Craftivism

Craftivism is a term coined by Betsy Greer who says “craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite”. It is a form of activism through the creation of old traditional ‘domestic arts’ such as knitting, crochet and various needlework. These skills were not considered profitable, therefore undervalued and marginalized.

However, in modern day these skills have become a process to protest anf fight for feminism, anti-capitalism and environmentalism. “It is the social process of collective empowerment, action, expression, negotiation”.

craftivism

It has affected these 3 main domains in the following ways:

2nd/3rd wave feminism:

  • Women used to meet and have group knitting sessions where they would discuss their struggles of being a woman – a beginning for craftivism
  • Some feminists choose to embrace the craft, and legitimise the importance of it
  • 21st century women have the privilege to express with ‘fewer constraints exercised by Patriarchy’

Anti-Capitalism:

  • When mass production became empowering it lowered the vale of craft
  • Less emphasis on time and skill, more focus on how available and cheap one can make a product
  • DIY movement, become self-sufficient and rely less on the market for basic necessities. Also to resist the growing capitalist nature of the fashion industry
  • Cat Mazza campaign against Nike sweatshop – unfair wages and working conditions to labor workers

cat mazza nike blanket

Environmentalism:

  • Using organic yarn or wool
  • Recycling previously used material to create their craft

I am highly interested in craftivism within my work, as I feel the history of the movement compliments what I am communicating in my project. It addresses identity whilst being held under authority. The movement is what helped to overcome or fight against something that you stood for, to make your voice heard and make a stand. I think craftivism retraces identity of the skill that was so easily undervalued and disrespected. I agree with what is being fought for through craftivism, for these are all issues caused by authority. Needlework is also something close to heart and personal for myself, and my mother and I used to spend time creating such works together when I was younger as she continues to do so to the day.

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