We have a potential anarchist in Crieff!
I have recently been following the Craftivist Collective, moving one step on from signing online petitions, I thought I would become more active from my own armchair and this blog outlines how I first heard about it and what I did at the weekend!
Last year, at the BAMM forum (British Assoc for Modern Mosaic) I heard Carrie Reichardt give a presentation about how "craft", and mosaic, can give not only individuals but also groups, a collective power; can be a political force. Her presentation included a very moving account of her working with Romanian orphans where, because of the artists being there, the resulting media attention turned the school about from a grey soulless place to one with smiling faces and a much more positive future. Another project in one of the poorer areas of Mexico City brought the community together and assisted in them having a stronger voice to achieve their aims. Her presentation was filmed and is on YouTube, and is well worth watching - have your tissues at the ready! She then goes on to explain how she uses manipulated tiles in her mosaics to get across a social or political message, not always obvious at first sight, but when you look closer...
So I have got going on my craftivist activities. One of their current projects is to make a mini banner, in cross stitch, which highlights the inequalities in the textile industry. I hate that "we" as a society accept that it is ok to buy really cheap clothes, wear once and throw away... I come at it from an environmental perspective as I dislike this materialistic world that we live in, with our resources diminishing, but also from a social aspect with the exploitation of labour. As I would frequently explain to my daughter, there will be a reason that the clothes are so cheap, and it will be at the expense of those who have made them.
So I bought the banner kit from the Etsy Store and duly started stitching. And whilst stitching, thought about the issues as instructed, and told people about what I was doing. I took it to knitting group and I took it to a new craft group, where I finished it off, in the hope that some of the people would become engaged about the project and about the need for equality in the workplace etc.... did all the stuff that I had to. Then came the hard part, planting the banner in a public place.
I had to be in Glasgow on Saturday, and thought that Sauchiehall Street would be perfect. First of all to locate a structure to attach it too. There are no metal barriers or structures beyond metal seating. Fortunately, there was a clump of seats just outside Primark! Perfect. My heart was all aflutter, sweaty palms, looking around for policemen, as I waited for the best located bench to be vacated, and then I did it. I felt so naughty! I attached the banner to the back of the bench, so it could be seen and easily read, then took my photo of it, and walked further away, and watched. No one had noticed...
and then I walked away.