DIY at the DNC

Are you admiring the crafty hats donned by democratic delegates at this week’s convention? They get patriot points for glitter, but MSNBC’s Chris Mathews took the cake with his kinetic hair sculpture. It reminds us all of the important part wind power can play in our renewable energy needs.

That’s not exactly what I had in mind for the focus of this post though. Protests are a great example of craftivism that easily tips the scale to activism. After all, you can’t buy “Fuck the War” signs at Wal-Mart.

Rudimentary as some displays may be, how is scrawling on a piece of paper and stapling it to a stick any less crafty then pulling loops of string through each other with a stick? That said, there were some stellar examples of handiwork in the mile high city. Check out these painted Obama shoes at the Manifest Hope exhibit.

You couldn’t help but notice an abundance of pink in the crowds outside, partly to thank is, a site promoting peace activism among women. Crafty? Check. That’s probably why a cop shoved one of them to the ground. He was just jealous of her mad DIY skills.

Some people have other ideas about who belongs in jail. Though the tutu on paper mache George W. Bush is a nice touch, the look on Dick Cheney’s face is priceless. He once stated, “I had other priorities in the sixties than military service.” Indeedy Dick, this young lady thinks your main priority should be making license plates from now own.

Throughout the rest of the crowd, prominent sign phrases were, “Make Out Not War”, “Stop Global Warming: Tax Meat” , and the classic plea :”Stop Bird Porn!

Freedom fighters (and haters), I’m looking forward to more of your creative shenanigans at next week’s republican convention. Is anyone interested in knitting an 800 lb stuffed elephant? They might display it proudly behind the podium, so long as you let Cindy McCain take all the credit for making it.

Photo courtesy of  lmegliol on Flickr (pile of signs and pink ladies) and dymaxionsmi2le
on Flickr (paper mache executive branch)

Written by Autumn Wiggins

This 2008 interview pretty much sums it up:

1. How would you describe yourself?
An oddly situated performer of thought experiments

2. Do you have any anecdotes about your work (how you got started, frustrating moments, or funny stories)?
At this year's Maker Faire in San Mateo, I gave a presentation on how the trend of green crafting can ultimately address the problem of consumption and waste. Dale Dougherty,the publisher of Make and Craft, later had a gift delivered to me, a staple bound book of poetry: Music Like Dirt by Frank Bidart. This is the last thing one would expect to take home from an event so focused on renegade technology. To my surprise, it was an existential reflection on the human need to make things that I now find myself going back to whenever I need some inspiration to look beyond the materials and processes of crafting.

3. What kinds of things do you do for fun?
In my spare time I enjoy amateur astronomy, outdoor adventures, collecting domain names, and hanging out at coffee shops.

4. What interesting projects are you working on right now?
I'm working to organize community involvement in upcycling, and have a few top-secret website projects up my sleeves!

5. Where do you live? Kids, pets, spouse, occupation?
O'Fallon, IL, a suburb (and I mean a totally typical suburb) of St. Louis, MO. Rather than moving to the more culture friendly urban environment, I am staying put and annoying the heck out of Wal-Mart by throwing a massive indie craft show(Strange Folk) in their backyard. I have a husband, Doug, and two sons: a 7 year old mad scientist named Jack, and 6 year old Max, who we think is an aspiring tattoo artist since he's so fond of drawing all over himself with markers. To pay the bills, I do freelance writing, mural painting, and website design, sell my handmade crafts, teach art classes for kids, and work part -time at a local coffee shop.

6. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
The concept known as "Cradle-to-Cradle" is a blueprint for sustainability that states everything we manufacture should be either biodegrable, infinitely recyclable, or intended to be upcycled. This is the basis for many of my ideas of how the crafting community can be more widely involved in solving the environmental crisis.

7. What is your favorite food/color/tool?
granola/green/sewing machine!

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