A Little Book of Craftivism

A Little Book of Craftivism is out now!:) By Sarah Corbett with Cicada Books.

This month marks publication for Sarah Corbett’s Little Book of Craftivism. She was kind enough to send me a copy and I devoured it during a commute home.

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It’s Sarah’s story of how she discovered the gentle art of protest, using a needle and thread, but it’s so much more than that. Encouraging in tone, it suggests ways in which the humble reader can find out what they want from life, how they’d like to connect with the world and how they can make changes, one stitch at a time. She’s even managed to get me stitching as part of her I Am A Piece project.


There are plenty of inspiring projects (embroidered office chair, anyone?), thoughts on keeping motivated, getting friends involved, the power of humour, slogan inspirations, strategies for approaching the movers and shakers of society, and lots of lovely photos. Phew – this girl’s been busy!

As Sarah says, ‘Craftivism is using your crafty skills to better the world.’ I really like her take – that activism doesn’t have to be shouty or preachy. After all, who likes to be shouted or preached at?  Sarah takes a gentler approach, but with significant muscle behind her actions. Did you know that this very book was part funded by supporters and craftivists Sarah encouraged to help? That’s 21st-century publishing for you!

What have you done to make the world better recently? Me? Um, I … I … I’ll come back to you on that one.

#ALittleBookOfCraftivism book launch 2nd October 2013

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12 Responses to A Little Book of Craftivism

  1. I love that term… I think it’s what I do!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love this! Good for Sarah! By virtue of my job I get to work each day on issues of equity and fairness, paying down national debt, etc., so I feel privileged to feel as though I get to make change in the world. My mom is definitely a craftivist and by teaching me (and my brothers) to care about crafting our lives by hand (we all are involved in arts in one way or another and we all make lots of stuff at home) she has given us the knowledge that with the same patience, discipline and attention to detail we can have a hand in crafting our society. She’s such an inspiration! And so are you with your lovely writing and blog!

  3. Michelle says:

    Craftivism is a wonderful message! I think that those of us who put forth the effort to make our own(fill in the blank) have an appreciation for the resources that are required to produce. As a result, I think it’s difficult for us not to take steps to improve the quality of our consumption.

  4. Lorna says:

    Um, I think in the ‘world better place’ stakes, your blog would probably count. Don’t you think!

  5. Fashionista says:

    I agree with Lorna, writing your blog is your contribution to making the world a better place! Sharing all those fabulous sewing tips would run a close second. 🙂

  6. Pat says:

    Your blog makes my corner of the sewing world a better place.

  7. Gjeometry says:

    Oh, looks like a great book! Thanks for sharing.

  8. U.S. Sewer says:

    “I really like her take – that activism doesn’t have to be shouty or preachy. After all, who likes to be shouted or preached at?”

    No one. But that’s often part of what is required to change the world. I’m a little surprised to hear this view from an Englishwoman — the Suffragettes weren’t exactly quiet, retiring types, and while many women of good breeding at the time thought they were outrageous, women like Emmeline Pankhurst were instrumental in women getting the vote.

    In this day, to reference one of your recent posts, if more women got “shouty” about unrealistic societal ideas in regard to the female body, there might be fewer “statistic[s]”.

    • Sarah once was one of the shouty women you describe but she didn’t feel comfortable with that form of protest, so found a very original alternative in craft. There are more ways to skin a cat, and part of any fight is surely finding the right weapons? I say that as a lifelong die-hard feminist who learned at a young age that shouting in people’s faces just made them laugh at me! Now I like stealth and I like proof through my actions and, believe me, there have been sacrifices made on that journey so no one can accuse me of not fighting the good fight! I understand why you reference my nationality around the Emmeline Pankhurst comparison, but I’m not sure it stands up to scrutiny. Should US women only stand by the principles of Alice Roosevelt, or French women only operate to the edicts of Simone de Beauvoir? Anyway, thanks for an interesting debate!

      • U.S. Sewer says:

        Glad you had a moment to respond. First of all, I’m a feminist and a bit older than you. So I remember the protests in the U.S. although I was too young to participate.

        Second, I said that vociferous protest is “part of” what’s required to change world. I never suggested that you can succeed just by screaming in someone’s face. But history tells us, and even the personal history I’ve experienced (civil rights movements for blacks, women, and gays) shows that quiet, genteel persuasion alone does NOT work. I brought up the Suffragettes because this is an English blog and they were the most in-your-face and courageous group of women protesters I can think of.

        I do see a troubling tendency on many women’s sewing blogs (I mainly read U.S. ones) to romanticize the past and to ignore the continuing sexism and other societal problems that surround us. If an author ventures an opinion about something not directly related to sewing, it tends to be sheepishly stated as, “Well, it’s just little old me talking, I don’t deserve to have an opinion, but … sorry for getting on my soapbox….”

        Eleanor Roosevelt was independent and strong-minded. She put herself out there, exposing herself to criticism and doing things that no one else would do. She’s not a bad example to follow. Simone de Beauvoir’s not a bad model, either. She didn’t consider herself a feminist at first, but her view evolved. Nothing wrong with having high standards.

        Of course, women need to do what they feel capable of, but there’s plenty of room and need for the assertive and clamorous. Often enough, they aren’t the ones who benefit, it’s more often the quieter, free riders who watched from the sidelines who do. We should be grateful to people who are willing to take it on the chin, not dismiss them.

        Thanks for the discussion.

    • Yup, yup – all good points, especially around the need to apologise. I’ve been feeling particularly jittery around saying ‘I’m sorry’ recently, having recently read a very good book from a female professional who pointed out how female professional apologise for themselves too often. Then, wouldn’t you know it, I wrote an email today that began with the words ‘I’m sorry’. Gargh!!! And yes, both Eleanor and Simone make good role models. I was making a fairly glib point about not wanting people to be told who their role models should be! As you say, great to have a fantastic and respectful debate. Thanks!

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