Yesterday I did the rounds of trying to catching up with a few University of Waikato friends (and lunch with my dear old dad). It was Clubs Day on campus which made for an atmosphere more carnival than academic. I abandoned dad halfway into our post-prandial saunter round the lake when I saw a young woman sitting on the grass stitching little pieces of felt. Introducing myself to Hilary I found out about a whole little underground craft scene that she is part of.
Onwards up the hill to the School of Ed to see Joyce Stalker's exhibition of 'unruly quilts'. She has referenced quilting traditions without being bound by them. Talking with Joyce, she is uncomfortable with calling her work quilts, but if I can call a park full of chalk poetry a book then she is surely a quilt artist.
Joyce had organised a talk that afternoon on Radical Textile Craft with my Melbournian friend Rayna Fahey of radicalcrossstitch.com . Rayna had an interesting slideshow which succinctly surveyed a history of craft in protest politics from the Luddite lacemakers to the Chilean arpilleras. She shared some of her favourite contemporary craftivists and showed a little of her own work. About a dozen people showed up (including plenty of men!) which wasn't a bad turnout for 4pm on a Tuesday with only a week's advertising. After the powerpoint we had a lively discussion and I promised to organise a get-together to continue the conversation over handicrafts at the vicarage soon.