Their slogan is "A spoon full of craft helps the activism go down." The Craftivist Collective is an international group, 900 strong, that wants to change the world with a needle and thread -- and lots of chutzpa.
Their serious intent is: “To expose the scandal of global poverty, and human rights injustices though the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions.”
They are linking the world of craft, which is traditionally female, with political activism. It is a way of getting people involved who may not have had much interest in politics but feel strongly about a particular issue. The collective supports these people by holding monthly stitching sessions, supplying kits, instruction videos, and photos of their cheeky ideas.
It's also a way of turning a hobby into a cause. As the founder says: "I do get a bit frustrated sitting there knitting a pair of socks. Whatever I do I want to make some sort of difference.”
For example, the handkerchief (above). The idea is to embroider "Don't Blow It" on an old recycled handkerchief and deliver it to a Member of Parliament as a way of lobbying. You can even write about your issue on the hankie: it's definitely memorable.
As one member says: “We attract people who have never been involved in politics before because we are welcoming. Activists don’t have to wear black or be limited to certain spaces. Arts and crafts has a place in the political spectrum.” It's a way to protest that is non-violent and non-threatening but effective.
Another of their current projects consists of a mini-protest banner. The concept is to make a small banner on a global justice or poverty issue and put it up with ties in a public place. Included is information about the group's website and you are on your way. How simple, how empowering and how gentle.
There are members across the world, from Glasgow to Australia, so the next time you are knitting, think of the Craftivists and make a political statement at the same time.