Woman You Are… Creative, Generous, Inspiring

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Hey there gorgeous souls. March 8th is International Women’s Day (where we remember, and come together to push against, gender-based oppression and inequality, and also celebrate the achievements of women everywhere).  I am setting up a kind of ‘pay it forward’ craftivism project, to both reflect on all the ways women are amazing, and to pass on some love to our sisters (not just our cis-ters!). Women we know, women we have heard of, women we have never crossed any kind of path with. March 8th will see me in Doncaster, making, teaching and sharing crafted hearts, but if you’d like to get involved too, here’s how:

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Introduction to Craftivism, and Guerilla Craft Drop

YouAreEnough

I’m afraid I have to cancel this event due to an unexpected (aren’t kids great at this?) school information morning. As people have sent stitchings, I will be doing a sneaky craft drop anyway, and pictures will be shared on my Facebook page and Instagram feed (@disobedientchild). Another craftivism event will be arranged in the new year, but don’t let this stop you scattering kindness and love like healing confetti wherever you are able. x

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A day of craft and activism! I will talk to you about what craftivism means to me, how others interpret it, and what it might mean to you. In this workshop we will be participating in the You Are So Very Beautiful project (#YASVB), so I will show you how to make small stitched affirmations, in whatever style you wish. Then, and this is the fun bit (those of us less mobile are completely free to opt out or work around this), we will go out and around the city centre, leaving these affirmations for other people to find and enjoy. And then we’ll all meet up again and drink tea and eat cake and have a discussion about how it went 🙂
More simply: Learn, make, distribute, eat cake.

No sewing skills necessary, no interaction with random-strangers-on-the-street required, this is a totally fun and no pressure workshop 🙂

Starts at 11am, probably winding up at about 3ish, but I’m happy to stay later if people want to make/chat more. If you’ can’t make that date, take a look here for how you can still get involved: http://pickymiss.com/2016/09/21/beautiful/

Here for more info on #YASVB: http://craftivism.com/youaresoverybeautiful/

Tickets available below. Concessionary rate of £17 available to those in receipt of benefits or on a very low income, just apply the code “Dodo” at the checkout 🙂

Craftivism – get involved, you beautiful creature!

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I find big paper a great medium for collecting ideas, and when I put out a table-length of lining paper at my ‘Open Studio’ event and asked “What can we do, now, to make this world a better place?”, I got some *really* good ones 🙂 Plant trees, and hug them! Play music, laugh, take a deep breath,

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You Are So Very Beautiful – a Craftivist project

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The photo above is one of the pieces of encouragement I’ve been leaving around the place for a few months now. Not all at once, just one at a time, when I can. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen them. But now I find something similar you might want to be a part of: because that amazing Betsy Greer is at it again, stitching things to make the world a brighter place. And she wants YOU (points finger) to get involved.

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Craftivists, assemble!

Are you crafty? Would you like to try turning your hand to some craftivism? Have you done so before? If you answered yes, or no, or maybe, to any of those questions, then WE NEED YOU! It really doesn’t matter if you can or can’t sew, or if you shun the activist limelight (suggested reading: Why craftivism is good for introverts) – read on, and then get in touch about joining in, or even popping along to a local stitch-in.

Image: Craftivist Collective
Image: Craftivist Collective

This summer the Craftivist Collective is teaming up with War On Want to add their crafty shoulders to the “Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” campaign. I’m joining in too, and together we’re asking people to take up craftivism to help change the world for garment workers across the globe – stitching in support of the stitchers, as it were. How? By stitching mini protest banners, and hanging them where people will see them. Mini whuh? How? Well OK, I’ll let Sarah (founder of Craftivist Collective) explain how:

“Our small, provocative Mini Protest Banners can help us reflect on this issue of sweatshops and what we can do as an individual (consumer, voter etc) to keep the spotlight on this ugly side of fashion we CAN change. Also by hanging your banner in public you can engage others in fighting for a world without sweatshops & supporting War on Want‘s www.lovefashionhatesweatshops.org campaign in a provocative but thoughtful way without people feeling threatened or preached at.”

I’ve been reading around the sticky subject of sweatshops, and where our clothes are made, and stuff like that, and did you know the legal minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh is just 11p per item? And that’s only in the places that respect the minimum wage laws, and the organisations who keep an eye on this stuff say that’s still only about half of what people need to live on.

I won’t go into the issues here, but if you want to find out more, there are plenty of articles out there about the nasty realities of sweatshops. About the poor safety (remember the recent factory collapse, in which over a thousand people died preventable deaths?), the sexual harassment, child exploitation, physical abuse, and of course the complete pittance of a wage. Hunt some out.

I’m not exactly a fashionista, but I do like good clothes. Well made, fabulous clothes, that make me walk tall and say ‘yeah, I look awesome today.’ But the idea that fellow human beings were treated like expendable commodities to make those clothes, well, that I don’t like. I can’t think of anyone who would, really. But what do we do to change it? We can’t wander about butt-naked all the time (well I can’t, not in Yorkshire – brrr), we need clothes!

No, these things won’t change by themselves. And we won’t change them by feeling cross about them. Not by reading a Guardian article and leaving a sad face in the comments thread, not by discussing it on Facebook (a place recently described by folk singer Gavin Davenport as “the new opiate of the masses”), and not, you may be surprised to hear, by boycotting sweat-shop produced clothing. As this 2009 article points out: “sweatshops are only a symptom of poverty, not a cause, and banning them closes off one route out of poverty”. We need to improve the factories, not close them.

Don’t be downhearted, here’s where you come in: we need as many people as possible to stitch a little protest banner (you can get a funky kit, or make your own), like this one:

Image: Craftivist Collective
Image: Craftivist Collective

Hang it somewhere it will be seen, take a photo, and send it to us. Your photo will be put with all the others from across the globe, and made into a giant collage to be displayed during London Fashion Week. A time where fashion lovers come together to display and admire creations designed by the Haves, and (most often) made by the Have-Nots. As Craftivist Collective founder Sarah Corbett says: “Wouldn’t it be brilliant if LFW 2014 was a show of only exploitation-free clothes? Let’s fight together for that reality one stitch at a time!”

Image: Craftivist Collective
Image: Craftivist Collective

I’m stitching my mini-banner right now. I got a kit from the Craftivist Collective which has everything you need (even a needle! They think of everything), but you can make your own too. I would recommend the kit though, because you can start straight away, proceeds go to help fund projects like this one, AND YOU GET A BADGE. I mean, come on! Choose your message (all we ask is that you keep it factual, and polite – this is a creative, not an aggressive, campaign), and get stitching! Send your pictures and the location details to me via this site. This protest started in the UK, but you do not have to be in the UK to take part. This is a global issue!

AND AND AND! I will be running at least one drop-in craftivism session in Sheffield over the summer, where you can join in, drink tea, and discuss more about this campaign, and craftivism in general, so do let me know if you’d be interested in, well, dropping in. And/or you have a suggestion for a stitch-in venue (my original choice is closed for a summer refurb – typical!). Seriously folks, who’s in? Watch this space… 🙂