Art is defined by philosophers to be a form of communication, a way of expressing emotions and thoughts. This often done through drawing, painting and other forms of visual art as music and dance. Craftivism is a way of voicing opinions through art, where ones voice is more amplified and their compassion is deepened. This is in the quest to make the world a better place and to create a more peaceful environment for human beings. It is a practice that engages the creativity of the practitioners, especially regarding social and political issues. It allows them to use their personal skills to address certain issues and causes.
According to craftivist Betsy Greer, her voice is louder and her efforts more effective when her protests are put across in form of crafting. In her case, she found her voice through knitting, which is a craft she learnt when she went to live in New York. She found the festivity quite impressive, but the fact that she could not forget the puppeteers who had been marching in protest of the governmental shortcomings intrigued her. She came to the realization that the crafts spoke louder than the screaming and shouting done in parades and processions.
‘It is harder to be drowned by louder voices but wouldn’t it be harder to dismiss something tangible?’ Betsy’s reasoning is very true. It is so much easier to retain a visual memory than it is to retain a verbal one. Her work as a craftivist has grown and is used to create awareness. This type of contemporary art is very vocal. An example of her work that is creating awareness is the antiwar project. She stitched tiny pieces that are based on antiwar graffiti. She knitted a young girl hugging a bomb in a crossed- knitted pattern. This was late r viewed by many British graffiti artists, which lead to its widespread distribution. Her innovations drove different crafters to donate to charities like the afghan for Afghans, which later encouraged other people to use their individual innovations and skills to raise awareness.
Craftivism is an interesting form of art. Art for centuries has been used for purposes of entertainment, pleasure, decorations, and many more. This form of art opens up a new avenue of expression. This is how artists such as graffiti artists express their anger and frustrations towards governments and companies and societies. It provides an alternative to words. For those who are not as eloquent or do not have the courage to speak their hearts and minds find an avenue of expressing their emotions through their passion and skills. Betsy is a great example of such artists and others. She has paved the way for many others trough her craftivism website where she has explained in detail what craftivism is all about and she has raised awareness for many charities.
The human mind is more responsive to pictures and illustrations than it is to words. It is easier to remember a picture than is to remember words. Betsy could remember the puppeteers and drag queens and the point they drove more than the protest she participated in. The fact that a message is brought out in a tangible aspect, helps more people identify with artists intentions and heart. This is proven by how Betsy’s knitting movement has captivated many hearts and artists to the point of action. She has led many to raise funds for many which is a great achievement of her goal.
Craftivism has its own history. Many artists have been through, and support this form of activism. An example of this form narrated by Kristy Robertson, is seen in the early 90s and 80s where women tried to liberate themselves from the role imposed on them, of housewifery. Knitting and embroidery became somewhat of a pastime for the women. It is later in the years when their handy work was featured in exhibitions, categorizing it as art. They came to the realization that embroidery has greater artistic, economic and social importance than they initially assumed. These efforts however were not very welcomed by feminists as they felt that they were conforming to the oppression and ideology of the woman’s housewife role.
According to the feminists of the time, the idea of a woman knitting and making baby clothes washing and hanging them was just inimical to their goals. The assumption that women had respect for life, and the non violent involvement of the protest at the Greenham Common, presented a contradictory position for both the women who participated and those who did not.Kristy Robertson argues that these women who looked down on knitting were not being feminists but rather they were being anti feminists, since they felt that what men did was worthwhile. Their feminine issues however could be solved amicably and the issue of women’s knitting was concluded as a fact that it is an important form of art.
Art is an aspect of life that is continually growing into different aspects and areas of importance. Crafting, which is the form of art that is usually done by creating something by hand has been seen to grow into many areas. Knitting is a form of art that clearly has had a great history that is respected. It has grown from being a woman’s thing to being an important form of art, a serious aspect of the economy, and a great form of political influence.
Activists have also incorporated their artistic skills into their activism. We see that craftivism, though the name was created very recently, it existed in the early years. These artists show immense creativity and innovation in their quest for peace.