What is Craftivism? I define it as hand-made social change.
Badass HERstory - Officially Launched June 2, 2018
new craftivism project
Over Thanksgiving, my future in-laws gave me these incredible antique embroidery pieces. I haven’t stopped staring at them or thinking about them.
I’m certain of a few things.
I now live with a ghost named Molly
Molly M never in a million years expected a cross stitch that she made when she was 10 to last for 120 years and be sold in an antique shop
Molly M REALLY never imagined it would be given as a gift by the future in-laws to the woman who was going to marry their daughter
Aside, from those certainties, I find myself thinking about Molly M. and Anna E. Jones - the people - nonstop right now. What were their lives like? What happened to them? Were they happy? Where were they when they stitched those pieces? Did Anna live in that house (does she live in mine now?!)? Did she sheer those sheep and make her own thread? Were they friends? Relatives? Schoolmates? Did they even know each other?
And all of this thinking about Molly M and Anna E. Jones got me thinking about the importance of legacy and how those legacies are shared and immortalized. What gets included in our history? What gets erased? How do we want our lives to be remembered? What artifacts do we leave behind and what do they tell future humans about us, our lives, our priorities? Do we leave behind truth? Who controls narrative?
You and I know that our history books are full of half-truths, outright lies, omissions, and erasures. A history told through a white man’s lens. You and I also know that every life and every story matters. That the more voices we hear only serve to enrich our understanding, our perspectives, and our choices.
YOUR STORY MATTERS.
All of these things seem to have building up to this idea...
A new craftivism project for all of you inspired by Molly M. and Anna E. Jones
The Gist: I want every woman, female-identified, and gender non-binary human on the planet to stitch me their story!
The Vision: I am picturing a giant 3-D installation (like airplane hangar size) with structures and magic! Like a village built from your stories. I could do this. I have the network, the experience, and the skills. It will require A LOT of you participating. Can we get hundreds of thousands of people to participate? A million? I believe in us!!!
I see a digital catalog/gallery that documents every story and brings the art to everyone on the planet. I see an army of women helping to design, build, and sew this thing into an art experience like none before it. (I am a Chicagoan...I make no little plans)
- A fucking huuuuuuuge global craftivism project that at least one million female-identified and gender non-binary humans participate in creating.
- An art installation like the world has never seen. Created by women and for the world, that honors the voices and stories of women everywhere. Too grand in scope to be ignored, dismissed, or overlooked.
- An engaging and interactive digital museum/catalog that showcases each and every story.
- One million new stitchers who put down their devices, learn to embroider, and use their hands and hearts to slow down and create a beautiful analog version of their story.
Where there is voice, there is power.
Are You Into This????? Go to www.BadassHERstory.com now and get started!!!
#reBUTTal - an impromptu craftivist response
GET YOUR FASHION STITCH ON
What do you do when a company that makes "flash fashion" slaps your art on the ass of skinny jeans and sells them without your permission? How angry would you be if this art was the piece of art that you are MOST protective of because of the place it has held for women around the world as the illustration to their #MeToo stories? Imagine if that company used your name in the product description and said you "inspired it" whilst encourage women to "pair it with a bodysuit and boots for the ultimate babe vibes". Well, that totally happened...
A quick recap of how I handled it.
- Privately messaged the company on various social networking platforms and waited 24 hours for a response (no response)
- Posted publicly about the issue on social media - received a response from them almost immediately, requesting a call
- They removed the product from the website and all traces from social media
- Scheduled a call and spoke with a guy named Mike. It was a deeply disappointing call. It started with a sort-of apology, an offer of a licensing agreement, an offer of "more credit", and finally an offer of $250.
- I declined their offers
- They asked me to remove my blog article and social media posts about the situation
- I declined
- My legal council sent them a letter (April 13th)
- I sent them the same letter in email form (April 13)
- They have not responded (as of April 30)
- I emailed them again to confirm they were going to ignore me (May 9th)
- I got an email from the legal department telling me they would respond in due course (May 10th)
While this was happening I felt "inspired" to create some response pieces to the situation...
Because humans are amazing and inspiring and generally down to defend and support; folks started to indicate a desire to make their own upcycled fashion jeans. So, I created a tutorial and posted it on my blog so everyone could participate!
