- Introduction to the Artists’ Statements
For this special issue of Utopian Studies, we sought to include not only the perspectives of scholars and critics in historicizing and analyzing these practices but also those of the makers whose work constitutes the myriad practices of craftivism today. As art historians by training but scholars of contemporary art in our own practices, we have frequently lamented the fact that artists are too often left out of conversations about what their work “means” and feel strongly about the need to incorporate makers’ voices into dialogues such as those we hope this issue instigates. As such, alongside the preceding, peer-reviewed essays we have included in this section of the journal a pair of artist statements that we believe both represent and push into new territory some of the dominant creative practices of craftivists in North America and Europe.
While many craftivist actions have come from specific activist groups, among them the Revolutionary Knitting Circle and the Anarchist Knitting Mob, many other projects have been artist-driven. MicroRevolt’s group projects—among them a crocheted “petition” of a Nike swoosh, drawing attention to sweatshop labor practices—provide a clear example of the kinds of initiatives that bridge art-world/real-world boundaries. Many others also [End Page 342] draw attention to the way that craft has traditionally been placed well below “art” in an art–craft hierarchy. As such, these projects frequently take place in the marginal spaces of the art world, as often as not being assembled in basements and living rooms as in prestigious art galleries. In the process, they create their own utopian interstitial spaces—in the cracks of the art world but drawing attention to worlds within and beyond. [End Page 343]