Feb 28 2

How to use your craft to complain

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem said “The best way to complain is to make things.” This clearly means that Kraken Kreations is one very loud and long complaint indeed. Three years in and I still haven’t taken a breath to end my first scream.

The fact is that everything you see on this site is a complaint of some sort. My brooches are complaints about sexism, my slouch bags are complaints about bland prints, my placards are complaints about silence and my anatomical embroideries are complaints against everything women are expected to make when they take up a craft.

I said exactly that in my recent guest post for My Tights Won’t Stay Up where I barked about the horror of the last craft show I attended. It was billed as a large, regional craft show and there were dozens of stands (yay!) but all of them were populated by women making only fairies and ‘home sweet home’ motifs (boo!). It lit my mental touch paper and my rage, that these wonderfully skilled women should create such a narrow and repeated range of images, made me want to cough up a kidney.

Now, I know that some women like fashioning ‘home sweet home’ motifs and pixie cottages from yarn or paper but ALL of them? Across dozens and dozens of stands? You have to be kidding me. That’s like walking into a car show to find every stand selling Ford Fiestas. In fact, it’s bordering on a dystopian plot line for The Twilight Zone. And THAT is why more women need to complain by creating.

Of course, crafting is supposed to be fun so I’m not suggesting a level of enforced complaint where we all start crocheting hats while being screeched at by the Nazi dentist from The Marathon Man. I’m just suggesting that crafters imagine how wildly diverse and fulfilling crafting could be if they created, and therefore complained about, what truly represented them.

And no, complaining doesn’t have to be worthy. I’m not asking anyone to U-turn Brexit through the power of origami alone (although don’t rule it out for the future. I’m genuinely open to the idea). I’m just asking female crafters to use their foibles as fuel. Hate totes? Then design a new bag. Despise the colour orange? Cross stitch, I dunno, an orange grove that has any colour but that. Seriously pissed with yarn choices? Knit a jumper with dog hair. No really, make anything. ANYTHING. Just make sure it’s based on what makes you yelp excitedly rather on what Hobbycraft tells you is available.

And if what makes you yelp is unicorns, go for it. Someone has to give voice to the plight of their invisibility after all. But if you want to stitch burning banknotes because you’re eaten up by the plight of poverty then you should be able to go for that too. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your gloriously crafty skills are only worthy if they’re churning out the same thing as everyone else. This isn’t a competition, you know. There are no prizes for out-pixie-ing the next woman.