Yes, we have yet another very pleasing and exciting new addition to our Uncollection!
The latest contributor to our Artist Series is none other than Betsy Greer, now the proud owner of a Mr. Cart-stitched shirt, thanks to, well, to her own effort. Betsy has been exploring the idea of Craftivism for a while now, both thinking about and acting upon the intersection of craft and activism. Among other things, she’s the author of the very thoughtful and useful Knitting For Good! For a more recent project, see her anti-war graffiti cross-stitch. “I want to open dialogue,” she summarizes, “instead of closing it down.”
Up next for her: With Sally Fort and Inga Hamilton, she’s working on QR-3D, which “invites anyone, anywhere, to create a textile QR code and share it on a Flickr pool; works will be selected to be shown at Cornerhouse, Manchester, in autumn.” (Learn more about Betsy and her work here. She also blogs, and tweets.)
Bottom line: We’re really psyched she agreed to be a part of our efforts to make Mr. (or Ms.) Cart an emblem of creative reuse.
I used Cat Mazza’s KnitPro program to transfer the Mr. Cart image to a graph (above; click here for a PDF). Then I stitched Mr. Cart directly onto a t-shirt using Rayna Fahey’s tutorial on how to add cross stitch to fabric.
If I had to do it over again, I’d probably use 3 strands of embroidery floss instead of 2, as when I stripped away the aida cloth the stitches weren’t quite as crisp as I was hoping. But I still really love the result!
We love the result, too.
But those of you who are paying attention will have noticed that our logo appears inverted on the resulting shirt! Why would that be? To look better during handstands? Or so that the wearer can enjoy Mr. Cart’s traditional smile by glancing down at her (or his) shirt?
Neither. Once more, Betsy explains. You’ll like this:
To me, our job as writers/makers/crafters/creatives is to open dialogue. And, of course, as we’re all different, we all have our different methods of doing so. My approach (not that it’s unique; in fact it’s the bedrock of many of us involved with cultural production and/or critique) is all about putting forth something that looks familiar at first glance, but at second (or third) isn’t that at all. I like the way that approach allows readers/observers to come to their own conclusions and — more importantly — develop their own response, based on their own comfort level, either by asking questions then, dismissing (or misinterpreting) the work entirely or by letting the work unfold in their mind later. As creatives, we are both permission givers and dialogue openers, so I like involving the reader/viewer directly in my work.
When I was trying to get a photo of the shirt, I took it to work and had a co-worker snap one. While we were doing so, another co-worker came into the room and saw the logo and smiled and said something like, “Cute! A little shopping cart!” and then paused and added somewhat confused, “it’s frowning.” My response was something to the effect of: “It’s based on consumerism and consumption being too ubiquitous.” More pausing, followed by a smile and a thumbs up. And that open space for her to get my meaning in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way pretty much sums up exactly how I would wish all my work to be received.
Cool answer! Of course, you can orient the logo however you like — sideways, even.
Big thanks to Betsy Greer for being part of the Uncollection. What are you waiting for? Join in!