A type of activism that focuses on using craft to express views and collectively empower and negotiate with others. To ‘craft’ something means to make by hand. For example many Craftivists use needlework to express themselves but this could be replaced with graffiti or even a zine, but the idea is making use of humble materials. Craftivism pieces can be found in public spaces and will often carry messages to do with the environment, politics, feminism, solidarity and anti-capitalism.
https://craftivist-collective.com/mini-banner, The Craftivist Collective
The Craftivist Collective, founded in 2009, craft items such as the lovely embroidered fabric pictured above and sell their own craftivism kits as it is about getting people involved as part of the solution. The idea is not necessarily to be aggressive but rather “to make people think, and to encourage them that positive change can happen, and that they can be a part of it!” (Craftivist Collective, 2017).
Graffiti is also used as a form of activism, but can also be seen as vandalism. In ancient times it was originally done by scratching onto a surface within public view, however modern ways include using markers or spray paint. Taki 183, based in Washington Heights, was one of the first people to start tagging (marking your personal signature) in public spaces (WideWalls 2017). This spread to Brooklyn and moved onto subway systems with whole train carriages covered, but this soon became banned and people moved onto the streets to do this. This also became part of the Hip Hop scene in the late 1970’s and has continued to evolve.
Graffiti and street art is developing in many parts of the world and Banksy is well known for his street art now. One of his paintings ‘Kissing Coppers’ on a Brighton pub wall was stripped off and sold to a buyer in Miami in 2011 for £345,000. I think the only vandalism committed here was whoever stripped Banksy’s painting off the wall.
http://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/index/Kissing_Policemen_mural_(Banksy), after Bankysy’s original was stripped it was replaced with this replica enclosed in perspex
Creating our own Feminist Craftivism pieces! Materials: felt, thread, PVA glue, authors: myself, Ekaterina, Tabetha, Abigail, Frankie