“Craftivism” is a word one would likely not find in any dictionary, but it has ignited a movement that is spreading across the county.
This is how Laura Flusche, executive director of the Museum of Design Atlanta in Midtown, explained its new exhibition, “Making Change: The Art and Craft of Activism.” In it women are using their skills at crafts such as crocheting, knitting, ceramics and quilting to protest social and political inequalities and injustices.
The exhibition, which opened June 3, is on view through Sept. 9.
Using crafts to conceal hidden messages for friends or allies dates back to the Revolutionary War, when American women would knit flags with hidden messages for American troops concerning British movements or maps.
The idea of displaying individual messages on crafts developed in Los Angeles several years ago when designer and artist Jayna Zweiman developed Welcome Blanket, a project in which blankets are made to welcome refugees and immigrants to America and include designs with creative and critical responses to current issues. According to the Welcome Blanket website, Zweiman hopes enough blankets are made to reach 2,000 miles, the length of the U.S.-Mexico border.
The craftivism movement started at the museum about a year ago when it offered stitching classes, and those taking these classes became interested in having their craft creations show messages about their feelings on social, political or other issues.
Flusche said the museum is inviting visitors and community members to be involved by developing or enhancing a craft to reflect their feelings on important issues and make a difference by joining such participatory projects.
Betsy Greer, the exhibition’s guest curator, who has been involved in craftivism for 15 years, said this type of exhibit is important.
“It shows people, in a visual way, how they can use their creative skills to talk about their feelings and beliefs,” she said. “It also shows how you can use your craft skills to be your voice on issues that are important to you.”
Advance museum tickets (ordered online) are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, educators and military personnel, $4 for college students and children 6 to 17 and free for children under 5 and members. Tickets bought at the museum lobby are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, educators and military personnel, $5 for college students and children 6 to 17 and free for children under 5 and members.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.museumofdesign.org.