By Guest blogger Sarah Corbett
On the eve of the 14th February Craftivists (people who use craft as a tool to do activism) plant homemade Valentine’s letters where unsuspecting strangers may find them. I came up with this idea about 6 years ago and do it every year sometimes on my own and sometimes with friends. When I set up the Craftivist Collective in 2009 it was one of our projects which people really wanted to do. Each envelope includes a handmade keyring designed by cult jewellers Tatty Devine, an alternative Valentine’s letter and sometimes a love-heart sweet. Craftivists all over the world have made cards and delivered them to gaps in walls, cash machine slots, shop shelves etc. You don’t have to be in a relationship to receive one: you just have to look out for a little envelope saying ‘To my Valentine”!
So why do we do this type of thing? We are craftivists: we use craft to reflect on injustice and to give us a voice to move ourselves and others to create positive change. Our manifesto is: “To expose the scandal of global poverty and human rights injustices though the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions.”
We hope that these letters provoke thought and action in the makers of the letters and in their receivers as well as in people who might hear about them through a blog or when their friend shows them the strange letter and keyring they have just found.
For the maker, these letters always take time to make. It is ‘slow activism’. During the process we encourage people to reflect: how can we use our talents to be part of the positive social change we wish to see in the world? If you are making 20+ cards you have a long time to contemplate these issues which you might not normally have time for in our busy world.
These letters are small and attractive for people to find. We don’t push the letters into people’s hands. We leave them for people to discover and hopefully they are open to what they read inside. The receiver sees that someone has spent time and thought on this gift.
We hope this Valentine’s project reminds maker and receiver to think about what “love” is. If I say that I love someone it means I want to support and encourage them. These are actions not just words. Loving someone means being an honest critical friend to them, challenging them if they are doing something unloving or not fulfilling their potential. Love can be tough and soft. Our messages are honest, loving and hope to provoke people to think about their lives and how they can help eradicate injustice.
How are you going to show your love for our world this Valentine’s Day 2013? I would love to read your ideas and feedback in the comments below & I would appreciate your critical friendship on this my first blog for The Brave Discussion.
Join In This Project And Connect With Craftivist Collective:
Facebook Group: Craftivist Collective
My LinkedIn: Sarah Corbett http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-corbett/43/900/3b0