregoing reviews, because, yes, I AM BIASED… because I LOVE BOTH BOOKS AND THEIR AUTHORS!! You should no doubt go check ’em out and see how crafting can be more about just, er, crafting.

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