Mindful Craftivism with Sarah Corbett

“We need to engage powerholders by listening to people we disagree with, by building bridges not walls and by being critical friends not aggressive enemies.” — Sarah Corbett

I adore and admire Sarah Corbett of Craftivist Collective. I’ve known her for many years but since I didn’t consider myself a craftivist until lately, I felt like I was outside looking in. Her ideas and methods of gentle protest harness the power of introverts for good. Rather than scream at those in power, she suggests gifts like the bespoke handkerchiefs she has made and hand delivered, which have resulted in heartfelt conversations with influential powerholders by engaging them face-to-face with empathic understanding. Imagine if you’re an elected official who receives a hand embroidered handkerchief with a message on it — that kind of thoughtful gesture really stands out and sticks in your mind, along with the message. Her methodology has produced some amazing results.

Her form of intimate activism feels right to me because, while I’m not totally an introvert, I could never go out in a crowd to march or protest. It’s just not me. I much prefer what Sarah calls “a thoughtful approach to mindful activism.”

I encourage you to watch the video above to learn more, and visit Sarah’s website, Craftivist Collective, for much more.

Here’s another TED Talk of hers about Gentle Protest.

And another:  A Craftivist’s Story.

Politistitch

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I try not to get into politics because of the divisiveness it can bring, but the power of the Women’s March really made an impression on me. I get so many requests for clever phrases that sprang up on signs at the March and beyond–I hear you and know there’s a demand. So after giving it extensive thought, I feel like it’s time for me to step up and join the conversation. I know it’s the right thing to do.

I got the domain name of Politistitch.com, though I haven’t set anything up yet. My initial idea was to keep it separate from Subversive Cross Stitch, but now I’m not so sure. What’s more subversive than questioning the questionable actions of those in power because you’re passionate about your country? My love for the United States runs so deep and I’m sure yours does as well. But sometimes our elected representatives need to be reminded that they work for us and that they need to do the right thing and represent the will of the people.

As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Or, as Elizabeth Warren said, “The only sin is remaining quiet.”

The news these days can be so discouraging and leave you feeling trampled upon, unheard and discarded. When someone as intelligent and thoughtful as Elizabeth Warren, who I have respected and admired for so many years, stands up for the rest of us, I can no longer sit on the sidelines for fear of upsetting anyone who may not share my views.

The thing is, politics isn’t a separate cultural topic anymore. It’s our daily lives, our rights, our common love of country–it IS our culture. This is exactly what Subversive Cross Stitch is made for–expressing ourselves through the medium of cross stitch when the going gets tough. After seeing the news day after day it can be so discouraging, embarrassing, frustrating and demoralizing. Stitching a Subversive phrase is therapeutic, empowering, thoughtful…all the things I set out to do but now it’s on an even more urgent and personal note.

I don’t mean to tell anyone what to do or force my views on others. But if the state of things is making you anxious or angry, I encourage you to stop sitting on your hands and start stitching. Whether it’s a form of public activism or just something you do for your own private sanity, Subversive Cross Stitching isn’t about being a troublemaker for the sake of making trouble. It’s about dissent when dissent is what’s needed; being heard and standing up for what’s right and morally correct. It’s about making our world a better place and holding those who don’t accountable for their actions.

If you don’t agree with my views, you are still very welcome here and I still love you just as much. I’m not trying to alienate anyone, but my concern for what I believe is important has finally overridden my strong hesitation to speak up.

Subversive Cross Stitch is still about making people laugh with unexpectedly silly phrases and four-letter words in a traditional craft format, but we’re also here for you if you need to express your frustrations with this modern world. We’re just branching out a little bit.