The project Revolutionary Makers was inspired by Hull designer Shirley Craven, a revolutionary designer – who created a radical approach to textile and the growing tradition of craftism, which uses making as a form of social or political, peaceful, creative craftism.
The term ‘revolutionary maker’ itself goes back to the creative campaigns of the suffragettes with the term ‘craftivism’ coined by American ‘craftivista’ Betsy Greer. In the UK, Sarah Corbett even started a collective around craftivism called the Craftivist Collective – an open network aimed at using craft as a tool for gentle activism influencing long-term change.
Why? What for?
Revolutionary Makers for WOW is a craftivist project specifically about equality, with a focus on gender equality using textile in some way, which is wearable on the body or head, or on something you can carry, like a bag, keys, etc. The most recent example of craftivism going viral is the mass making of pussy hats for the Washington Woman’s March.
Our aim is to involve you in creating powerful, playful, provocative, wearable pieces of craftivism that are enjoyable to make, enable conversations and reflection to happen in communities, families or with strangers, and is created with the intention of being given away to someone else at WOW via our installation at Hull City Hall, and then worn by them.
Follow these steps to see how you can become a revolutionary maker too!
1. Get inspired before you start (if you’re not already)
Check out the Revolutionary Makers Pinterest board for ideas and examples, search #WOWHull on Twitter and Instagram, and Google ‘craftivism’.
2. What do you want to say or express?
When and where have you experienced gender equality or inequality, at home, work or at play? Who or what is there to celebrate, and what is there to change? Who are Hull’s historical and current unseen champions? What are your everyday niggles? Who or what inspires you?
Whether it’s about body confidence, female leadership, diversity awareness, sexism at work, safe public spaces, challenging stereotypes in schools, or the mental health of teen girls – you can transform what is in your head and heart with the creative work of your hands and take pleasure in doing it, that’s the beauty of art and craft-making.
3. Communicating your message: visuals, words, symbols
Make a shortlist of a few words or phrases that inspire you. See what sticks and what you would be happy putting out in the world to get yourself or others thinking.
My daughter designed and wore her own piece for the Women’s March in London. It was inspired by the safety pin campaign (and the bag of safety pins I had in my materials store) This got us talking about racism, feminism and the history of marching. We had an amazing day.
4. Think about what medium or form
Your pieces or pieces can be sewn, embroidered, knitted, crocheted, woven, printed, fabric painted, stencilled, machined, or anything else you can think of. You might like to make pins, badges, brooches, wearable mini-banners, patches, keyring attachments, textile jewellery, mini-bunting, armbands, wristbands, headscarves – anything is possible.
5. Making guidelines
Colours – Please try to use at least two of the WOW colours which are bright red, bright yellow, black and white (refer to the WOW logo), and then feel free to add in your own colours in too.
Size – If it’s a badge, pin, brooch or patch, try to keep it to a 9cm square maximum (the size of a medium Post-it note). We will be pinning everything to the fabric of the installation for people to look at before they choose at the end, so we are counting on everything being light and easy to access.
Labels – We will have labels to sew into your pieces where feasible to identify your work as part of WOW Hull.
Number of pieces – You can make as many pieces as you like, we have space for at least 500 in Hull City Hall, and we aim to exceed that!
6. So what do you need now?
Try to use recycled materials wherever possible, this is part of the philosophy of craftivism.
Visit the Hull Scrap Store, dig out that bag of unused yarns your grandma gave you, go through bedroom draws and use up old clothing in need of new life. You could upcycle plain t-shirts with block prints, create patches for clothes with holes in or create a patch for a tired bag.
7. Get making!
Sign up for one of the Revolutionary Makers workshops run by local artist-makers or take the idea back to your community, art, craft, activist or student group, school, family or friends and get making yourselves. Sit on the bus, on the sofa, or spend your lunch-hour stitching and see what happens around you… and spread the word!
The workshops are taking place on:
- 14 February, 10am–12pm at Bransholme Library, Goodhart Road, Hull, HU7 4EF
- 28 February, 7-9pm at Lydia’s Cake Away, Newland Avenue, Hull, HU5 3BE
- 1 March, 10am – 12pm at the Freedom Centre, 97 Preston Rd, Hull, HU9 3QB
8. When you are ready
If you’d like to share your craftivism with the world before you say goodbye, take a photo before submitting and bob it on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter and use the hashtag #WOWHull.
Submit your work to us by 8 March (International Women’s Day) to:
40 High Street
9. Wear it as often as you can
Throughout 2017, until next year’s event, and see what conversations and connections it creates with friends, peers and colleagues. See what actions it might inspire you or others to take in transforming the status quo.