Two very clever humans from Instagram coined it #reBUTTal (thank you @evesimmance and @nikkitrudell12...still loling every time I say it).
Girl, oh girl did folks deliver! Just go to instagram and search the hashtag and you will see just how many...and they seem to just be getting started!
Feminists have some things to say. They have some opinions on the commodification of feminism and art, copyright infringement, fast fashion and its impact on humans and the environment, capitalism, and the male gaze to name a few. They are taking up a needle and thread and stitching their rage into action. No need to buy shitty jeans with feminist messages being sold back to us as "fashion". We will DIY our own fashion and rock messages of our own choosing. We will gather IRL and virtually and create together. We are not falling for corporate greed scams, worker and environmental exploitation, or the commodification of our movement! Hellz no. We will stitch up our own resistance and pair it with whatever the hell we want for the ultimate 'fuck you' vibes.
Want to participate? Grab your jeans, hit the tutorial, stitch it up, take a pic, post it on Instagram, tag it #reBUTTal, and rock your jeans with pride. See someone out and about rocking a pair? Go high-five them and make a new friend! You are both badasses. And like all stitching, it is more fun with friends! Get a group together and talk about stuff that matters while you stitch your jeans of resistance.
I held a Craftivism 101 workshop and it was downright magical! We sold out at 20 participants (the number of chairs in my conference room). Participants learned all about craftivism throughout history, how to be a craftivist, how to embroider, and they stitched their message to the world. The ticket price included a donation to Advancing Justice | Chicago and was co-facilitated by everyone's favorites, the Chi_Arts_Boyz! More of these will definitely be happening!
Boys will be Boys
OCTOBER viral madness
The past few days have been bananas (I mean...I'm in Vogue y'all!) . My piece went viral in response to the Harvey Weinstein bullshit. I have gotten THOUSANDS of request for that piece and/or that message in product form. You all clearly connected with the message. I can't possibly stitch that many pieces (unless I become a hermit and stitch for like 10 years straight...and you know I love you but even I have my limits). I think I have done the next best thing.
I set up a RedBubble store with two collections. The first has a bunch of products with the original expression on them. The other one has products without the curse word. Essentially, I have licensed my design and selected the products but I don't do any of the printing, shipping or customer service. I get between 5% and 20% per sale. I AM NOT KEEPING THIS MONEY. I have no intention of benefiting financially from this. I will be donating it to the amazing nonprofit I work for, Advancing Justice | Chicago. That way I can be certain every penny of your purchase will go directly to positively impacting immigrant and refugee women and girls. I'll provide proof.
I want you to be happy. I want you to rock the message. I want you to take a stand. I want your funds to go to an organization making change. I want to use this moment and my 1 second of almost internet fame to create change and have impact.
As of 12/19/17 we have raised $1,428.28 for Advancing Justice | Chicago!
Happy shopping! I'll keep you posted.
I can't explain how full of joy and hope I am after participating in the Chicago Women's March. Holy shit that was a powerful start to the resistance! I stitched my sign (of course). It got quite a bit of attention on the interwebs and at the march. Craftivism is powerful.
Community Craftivism Project - #EndGunViolence
What a success!
You astounded me friends! The results of our #EndGunViolence craftivism project were unbelievable!
- 200 pieces of fiber art submitted from 10 countries and 40 states
- The opening reception of the gallery show was INSANE with hundreds of people in attendance
- A $2,000 faculty grant from Columbia College to fund the show
- We raised OVER $5,000 to support Project F.I.R.E.
- Our free community embroidery workshop + discussion was at capacity (and provided some much needed post-election processing)
- The Project FIRE youth sold EVERY SINGLE PIECE of their glass art AND learned how to embroider
I can't applaud you any harder. I love you.
about project fire
Project F.I.R.E. (Fearless Initiative for Recovery and Empowerment) is an artist development employment program that offers healing through glass blowing to youth injured by gun violence in Chicago. Project F.I.R.E. combines glass arts education, mentoring and trauma psychoeducation in order to support trauma recovery and create employment opportunities for young people who have been shot or witnessed the homicide of a loved one.