Engaging the public

Minimum Wage Craftivist Project

The other day I came across a post by the craftivistcollective.com titled Building Relationships Through Craft. I agree that “the aesthetics of craft […] makes people warm to a craft piece.” I do think I’m using that to my advantage in my project and that passers-by feel less threatened by the piece because of the materials and technique used—yarn and embroidery. What I do feel is different in my work than the Craftivist Collective’s work/projects is the size and perhaps the tone of  the message.

In general, I see that the projects at the Craftivist Collective are very small in scale therefore non-intrusive and not in your face. I do like that. My Minimum Wage Project in contrast is large and will become larger as it grows. I think I naturally chose to work in large scale because of the installation site where walking traffic is several feet away from the fence where the work is hung. The size enables walkers, to read and absorb the message as they are walking by.

The tone of my messages is mostly factual–I think. I’m not telling people what to do or not do so it’s not preachy or shouting at you. If it is, it would be resembling traditional activism as pointed out by the above article.  I think of what I’m doing as providing some information, some different ways to look at the issue, some things to consider—to engage. There are only two panels thus far, more will come. But it is a challenge to make the work complete. How many panels will it require?

Going back to the article…it made me realize that I’d like to engage people in conversation—that is the power of craft—and perhaps more selfishly, I want to know what they think when they look at the work. So with that in mind, I have resolved to take my stitching on location to the site. To sit where that man is having a rest and stitch and see what happens. Will anyone talk to me? I’ll try this several times and will report back.


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