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.