Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Real Life: How Crafting is Activism



For all of my life, I’ve made things. I was one of those Arts & Crafts kids and it just never went away. Naturally, when I realized that there were others like me and an ever growing DIY database online, (particularly with the advent of pinterest, which I’m proud to say I’ve used since the very beginning) I was ecstatic and got even more interested in handmade. As a former student of History though, I tend to look for cultural trends constantly. I often think, “When they study these years, this will be what they mention”. When I first started blogging, I heard about the documentary Handmade Nation. I still haven’t seen it but through the Library, I was able to get a copy of the book that goes along with the documentary. Now to the point of all of this; Handmade Nation is about crafting as activism.

At first, I dismissed the idea. It sounds terrible, but I sort of went, “well, clearly this was written by a bunch of pretentious hipsters”, as if crafting in and of itself, can be considered activism. I make things every day, it’s not activism. The more I turned it around in mind though, the more I loved the idea. I read the Craftifesto, which outlines exactly how crafting can be activism.

Increasingly, I’ve been distressed about the decisions my government has been making. I can’t help but feeling that Canada is no longer a country about social welfare or even really about what’s best for everyday citizens. We sell all our natural resources to foreign markets, while prices for hydro sky rocket. It seems like we’re just a colony, being exploited for all the land can offer it, and eventually when it’s run to the ground, people will wake up and go “what happened?!” Our parties make so much money and aren’t good stewards of it, yet they constantly attack teachers, civil workers, unions, basically, anyone other than corporations, who are being promised tax cuts if the Conservative Party gets into provincial government. I don’t want to get into it here, but Canadians are definitely being threatened. We have elections, obviously, but increasingly it’s hard to find a leader or party that’s actually trustworthy….

And here’s where my thoughts all line up in a row.
If I’m upset that my government has sold out to corporations, how can I fight that without a violent revolution or even just a fair election? I refuse to support corporations. I find ways to go against the grain. I choose a handmade lifestyle and buy thrift or re-purpose old things into something new. It’s things I've been doing anyway, but not as a conscientious form of protest. So there you have it, Arts and Crafts are political, if you want them to be. 

*Also, I have to actually use what I make instead of immediately getting rid of it. I just enjoy the process of creating usually... new day over here!


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