The Power of Craft
Last month I went to D.C. and joined millions of other women around the world in peaceful protest to advocate for human rights. As we approached the train station and saw a multitude of pink hats, I was overwhelmed by the power of craft. Each hat was made by someone who cared about others, who chose to show their support by knitting thousands of stitches, perhaps mindlessly as a toddler played at their feet, or quietly in bed after a long day at work, or angrily as they watched the news. The culture of making embodies the independent American spirit, as the freedom to express beliefs is central to our democracy. If you don’t think that opinions have a place in the craft world, simply look at the history of crafts in our country.
Quilts were often used to convey social and political messages in a seemingly non-threatening way, allowing ideas to reach a broad audience. Women made quilts with patriotic themes during the American Revolution, Quakers incorporated images of slaves into quilts to spread their abolitionist message, hidden quilt codes may have been used in the Underground Railroad, and suffragists sewed flags and banners to advocate for the right to vote. More recently, the AIDS Memorial Quilt brought thousands of quilters together in grief to draw much-needed attention to the growing epidemic. Now, in the age of instant communication and digital sharing, craftivism is more relevant than ever. The common thread of craft allows us to raise our voices in unison, illustrating that we have more hopes that unite us than fears that divide us. I encourage you to make things with meaning, pass along your message, listen to others, and be open to new ideas.
I hope to see you in Savannah next week! I’ll be giving a no-nonsense talk about creativity on Thursday, February 23 at 10:30 am. Read more here: Beyond Patterns: Explore Your Creativity with Fabric.
February Tutorial: Cardboard Stencils
Find quick instructions to make simple stencils from cardboard here.
–Empathy Is Tough to Teach, But Is One Of the Most Important Life Lessons from NPRMindShift.
–“You Belong Here” Project: Interview with Virginia Johnson on the Craftivism blog with Betsy Greer.
–How a Fractious Women’s Movement Came to Lead the Left by Amanda Hess for the New York Times Magazine.
-Call for Entries: Threads of Resistance juried quilt show from The Artist Circle.
–Expressing Political Views as a Craft Business Owner by Lisa Chamoff for the Craft Industry Alliance.
New Fabric Coming Soon My newest collection for Kokka will be at Spring Quilt Market!
Thanks for reading! –Ellen