Craft Manifestos

A lot of craft groups are coming up with manifestos for their group, a sort of ‘How to behave’ list that is often written up at the start of group workshops.

My experience of these lists are boring, obvious comments given by people who are nervous at having to join in with a group of unknowns and sheepishly come up with a rule just so they don’t get picked on for not speaking up.

The rules are usually the same for whatever group is being run:

1. Turn off mobiles

2. Respect each other

and on they continue, a list of how to behave as human beings as though we needed to have it written down.

Craft Manifestos don’t have to be dull and a rant about how to keep our phones and behaviour in check.

Remembering back to the craft groups I’ve run and thinking of future projects I’ve been planning I’ve come up with a manifesto of my own.

Everyone can make something – Nothing is rubbished, nothing is laughed at (unless it’s meant to be funny), even if it’s made from your grannies old tights, make it and be proud of it.

Drawing a conversation line is not art – When in the throws of making we often chat unguarded, and in the process can talk about things we wouldn’t even tell our doctor. That’s ok. Take a rule from AA, what is said in the room, stays in the room.

Your past is not my past – I might have been in the same boat as you, but we all didn’t get a first class ticket, and some of us get sea sickness. Your story and your experience from that story is unique to you, we thank you for sharing and we promise not to assume we know where you are on the healing journey.

Age is just a number – Old dogs don’t learn new tricks, but we are humans, not dogs. Just because we can’t do something today does not mean we won’t do it tomorrow. We are not too old to learn, nor to young to teach.

I hope you enjoyed my little manifesto, I haven’t mentioned mobile phones, frankly I don’t care whether you come to a craft group with it on or off. If you come and spend the time on the phone then that’s your loss.

I also haven’t mentioned respecting each other, listening to someone before speaking. These are rules for general behaviour and I expect we know not to behave in a rude or abusive manner.

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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