What is Craftivism?

"We are the Craftivists. A patchwork of makers, diverse but united in kinship. We stand for justice, universally applied. Through our craft we bear witness. With our skilled hands and compassionate hearts, we mend the tears in the fabric of our society."

– Tal Fitzpatrick, Australian craftivist, 2018

Craft has a rich and rebellious history! Suffragettes dared to embroider ‘Votes for Women’ on their stockings. Gandhi spun his own cloth to resist British imperial domination of Indian industries. And Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) continues its peaceful, productive vigil over Australia’s threatened natural environment.

Craftivism combines craft, activism and social media to give a voice to people often excluded from mainstream political dialogue and decision-making. Its creative take on participatory democracy values passion, perseverance and kindness over technical skill. Craftivists celebrate and subvert clichéd notions of needlecraft—often disparaged as ‘women’s work’—in surprising and humorous ways. They create in order to spark debate, bear witness, raise consciousness, build community and provide practical solutions to local problems.

Craftivists recognise that, while anger is often the spark for protest, activism doesn’t always have to be adversarial. It can be fun to work for social change, either as an individual or as part of a collective global effort.

"I sometimes consider stitching to be a kind of spell work, or meditation, that with intent, can accomplish much more than one would expect from just fabric and thread."

— Sherrell Biggerstaff Cuneo, USA, Article 7, the Red Quilt

Preparing the Yellow Quilt for the exhibition. Credit Stefan Postles, Museum of Australian Democracy