Sometimes I’m flummoxed by the state of the world. I’m not going to launch into a big tirade or tell you how to feel or what to believe. I’m not one to “talk politics”, but sometimes I feel truly worried for our country. When I don’t know what to do, I find stitching to be therapeutic–especially if it can also be a form of craftivism. Inspired by the actions of Sarah Corbett and the Craftivist Collective, I created this piece for you to stitch and send to anyone representing you in our current government who you feel isn’t listening. Feel free to add your own message below the design, frame it in ribbons, make it stand out–maybe, just maybe, it’ll get through. And maybe it will help you feel a bit more hopeful.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE LARGER VERSION FOR SAVING. Instructions on our HOW-TO page.
“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.
One of my favorite people, the awesome Shannon Downey of BadAss Cross Stitch, has created an amazing opportunity for you to participate in some craftivism to help End Gun Violence. And she’s done it in that super-savvy, clever way that she is just so good at — connecting craft and cause.
As Shannon explains on her site:
“I was simply stitching elaborate guns as a way to process my own feelings around the prevalence of gun violence both in our country and especially in the city I love, Chicago.
I’ve decided to continue on with this series and eventually sell them to raise money for an amazing program called Project FIRE.
Project FIRE (Fearless Initiative for Recovery and Empowerment) is an artist development employment program that offers healing through glass blowing to youth injured by gun violence in Chicago. Project FIRE combines glass arts education, mentoring and trauma psycho-education in order to support trauma recovery and create employment opportunities for young people who have been shot or witnessed the homicide of a loved one.”
Since Shannon expanded this idea and put out a call for submissions, the project has really taken off:
The craftivism pieces are rolling in from ALL over the world and it’s SO exciting. Because it’s catching on, I’m going to extend the deadline to October 30th!
Project FIRE is going to be wrapping up their session around then and we are going to host a collaborative gallery show of all of your amazing fiber art AND the beautiful glass art that the young people involved in the program are creating. It’s going to be amazing.
Interested? Go to BadAss Cross Stitch and download the cross stitch pattern. Not a stitcher? You can also participate in any fiber art medium. It’s going to be a really big shoooow and raise a lot of money for a great cause!
Working on my piece for the show has really helped me process some of the frustration and horror of all the shootings this summer, including in my home town of Dallas. So get to stitchin’ and create something that only you can–no two interpretations are ever alike. Plus, did I mention it’s really great therapy? Bonus.