#AtoZChallenge | Z is for Zeitgeist and crafty protest during tumultuous times.

These are challenging political times. This post is not aimed at spending time in that space. As I wrote about earlier during this challenge, I think podcasts and other formats are a better place to discuss complex topics especially when there are strong opinions on both sides.

What will the final verdict be on the current political zeitgeist? I don’t know, but creativity will definitely be a component, as it has been through many of the social and political upheavals our country has faced in the past.

In my research, I came across the word Craftivism which is a combination of craft and activism coined by Betsy Greer. What a perfect description!

There is also a manifesto which is shown below and was previously available on her site which is no longer active.

Craftivism Manifesto

It is fun to see the deep roots and history around crafts, such as embroidery used as a form of resistance or to help further social causes. Craftivism, while a new term, has been around for hundreds of years. You can learn more with this article, Embroidery as Record and Resistance.

I was able to witness craftivisim in action this past fall when I attended the opening of the Tiny Pricks Project exhibit at the SPEEDWELL projects space in Portland. Here is a description of the event from the original posting:

“Tiny Pricks Projects holds a creative, accessible and cathartic space during a tumultuous political climate. The series counterbalances the impermanence of Twitter, other social media, and Trump’s statements by utilizing vintage textiles as a memory-making timeline. Weymar references the key role embroidery played in the women’s suffrage movement and notes it is symbolic of warmth, comfort, craft, civility, care, and a shared history.”

From floor to ceiling, every part of the exhibition space was covered in meticulously done embroidered pieces. I can’t even image the hours that the crafters spent on these highly personal pieces as they put a creative spin on their resistance. Each antique textile piece used has it’s own story. So many of the artists used quotes and textiles that aligned in their messaging, making for incredibly impactful imagery.

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The majority of the quotes and words on display come from President Trump’s twitter feed and speeches. How unique to see our digital world reinvented as a permanent, colorful display of embroidered words. Sometimes social media and our digital spaces feel so isolating and to see even just a small piece of that translated into tangible objects was powerful.

It was fascinating to see the breath and scope of the work on display. A creative, personalized record of our times. Crafty as I am, embroidery is not one of my skills sets so for now I am just an observer. To learn more, you can visit the Tiny Pricks Project Twitter Account.

It is a fascinating project with a deep connection to the past.

Why does this bring me bliss? The focus on resistance and protest in a civil, thoughtful manner was refreshing. It reminds me that our history is filled with challenging times that we somehow find a way through. I like that it is a permanent, creative documentation for future generations on our piece of history. It was also incredibly beautiful from an artistic perspective. I’m a crafter at heart.

Have you ever participated in a craft oriented civil protest?

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I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.

31 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge | Z is for Zeitgeist and crafty protest during tumultuous times.

  1. mollyscanopy says:

    Congratulations on completing the A to Z Challenge! I love this post and have heard of the Tiny Pricks Project. I feel that all the home-sewn masks, while aimed at helping and serving front-line workers, were also a form of silent protest at the inability of government to provide what is needed in a crisis to and a way to step up and fill that gap. Here, here to seamstresses then and now for turning to craftivism to make their voices heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frédérique says:

    Very interesting post, I didn’t know about embroidery resistance and protest. Quilts were used during slavery times in USA to pass messages through the patterns’ names, like a rebus. Craft has always been a way to express ourselves, in a serene manner, or more protesting way.
    Thank you for your interesting posts, and congratulations on ending the challenge!
    Z is for Zakka

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mikaela D'Eigh says:

    What an amazing project! And glad someone thought to make a permanent record of tweets that may one day simply disappear into the ether.

    So glad I found you (or you found me!) during this blogging challenge. Looking forward to reading more from you in the future! Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Arti says:

    Dear Karen.
    Although I have enjoyed all your posts this month, this Z post has become my favourite of the lot. What a beautiful Manifesto to read and to say amen to: thank you.
    What’s not to love about the Prick’s Project–starting with the pun in title–everything I saw on the slideshow is so tongue in cheek and yet effective.
    Thank you for your wonderfully crafted posts–each resonating with things and thoughts you love and cherish.
    Congratulations on completing this challenge with flourish.
    Stay safe and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeanne Bryan Insalaco says:

    Loved your post and the word, Craftivism… never heard of it. I have crafted in some form probably all my life. I love embroidery and even today I enjoy having a small piece in my hands or even just sewing something by hand. My mother often embroidered on the dresses she sewed for me. Congratulations on finishing the A to Z… hope to see you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeanne Bryan Insalaco says:

    The link to the manifesto and the Tiny Pricks project aren’t working for me?? I loved the craftivism photo of words. I can see me using that word now! I enjoy embroidery and just recently bought some digital images to print on sticky paper in printer. I’ll iron them on the girls jackets to embroider on pockets.

    Liked by 1 person

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