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Crafting the way to a brighter Seacroft

Stitch by stitch, members of the Seacroft Craftivists SRG (self-reliant group) are pulling together to keep the earth colourful. I was lucky enough to spend some time with the group last week to find out more about how they’re crafting their way to a brighter Seacroft with their recent protest project: a vibrant bouquet of flowers which will eventually make its way to the local council as a peaceful request to stop spraying harmful pesticides over the area’s wildlife.

Textiles might first seem an odd medium for rebellion, as they have long been representative of women’s subservience. Speaking to craftivist Gaynor on this topic, she said it was inspiring that, throughout history, women have actually been using crafts as their source of power and instrument of protest, contrary to what we might believe. There is no more powerful space for resistance than the site of your own oppression, and so needlework, a symbol of subjugation, has become a powerful tool of defiance in the hands of the Craftivists.

I witnessed the creation of joyful little bees, a lovely addition to the protest bouquet crocheted by 25-year-old Eilidh. When I asked why she chose crafting as her means of activism, Eilidh told me that she thought it was time to stop being a ‘backseat activist’ and start doing what she could; to ‘put her money where her mouth is’, so to speak. We also talked about the pressure of being young in times like these: worrying for our children’s future and constantly trying to stop the ship from sinking. What better outlet for all that anxiety than some good, honest crafting?

So, not only is this group a platform for taking action against the climate crisis, it’s also a way to cope with the hopelessness of the climate crisis. The sense of togetherness was enormously soothing; being a self-reliant group (SRG) by nature, they rely on one another to keep going, making the most of what resources they have and finding creative solutions for collective problems. It is perhaps even more touching that, as I discussed with Gaynor, Seacroft is an area with an entrenched history of deprivation, poverty and unemployment, and yet this has only made its community stronger; there are so many passionate activists to be found there, making it an exciting area for the future of climate action. It is a true testament to the idea that hope can be found in the most unexpected places.

Photos & writing by Caitlin Forster

With thanks to Seacroft Self Reliant Group and Clarrie Ramsden

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