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'Craftivism' puts the optimism and whimsy back in activism

Craftivism: The Art and Craft of Activism

by Edited by Betsy Greer
(Arsenal Pulp Press,

How do you express your activism?

In Craftivism: The Art and Craft of Activism, the intersection of craft and activism reveals how 'crafters' change their world around them. From AIDS activism to yarn bombing to stitching in prisons to revolutionary ceramics, craftivism is an inspiring movement.

The excerpt below provides three craftivism vignettes. Each project expresses the need for craftivism in community and why it helps to make change. The crafts bring a sense of optimism, whimsy and possibility to situations that are anything but.



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Montreal pride 2012
| August 31, 2012

Creative pro-choice activism

knitted wombs make a statement

Restricting women's reproductive rights in any context is ridiculous, but lately American politicians have been putting forth legislation so outrageous it's hard to react. With absurd propositions to repeal abortion rights for women coming being considered across the globe, pro-choice activists have decided to fight bizarre legislation with artistic and ironic protests. An effective ironic pro-choice protest has several different aspects. This guide covers how to:

Generate ideas
Attract attention
Make it work


Generate ideas



urban knitting reclaims public space

Craftivism is using your creativity to further a social justice cause. It started taking root in 2003 as a way to merge crafting with activist work and contribute very tangibly to a movement. Originally as simple as knitting hats for shelters or sewing blankets for humane societies, craftivism has evolved into something much more complex.

Since handicafts were historically feminine pursuits, they were often devalued and treated as leisure activities rather than creative skills. With industrialization and the rise of consumerism, hand made crafts were pushed aside in favour of store bought goods. Craftivism is an environmentalist and feminist reclamation of crafts and an assertion of their place within the activist realm.


Come As You Are’s Toronto Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 12:00pm


Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON
43° 38' 33.2664" N, 79° 25' 36.6924" W

Toronto’s only Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair (EACF) returns for its seventh year on Saturday, February 9th, as a celebration of the city’s diverse erotic artistic expression in crafty and quirky ways. Presented by the progressive Queen West co-operative sex shop, Come As You Are, this year’s EACF will feature free admission, an ever expanding and evolving group of vendors, and the return of last year’s hugely successful EACF cabaret and after-party, all held at The Gladstone Hotel, known as the city’s hub for the indie arts scene.

Toronto Queer Arts and Culture Festival

Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:45pm - Saturday, August 18, 2012 - 10:30pm


Various locations Toronto, ON
Phone: 416-879-7954
43° 39' 11.6136" N, 79° 22' 59.4624" W

The Toronto Queer Arts Festival (Formerly Queer West Fest) has something for everyone: from a film festival, spoken word events, a youth unconference, art gallery tours by bicycle, hospitality party and alterna-queer music concert, from a ramble in the ART AND DESIGN DISTRICT to a QUEER CABARET. Whether you're gay, straight, lesbian, bi, trans, queer or confused there's something to inspire, challenge or entertain you!

NFB Mediatheque: Animation workshop for adults

Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 10:00am - 5:00pm


NFB Mediatheque
150 John St.
Toronto, ON
Phone: 416-973-3012
43° 38' 56.994" N, 79° 23' 27.3876" W

Get animated with us for a full day in this monthly comprehensive workshop for adults! December's workshop will explore classical hands-on animation techniques.

$12 per person. 

Advance egistration required please call 416-973-3012 to register.

Capacity is limited.

Treasure Souq at Beit Zatoun

Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 5:00pm - 9:00pm


Beit Zatoun
612 Markham Street (by Bathurst subway)
Toronto, ON
Phone: 647.726.9500
43° 39' 53.2584" N, 79° 24' 44.6868" W

Damascene Treasures will transform Beit Zatoun into a Syrian souq/market featuring handcrafted home decor and personal items made by expert Damascene artisans. Don't miss this opportunity to browse through the market and pick up beautiful collectables!

Table Linen, Mosaic & Pearl Inlay Furniture, Handcrafted Jewellery, Handblown Glassware & Lanterns, Walnut Wood Carved Furniture, Brass Trays, Mosaic Accessory Boxes, Backgammon Boards, Mirrors Personal Accessories, Natural Soap from Syria.

Cash/Visa/ Mastercard Accepted

For info contact: Lemma at

--- Need to know:

- No charge

- Sorry, not wheelchair accessible

Junk mail origami

Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm


Winnipeg West End Library
823 Ellice Ave.
49° 53' 35.7252" N, 97° 10' 9.318" W

We all want to be more eco-friendly, but we like to get creative too! Make use of your unwanted junk mail by turning it into unique works of art.

Teens getting crafty

Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm


Sir William Stephenson Library
765 Keewatin St.
49° 56' 9.636" N, 97° 11' 41.9532" W

Do you enjoy expressing your creativity? Join us for a fun time of creative sewing, stuffing and decorating your own felt doll. We will also be raffling off small door prizes. Materials provided.

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