Somerset Art Works co-ordinated a Somerset cluster of the national Craftivist project. Workshops facilitated by Nina Gronw-Lewis took place in North Taunton as part of SAW’s Our Place project funded by The People’s Health Trust and Taunton Deane Borough Council. South Somerset District Council funded sessions at the Balsam Centre in Wincanton and school sessions were supported by InspirED.
The Craftivist Garden is a unique project that goes beyond seeing craft as a relaxing hobby but exploring craft as an incredible tool to help us connect, challenge ourselves and help us grow and flourish in our lives.
People are invited to knit, crochet and embroider flowers and take time to think about wellbeing. Through this process, research was undertaken by Falmouth University to demonstrate how craft activities can help improve wellbeing by involving participants in the connected, sensory and mindful process of making things.
For more information see somersetcraftivist.wordpress.com
Exploring how making can operate as a tool for critical thinking and help us grapple with the big issues that affect our lives, research from the national Craftivist Garden Project was presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts & Health in January 2015, to provide evidence of the power of craft to improve our society.
Somerset Craftivist Showcase
The Arts House at Somerset College bloomed with the Craftivist Garden for Somerset Art Weeks in October 2015. Guest of honour Christine Lawrence, Chair of Somerset County Council, opened the exhibition and spoke movingly about her own personal experiences of craft and making.
It is argued, among other things, that making might be understood as a political act: a form of everyday ‘quiet activism’, when undertaken within particular social/political contexts including arts for health agencies, voluntary groups and social enterprises that promote well-being, reflection and reflexivity, collective activism or individual agency.
What is Craftivism? Craftivism is activism that uses craft! Defined as “a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.” http://craftivist-collective.com/about/
Craftivist Collective http://craftivist-collective.com/wellmaking
Craftivist blog http://projects.falmouth.ac.uk/craftivistgarden/blog/
The #wellMAKING Craftivists Garden UK was an exciting partnership with Falmouth University, Voluntary Arts and Arts for Health Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, a Connected Communities project supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
A short film introducing the national project, 3 mins long:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NYqMy1dj0k