‘Craftivism’ by @patricia
What is Craftivism?
Craftivism is the place where crafting and activism take place. Betsy Greer came up with the name Craftivism more than a decade ago, but women have been using crafting and domestic work as activism for centuries. This past weekend we saw craftivism on the world’s stage as more than a million people took to the streets to march for the diminished value of women’s experiences. The Pussy Hat Project started on Thanksgiving Day weekend and blanketed the marches in bright pink hats with cat ears. There were incredible signs from artists around the world, speaking to the rights of women, the rights of Americans and the rights of human beings. Each of these signs told a story. Whether it was a story of anger, a story of hope, or a just a story saying that I’m here and I matter. This intersection of creating and telling your story is exactly why I created The Awesome Ladies Project.
Telling Your Story as Woman is a Radical Act
As a woman, just telling your story is a radical act. Women have been socialized to sit down and shut up. I think that’s bullshit. How will we ever know what women’s lives are actually like if we don’t start getting that stuff down on paper. How will we ever know the similarities and differences in our experiences?
There is no one definition of woman, and it the responsibility of each of us to share our unique experience as a woman (even when our stories don’t seem special or interesting). Your life and your experience matter. Not because you’re special, but because you are an individual. Each story we tell is a thread on our tiny section of the infinite tapestry that depicts the experience of women. That tapestry can’t exist unless each of us take the time to craft our stories and share them with each other.
I know I’m asking a lot. The idea of putting yourself out there and taking up space in this world difficult, even brutal, at times. Taking the time to think about your stories and translating them into unique creative projects isn’t easy. But honestly ladies, are you really out there looking for an easy life? Or do you want a life full of stories, adventures, and great moments?
Creating Feminist Art
Feminist art is any art that represents you as a woman. If at any time, you are creating something that makes you feel awesome about your story, that’s feminist art. If you create traditional 12×12 scrapbook albums of your family, that’s art that represents your story as a woman. It’s feminist art. If you take selfies in the bathroom at school, that’s art that represents your story as a woman. It’s feminist art. Feminist art doesn’t have to be intentional, it doesn’t have to be divisive, it just has to be authentically you. You speak for you.
We need you to tell your stories.
We need you to listen to the stories of others.
Every time you tell another story, adding another thread, you are making your section of our tapestry more intricate. Every time you listen and empathize with someone else’s story, your view of our tapestry becomes more interesting. The more work we put into our stories, both personal and shared, the better and more beautiful our outcome.
Feminist scrapbooking was an idea that I (rukristin) came up with a few years ago when I was trying to explain why I choose to scrapbook my life even though I’m not married or have any kids. We’ll skip over the point that I even had to explain this in the first place, that’s another conversation. Feminist scrapbooking is taking your story into your hands and crafting a self-documenting project that makes you feel awesome. Maybe it’s traditional scrapbooking? Maybe it’s mini-albums or art journals or cross-stitch.
I choose to craft my story with scrapbooks. I scrapbook my life because this is my best version of self-storytelling. I love taking photos, I love pretty paper, and I love the way it looks all wrapped up in a book. This is what feels right to me. For millions of women out there, their craftivism takes a totally different form. There is no right or wrong answers when it comes to creatively representing yourself. You are the author of your own adventure.