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Craftivism in Action

On January 21st, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington and a reported 600 supporting “sister marches” took place across the globe, including many in Canadian cities. Despite variations in reported crowd numbers, photographic and film documentation of the rallies show quite clearly that a key contributor to the visual impact of the marches was: craft.

The ubiquitous pink knitted and crocheted hats made and worn by protestors across the world showcase the power craft holds as a means to convey a message. With the simple act of using widely accessible, extremely popular and very straightforward skills in an organized fashion, protestors created a visual statement that was hard to miss. Instructions on how to make the hats circulated widely online. Many participants made their own hats, others made extras to share, and those who could not attend in person made hats for others, in order to contribute to the presence at the marches.

This use of craft was a collective means to share a message. The hats visually conveyed solidarity amongst the crowds, and incorporated creative action into political action. The design of the hats made a direct link with one of the many issues being addressed by the marches, giving protestors an immediate and recognizable way to express themselves and their position.

With the Women’s March on Washington, the public was exposed to just the latest act of craftivism in political public discourse. Learn more about modern and historic acts of craftivism from Betsy Greer in her book “Craftivism: The Art and Craft of Activism“, featuring Canadian artists, as well as Canadian authors Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch in their essay “Craft Hard Die Free“, just a few of the many resources on Canadian craft activism available today.