Sometimes I think Craftivism is just about housekeeping. All our projects involve * making tea, washing up, sorting scrap paper, winding yarn, making lunch, washing up, accounting, ringing your mates, making coffee, washing up, writing instructions, talking to the public, sweeping floor rep. from * to end. Begin again from * to end. And then we get a lovely suprise, when we remember that someone clever has written about us. GerillasloJD is out now, written by Frida Arnqvist Engström and on sale in PYF soon.
The book Gerillaslöjd is about contemporary handicrafts and how handicrafts can make a difference. How they influence our way of thinking, alter world economies, even change the world. At any rate, a new wave of doers out there claim that this is the case. Gerillaslöjd presents contemporary craftsmen and women who have become part of a societal discussion. We get to know yarn graffiti taggers, artisan activists, DIYers, and anarchist embroiderers.
The author herself has coined the term “gerillaslöjd” in Swedish, which can be translated into English as “guerilla handicrafts”. It describes the creative mix of crafts, street art, and installations currently found in public spaces. Common to all of these is a measure of creativity surrounding the material used and the presence of a message. In terms of technology, guerilla handicrafts can be crocheted, knitted, embroidered, carved, printed, scrubbed or sown. Seen in this context, guerilla handicrafts are not particularly destructive.
Perler beads can be taken down, knitting can be snipped off, embroidery stitches can be picked out, and plants can be moved. Once you’ve read about and been inspired by these people, maybe it’s time you tried it out yourself? Gerillaslöjd features five projects you can start straight away.
The other day I had to do a talk to the Art Worker’s Guild about my career so far. I delved into some heavily buried files, where I was proud to find this article from the Evening Standard in year 2000. The article was the first write up about Cast Off Knitting Club. Knitting in Public was un-heard of in those days. I got my first e-mail address especially to run the knitting club, which was at firstname.lastname@example.org, written at the bottom of the article. Lucy Ryder Richardson the author coined the phrase Guerrilla Knitters, which I do believe would have formed anyway, but I think this might have been the first use of it. Happy days – there are the Tatty Devine girls in there, Amy Plant, Capitol K, Yu Masui, Rosie Cooper, and lots of other friends and relations. Are you in there? The dog was called Truman and belonged to Sandra at the Golden Heart.
Craftivism is no fad.