This summer, knitting activists from Basque and Göinge come together at Wanås Konst to bring attention to and protest gender-related violence. Since 2014, the Basque organization Harituz has worked with the project Madejas contra la violencia sexista—Skeins Against Gender-Based Violence, which is a constantly growing knitting project that travels from city to city. On World Wide Knit in Public Day on June 9, the project lands at Wanås Konst, with the fully 2-kilometre- long continuous knitted swath, exhibited even as it continues to grow over the summer.
Harituz has been invited on the initiative of the local knitting activist group Sticka för fred [Knit for Peace], which has spread guerilla knitting and the message of peace locally and globally in recent years. They knit scarves and hats for statues and knit doves of peace for world leaders whom they think need them. “We exist just as much for those who agree with us as those who disagree with us,” says Gerd Persson, resident of Broby and one of the founders of Sticka för fred. The goal of Madejas contra la violencia sexista is to spread knowledge about and bring awareness to the issue of violence against women. The goal is to someday wrap the EU Parliament in Brussels in the several-kilometre-long, scarflike knit.
Both groups are a part of a global movement that wants to make a difference. In English, we find the expression Craftivism: Craft + Activism. It is a slow form of activism that manifests its views through craft. The repetitiveness and slow pace of craft gives time for reflection and conversation. Using visual symbols, they want to activate awareness of the issues they are passionate about. They are contemporary craftspeople who want to make a difference and take place in the public arena.
When it became clear that Donald Trump had won the election in the USA, women all over the world knit pink “pussy hats” to show their dissatisfaction over the future president’s view of women, and to demonstrate that they stood together. Many craftivists engage in the feminist struggle—banners and flags have been traded for textiles coded “feminine,” such as embroidered and knit objects. These are the same materials and techniques used by previous generations of women and that unite women the world over.
– Malin Gustavsson