the quiet politics of craft

Ellie Beck Fearless Quilt making.jpg

Sometimes when I sit down with my craft making, I think tiny mundane thoughts - small moments of life. Sometimes I think giant and big things. Sometimes I work through the idea of how I can even think what I'm doing has any relevance or importance in life - in the actual realness of the world. 

Sewing pieces of fabric together, sharing how to make a crochet basket, dyeing things with plants or flowers, weaving some threads together. Seriously where does any of that fit into the broader world of making a difference. Where does it fit alongside the people who are doing the real hard deep work of life? My brother & his partner who have a farm, who toil long days to grow vegetables and carry them all to the market, and overcome the hardships that nature throws at them. The people visiting war-torn countries making a difference with their hands and their hearts. The people making strong political art that makes lots of people stop and think. The doctor saving someone's life. The lawyers standing up for innocent people. The school teachers making a difference in a child's life...........

Some days, it feels like anybody else out there is doing something anything more important than me sitting in my forest home, surrounded by peaceful birds, sipping coffee and chatting with my husband. Some days I can drive myself a little wild telling myself I need to be bigger, more, change the world, get out there and do all those big things. Protest more. Talk louder. 

And I know that what I do does make a difference. Is making a difference. And even though it's small, quiet, slow, tiny. It's still important.  Maybe the whispering of my work means that even though it is slower to reach people, when it does, they feel it longer. Or deeper. 

While we sat and stitched (both basket weaving and hand stitching) the women in my groups said things like "I haven't sat still for this long forever. I'm always busy and rushing about. Now I'm going to do this every day". Small changes like that will change their life - I have no doubt. And I've realised that I'm happy to help with changing the life of one or ten people, rather than a thousand - if that's the way my work quietly makes itself known. 

Because sometimes the most active and political thing we can do is turn off the news, step away from the noise of the world and tend to ourselves. This is a vital part of the remember in any activism…..

You might also enjoy reading this blog post, about how to incorporate slow stitching into your days.