I used to volunteer every year for a cause and it used to be my balm when things felt like too much. I rebuilt houses, fed the insecurely housed, and cared for children who had experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. The pandemic and my kiddo put all that on hold. Now more than ever though I feel this need to do more, but wasn’t sure how. A friend had reached out to me about contributing to a charity raffle to help women in need. She asked if I could donate a crocheted item – yes! yes! yes! That got me thinking about crafting as a way to give back to our community.
Here are a few books in our collection that show that idea in action:
Black Girls Sew: Projects and Patterns to Stitch and Make Your Own by Hekima Hapa and Lesley Ware
“Black Girls Sew is an organization that takes sustainability very seriously, offering life skills to women and girls that trace back to the days of our indigenous ancestors.” -Eve, Brooklyn NY
The world bombards Black and Brown girls and boys daily with images and comments about what to wear, how to look, and everything in between. This book teaches the skills to claim their own style through creativity, to empower them beyond brands to be their truest selves, and declare: I am here! Take a lesson from this book – from basic sewing lessons to finding our creative side to making fashion work for all of us.
Most of what we need is in our own backyard we just have to connect to each other to find it. Rebecca did just that in California by creating Fibershed, a regional fiber system that gives back rather than takes away – it has now grown internationally. This book tells the story of that community and how together they are fighting climate change, soil degradation, and fast fashion!
The Pacific Northwest is home to an affiliate right here on Vashon Island.
How to Be a Craftivist: the Art of Gentle Protest by Sarah Corbett
Anger is easy, but when we stop and focus on the problem we gain understanding and empathy – for Sarah that is a craft just like anything else. As an introvert Sarah often felt depleted when she protested. Through crafting she was able to engage people in new ways that were much more welcoming and easier for justice to be heard through her Craftivist Collection and now her book, too! She shares stories, ideas, and suggestions for even the most novice craftivist!
Note: We can always make some noise, too!
This book shows off the many ways that crafting can be a form of activism, whether it’s knit bombing or wearing a message. You’ll find projects, stories, and organizations to support with your crafting endeavors. Using that handmade power to connect and make change. And as we saw with the Women’s March – crafting has the power to bring us together for a cause!
Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause by Jade Sim
What started out as a way to connect with women, quickly turned into a crafting community. That community coming together turned into something even bigger and Craft Hope was created! Each pattern mentioned in this book was made for a cause. Pillowcase dresses for an orphanage in Mexico and quilts for homeless children in the United States. Each pattern lists the organizations it helped and other organizations to consider. Sewing, stamping, and beadmaking…if you craft, you can help!
On a personal note, when our family had a medical scare I received a blanket for my son from Project Linus. So I ask you all, what organizations have you crafted for or have received crafted items from? Let’s spread the word of craftivism!
~posted by Kara P.