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There is also a manifesto which is shown below and was previously available on her site which is no longer active.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