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Who joins the Craftspace Collective

Have you been following our blog and wondered who are the young people behind all our wonderful projects and events?

You might live in or near Birmingham and have been interested in joining but worried that you might not fit in. Or you may be interested in what impact the collective has on the lives of the young people who actively volunteer their time and help to form and shape the work that we do.

We welcome anyone aged between 16 and 25 who is interested in contemporary craft and is friendly, open, accepting and willing to work in a team to learn and share new skills.

Our members come from all walks of life, some are still in school, studying for their GCSE’s and A levels. Others are undergraduates who are following an academic or engineering route but still want to retain an element of creativity in their lives, or are studying art and want to deepen their understanding of subjects such as craftivism. We have young people who left school without many qualifications and want to build up their experience and gain new qualifications through the Arts Award.

I have just posted an article and two short films over on our sister blog Made in the Middle which illustrates one such journey. This is Vicky’s story one of the collective’s key members.

I do hope you enjoy this inspiring tale.

“A Spoonfull of Craft Helps the Activism Go Down”

For the second in this series of posts on the who’s who in craftivism, I will be focusing on the Craftivist Collective.

The Craftivist Collective was founded in 2009 by Sarah Corbett, after having spent the previous year as “A Lonely Craftivist” and discovering so many people wanting to join her.

Their manifesto is “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.”

Although Sarah is based in London there are Collective members across the globe, including Canada, USA, Europe and Australia.

Sarah has initiated many thought-provoking projects for individuals to get involved in including “Mini Protest Banners”, one of her most popular initiatives where she encourages people to create beautifully cross-stitched banners no bigger than a few inches. These are mounted in public spaces, then details and photos are posted on the craftivist collective website. Check out the photos on her flickr page. http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftivist-collective/sets/72157622330141591/. “Cross-stitched Masks” are a variation on the protest banner theme where activists are encouraged to attach them to shop mannequins of unethical fashion retailers. A personal favourite is the “Don’t Blow It” campaign. Choose a nice vintage handkerchief, embroider an appropriate slogan to remind your MP of their constitutional duty and give it to them, ensuring they are aware that you made it and you live in their constituency. Simple, direct and original. Brilliant.

The Craftivist Collective’s latest project, #Imapiece is in support of Save The Children’s Race Against Hunger Campaign. The project is encouraging as many people as possible to embroider a slogan onto three jigsaw pieces. One to join a giant collective artwork, the second to be sent to your MP to raise awareness of the campaign in the run up to the UK hosting the 2013 G8 summit and the third to be kept as a reminder to remain part of the solution. Everything you need to get involved is available to download from their webiste.

There is so much more on their website http://craftivist-collective.com/project-archive/, videos, projects, ideas, gallery. It really is the one stop craftivist shop.

So far the Craftspace Collective blog has been very much concerned with what we get up to as a group. This is all very interesting, it informs readers about our actions and acts as an archive of our past events, but I am quickly realising the importance of  highlighting the work of other Craftivists to help our new and prospective members understand more about the movement and it’s roots.

This will be the first in a series of posts looking at different atrists, their work and their thoughts.

I am beginning with Betsy Greer, the craftivista. Widley know as the God Mother of Craftivism she is a writer, maker, activist and thinker.  Please follow this link to http://craftivism.com/blog.html/2012/09/craftivism-party-of-one/ where she outlines what it is to be a craftivist.

With in her article she says that to be a craftivist it really doesnt matter what you make or what technique you use. ” What does matter is that you foment change and/or healing.  To be an activist is to create change. To be a crafter is (in a fundamental way) to heal/soothe/bring joy/teach others. Whenever you combine those two, you are a craftivist.”

“There’s no one way to ‘do craftivism’ or be a craftivist. It’s about bringing light and joy and beauty in your life, the lives of those you know, and/or the lives of those you don’t.”

Craftivism is “about not accepting the status quo, it’s about taking the reins and taking charge of your own actions. If you’re improving things along the way and including craft in this change, you’re being a craftivist. You’re spreading the good word, in a non-confrontational way, and letting people decide if they want to get on the bandwagon or not. With your enthusiasm, you’re empowering them to make changes and maybe even eventually include their creativity in with those changes.”

Please do visit Betsy Greers blog and read the whole article, it is truly inspirational.