(Photo’s are from their main website)
“To expose the scandal of global poverty, and human rights injustices through the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions.” (http://craftivist-collective.com)
This is the manifesto of Craftivist Collective. Started in 2009 by Sarah Corbett, she dreamt about creating a group as “a reaction of feeling like a burnt-out activist” (http://craftivist-collective.com). Originally based in the United Kingdom when Corbett was in school, the collective has now become worldwide. As stated in their “about you” section on the website, the collective “encourages individuals and groups to deliver [their] projects wherever they are in the world” in addition to supplying kits, instructions and anything else one might need to start the collective in their area. In addition to physically creating crafts, the collective also sells the products to help provoke and encourage conversations about global injustice issues for those who aren’t as handy with a needle.
Their aim is to not only show how activism can be available to every person but also, that it can be full and empowering. Rosa Martyn, one of the collective’s craftivists stated that “a spoonful of craft helps the activism go down.” (http://craftivist-collective.com) The aim of the project is “to challenge people’s views and reach out to those who may have no have previously accessed activism and groups for social change.” While every social movement that is occurring in the world is not meant for every individual, the Collective believes that there is still something that every person is individually passionate for. Once that person finds their passion, it is just a matter of figuring out how to become active within the cause. For the Collective, they believe that for those not wishing to stand on the front lines, picketing and spending their nights in tents, such as the activists of the Occupy movement, the alternative might be through art.
Betsy Greer coined the term ‘Craftivism’ as: “A way at looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite” through the process of art.
Their current project is the “Craftivist Jigsaw project”, in motion with emerging contemporary craft movement Mr. X Stitch, Deadly Knitshade and Hilary of Craftblog. They are asking the craft community to help create a giant jigsaw to support Save the Children’s Race Against Hunger Campaign. Via the website imapiece.fuse.ly, the project hopes to build an installation to raise awareness to children hunger and injustice. The hope is that enough jigsaw pieces that state “I’m a piece” will bring awareness to viewer and bring about a positive change within their mind about how each visitor reacts upon walking away from the installation.
Other ongoing and past projects the Collective has been a part of can be found at their website: http://craftivist-collective.com/project-archive/.