Friday, 27 March 2009

Is big better?

On Monday, 24 November 2008 I wrote the blog: have you ever been asked: Do you care?
with this badge but a lot smaller. I thought the original badge was too small. but know i think this badge is too big. grrrr.... just cant get it right. what do you think?

Doves not Swallows

Ahhh, the joys of Shrink Plastic:) I made these dove badges. I see quite a few people with swallow tattoos on their chests or hoodies with them on and I really like the placement of them.

However, I am not quite sure of the meaning behind the swallows. I think it relates back to the Navy. Lots of tattoos and alternative images such as swallows in this placement seem to refer to violence (army, navy, guns, daggers etc) so i wanted to turn that on its head and to doves instead.

Doves represent peace and the colour of white makes me think of innocence and purity too. I get asked sometimes why i have doves and its a great opportunity to talk about peace and actively searching for it (hence the green leaf in their mouths that link to the biblical story of Noah's Ark).

Everything i make whether as public art (cross stitch graffiti, mini banners, hidden letters etc) or to wear (belts, badges, keyrings etc) I want it to make people think and ask questions so we can have interesting discussions about social justice and peace.

So if you see me with my doves on - now held by Gaffer tape on the back:( - I hope you say hello and have a chat with me about how we can aim for peace in the world :) x

Sunday, 22 March 2009

can cupcakes make people act?

I used to regularly make organic and fairtrade cupcakes with messages on social justice issues. I would sell them on a stall at the back of my lovely ex boyfriends gigs and give the money to charities working on trade justice. I would also have petitions for people to sign and free stickers and badges given to me by NGOs for people to have.

Me and my housemate decided to try and make some cakes this weekend to give to our colleagues in our offices on Monday. We are going to put tags or post-its on each one with a little message about the issue the cupcake refers to (climate change or trade), ask them to do something to support fairtrade or 'stop climate chaos' this week in exchange for a tasty chocolate or lemon cupcake:)

I wonder if they will do something or at least think about supporting fairtrade or the climate change issue.

Do you think I'm being too optimistic?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

mini protest banner #2

I tend to steal quotes for my mini banners from postcards I bought from a radical independant bookshop in Liverpool called News From Nowhere (= check it out!). They include quotes from Ghandi, Dali Lama, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, Swedish proverbs etc. However this mini banner is a quote my mum came up with :)

I told her I wanted to have a mini banner that I could put up in a financial district in London to talk about how this 'depression' should be seen as a great opportunity for banks to think of new ways to make money in an ethical and grassroots way and how their way of trampling on people to make a profit doesnt work!


I put it up on a bar near Bank tube station, London. It stayed up for 2 days before someone took it, leaving only the cable ties there (and this photo) to remind me of its existence

mini protest banner #1

I have been making mini banners on and off for the last few months and they have gradually formed a little pile in my craft suitcase (like Mary Poppin's bag but better!;p). I finally took a day off work last week- I am owed 152 hours off but have too much work to do to take them off- so I put up a few of my banners.

This was my first sneaky guerilla crafting hehe. It says 'Inequality = Conflict'. I made it last month but decided to put it up in Liverpool Street Station, London last week because there has been a bit of an incident there recently: the Police blocked off this a few weeks ago for an advertising agency to film a flashmob for a company. However, soon after that an activist group wanted to do a flashmob there too but the police stopped them= inequality which led to a lot of tension and worries that a small riot might happen.

This banner is close to my heart because I grew up in the fourth most deprived area in the UK which happened to be on the edge of a city centre. The majority of our community grew up in council houses watching expensive luxury apartments being build in the city centre, see flashy sports cars speed down our main road while we had one of the lowest rate of cars per head of the population in the UK. This caused tension and understandably made many of our residents and especially young people angry and therefore wanting to lash out.

It cant be a coincidence that South Africa is the most violent country outside of wartorn countries and also happens to have the biggest gap between rich and poor in the world.

My worry is that we are following South Africa and being more and more violent, angry and torn apart.

2nd Some Craftivists meeting

So we had our 2nd open meeting which we decided to do crafts on the theme of International Women's Day (8th March annually). We made keyrings and badges in the colours of IWDay and used the feminist empowerment symbol seen in the photo provided.

Again, all the material were provided (felt, fabric, fabric paint, stencils, keyrings, badge-backs, shrink plastic, fabric felt tip pens, coloured card, sticky back plastic) and people made really different products.

We all had to put a white tag on our items and write a fact or thought on womens issues in the Global South. Some of us asked people to show people their item and start a conversation on these issues, others asked to think about their global sisters across the UK when they looked at their item.

We offered people in the library cafe an item in exchange for their signature on our petition for the rights of women in Iran. We got lots of smiles, thank you's, people asking what we were doing and wishing us goodluck in our future projects.

We had some old members and so new members. We all had a lovely day crafting but also had really interesting conversations about womens rights, our generations views on women and what we wanted to do next month.

any ideas what we could do next month?