Kim Werker published a free Pussyhat pattern prior to the Women’s March and it has opened the door for her feminism and activism to become more integral to her work as a crochet pattern developer and creative counselor. But activism isn’t new for Werker, who grew up in a “politically literate family” where her mother was a union activist, showing her the strength that women have in the home and at work. Since holding her first elected position in a high school youth group, Werker has been determined to “leave the world in better shape” than she found it.
Hundreds of women have downloaded her Pussyhat pattern and signed up for her newsletter that highlights the intersection of craft and activism, a new project that has Werker excited because she has finally found a platform that combines two of her strongest interests—crafting and activism, or what is known as “craftivism.”
But she’s not alone in combining these two pursuits. If you weren’t aware that this is an actual thing, it is. There are many artists and crafters working to make a difference in the world through their hand-made objects, such as crocheted and knitted blankets, for example.
I asked Werker how “regular” people could combine their crafting with political activism and she offered some suggestions: find a craftivist group near you. There are groups located all over the world. You can start by locating quilting or sewing circles, yarn-bombing groups, or an arts collective. You can also start with a bigger organization and see if they have a craftivist group associated with them.
Werker said, “The way I see it, craftivism is about using craft as your voice to express the change you want to see in the world – whether it’s to highlight injustice or to present a solution to it, whether it’s to add your voice to a collection of others or to be as bold and loud as possible on your own. For many of us, especially women who are trained from a young age to be polite and smile, it can be intimidating – or downright terrifying – to speak up about what we believe in. Allowing our craft to serve as our voice can be a great way to bootstrap into being more literally vocal. And once we’re comfortable using our actual voices, our craft can be a way to amplify them.”