CRAFTIVISM: Objects to Change the World

10 JULY - 7 NOVEMBER 2010


The Knitting Salon is part of this exhibition that combines historical and contemporary craft (in Gallery B) and craftivism (in Gallery C) to reflect the different ways in which craft has been valued as a powerful force for social, political and personal change over the past 150 years. 


For the exhibition The Knitting Salon project is represented in Gallery C by Salon Bench Shipley that has been collectively made by a group of knitters who meet regularly at the gallery. The group are using Hebridean fleece from a flock managed at Bill Quay Farm, Gateshead. The community farm is located less than a mile from the gallery and is a recognised Rare Breeds Centre. 


The yarn is being hand spun 'in the grease' and then the skeins are washed to clean and soften the yarn while leaving a trace of lanolin in to maintain waterproofing. 

During the exhibition visitors can book a one-to-one session with an experienced knitter - for more information of how to book an appointment call The Shipley Art Gallery on (0191) 477 1495 


On 27 August 2010 a full touring version of The Knitting Salon was part of a Lates event at The Shipley. 


The design and construction of The Knitting Salon was produced with support from Craftspace.



Craftivism (craft + activism) is a term used to describe craft that is made with the aim of challenging and changing the way in which we live. 


The past decade has seen an increase in non-professional craftspeople using traditional craft materials and techniques to engage with global and local issues.  The focus of craftivism is not on the production of a beautifully crafted object but on the process of making.  It is in the action of making that the individual or group become activists for community building, alternatives to mass production and a slower pace of life.


Today professional craftspeople too are making craft that subverts familiar forms and techniques to comment critically on contemporary society.


Although craftivism is a new term, craft has been used as a vehicle of reform since the 19th century.  Augustus Pugin and William Morris can be considered as the first craft activists, making craft as a direct response to the effects of the industrial revolution.  


4 links on Craftivism: