This was originally a guest post that I wrote for my pal Beth’s site, The EcoSpheric Blog. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I thought I’d share it over here with you guys, too!
Folks don’t necessarily associate crafting with activism, but like my pal Kelly Rand, I’m a firm believer that crafters can help save the world. Craft is more than just making things by hand. When you start habitually making things, it changes your perspective.
When crafting gets into your blood, you start to look at everyday items and wonder, “What can I make out of this?” Things become more than just…things. They have stories; they have potential beyond their intended (usually short) lifespans.
Rather than see that empty wine bottle or cardboard box as trash, a crafter sees supplies! You start to become a materialist – a real materialist. Everyday items, even ones headed to the bin, take on a value that wasn’t there before.
That new respect for everyday objects is a powerful thing. It warms my heart to see the amazing ways that crafters are using their skills to keep things out of the landfills. Sometimes, it’s small projects like turning junk mail into a sweet garland, and other times the finished piece does more than recycle: it makes a statement like Andy Junge’s Hummer made from salvaged styrofoam.
Beyond creative reuse, it’s inspiring to see so many crafters giving back. The devastating earthquake in Haiti was a powerful example of crafters doing what they do best to help folks in need. Just days after the quake, crafter Victoria of Ex Libris Handmade launched Hearts for Haiti, a shop on Etsy. Victoria had no spare cash, but she did have her stash of craft supplies and her capable hands. Tons of crafters have donated goods, and 100% of the proceeds from Hearts for Haiti’s sales go to Doctors Without Borders. The shop has made thousands of sales, raising over $21,000 and counting!
Sometimes, I get a little overwhelmed thinking about the state of things. When my mind wanders to that dark place and green fatigue sets in, it’s really uplifting to channel those feelings into making something that makes a difference. Whether they’re turning trash into treasure or using crafty powers to support a cause, I’m constantly impressed with the compassion, creativity, and skill in the crafty community.
Have you guys seen any awesome examples lately of crafters making a difference or awesome upcycling?
Revolution Banner. Creative Commons photo by Grant Neufeld
Heart Applique photo by me!
Hi there! My name is Becky Striepe (pronounced “stree-pee,” like “sleepy”), and I am a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. My life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Check out my new book: 40 Days of Green Smoothies!