Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe2
What is craftivism?
We talk quite a bit about crafty activism here at Crafting a Green World, but what is craftivism, and how can you get involved?
Craftivism is a term coined by Betsy Greer, one of my crafty heroes. I was lucky enough to meet Betsy at Crafty Bastards a few years ago and – full disclosure – contributed an essay on upcycling to her upcoming book. Craftivism is at the heart of what we’re about at Crafting a Green World, and I’m guessing that if you’re a regular reader here you engage in regular acts of craftivism too.But what is craftivism, exactly?
For me, it’s pretty broad, so let’s start with Betsy’s definition from her site:
Craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite.
Basically, craftivism is using your creativity to change the world. That could mean any number of applications, like:
- Donating your crafts to raise money for an organization. Hats for Hunger is a good example of this type of craftivism in action.
- Creating art or crafts that raise awareness. My friend Asher Jay is a superstar in this area. Her installation Garbagea, for example, shone a light on the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.
- Making informed decisions about materials. This is a little bit of a broader interpretation, but I’m a big believer in voting with our wallets. Every time that we choose organic cotton over dirty conventional cotton or otherwise look for products that help the planet and the people who live here, you’re making a difference with your crafting. You’re telling companies that you support sustainable business practices. When you opt to upcycle reclaimed materials instead of buying new, you’re also casting a vote for sustainability.
- Creating projects that reduce waste. This also falls under a bit of a broader definition. Any time you replace a disposable product with a reusable one, you’re practicing craftivism, in my estimation. Our landfills are overflowing with single use paper and plastic products, so creating reusable alternatives has a powerful crafty impact. That could mean whipping up a reusable chalkboard sign instead of a disposable cardboard one, sewing your own cloth pads, or anything in between!
The point is that on top of contributing your creativity to the world, you’re using your skills to make a difference. I also think that just like any sort of activism, craftifism is very personal. I tried to keep my definitions above pretty broad, and I’d love to hear about what craftivism means to you and how you’re making the world a better place through your creativity!