Thursday, October 20, 2011

On My Bookshelf: Craft Activism

While at my metal clay class last week, Craft Activism by Joan Tapper and Photography by Gale Zucker arrived at my doorstep.


 Photo from the Random House Website

I've read it from cover to cover, taking in all of the ideas and projects. I felt like I was walking through a modern, yet retro craft show. There were the crafts of my mother and her sister, crochet, knitting and quilting. They were traditional crafts yet put together with a fresh spin, a sense of humor and decidedly activist.

The author, Joan Tapper has laid out the book according to the purpose of the crafts. Part one is entitled, "Crafting a Statement" and includes a section on Ruth Marshall who knits the fur patterns of endagered species to call attention to their plight. An ocelot knitted scarf project follows so you can knit a conscious raising scarf. 



Part Two, Recrafting the Past, is where I found my old junior high school crush, crochet. There's a colorful explosion of granny squares made by Ellen Bloom along with an easy "Granny Greenbag" project you can make yourself. The rest of the section highlights embroidery and sewing. The intermediate sewing project resurrects the 1950's housedress meant to be worn over your jeans.  It made me happy that I bought a new Baby Lock. 

Vintage Housedress Pattern (Photo courtesy of Gertie's Blog.)


It was Part Three, Crafting for a Cause that really brought the activist in me out. Crafts aren't just for style or hobbies to the craftivists in this book, they're for making a difference in someone else's life.  The Red Scarf Project is featured in a section  along with the Mother Bear Project and the Quilts of Valor Foundation. You can donate handmade scarves, teddy bears and quilt blocks to help others. 

All we are saying is give plabric a chance.... (Photo credit)

The last section, Crafting to Recycle, Renew, and Reuse showcases the "green" side of crafting. From how to recycle t-shirts into "Sun-Tea Dresses" to making a "Tongue in Chic circle skirt" of "plabric" You'll be looking at your recycle bins and garage sales in a whole new way.

Throughout the book there are sections on business advice, how to get a community of crafters together and other business tips. At the end of the book, there are three full pages of further readings, resources and links to get you pointed in the right direction.

Tapper and Zucker have delivered on the subtitle of the book - People, Ideas and Projects from the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In. If you're jonesing for the new spin crafts, this is the resource book to get you started. There are a wide variety of crafts and causes and you can take your pick. 

Craft Activism will get your creative DIY juices flowing! So get out your needles, hooks or sewing machines and make your craft statement!  Just in time for this year's Make a Difference Day!

1 comment:

Eileen Bergen said...

What a wonderful spin for a craft book. Thanks for reviewing it for us.