Crafting for Community
The Crafting for Community (C4C) initiative provides opportunities for Smith students and local community members to connect by way of crafting handmade, donatable goods. Items such as afghans, blankets, hats, bags and scarves are created and then donated to organizations or causes that Smithies have identified as addressing societal or environmental problems. Homeless shelters, hospitals, food pantries, and organizations supporting veterans, refugees, survivors, and rescued animals are possible recipients. C4C was recognized and awarded the 2020 President’s Innovation Grant Award for Equity and Diversity at Smith College. Crafters can learn new skills from expert instructors who lead workshops at Smith. We also aim to provide additional non-instructional maker space meeting hours to support crafters.
Led by STEAM Outreach Coordinator Deborah Day, and STEAM Team members Erika Hayashigatani, Elisabeth Sinclair, Vivien Qiao, Emma Robertson, and Megan Holm helped more than 30 participants expand their crochet knowledge. Over the course of four weeks, crochet enthusiasts learned the basics of crochet as part of the initial phase of the campus-wide Connecting Threads Project.
From inner connections to outward involvement, participants in the four-week crochet series were invited to engage in a community-wide creative crochet project in the spring. Through field trips to the TANG Teaching Museum at Skidmore College and Smith College Museum of Art as well as partnerships with Studio Design Partners and EcoReps at the Design Thinking Initiative, Connecting Threads has truly become a wide-reaching commencement of artistic infusion at Smith and beyond. As a part of Smith’s Year on Democracies, crochet developments and installations across campus also ignite curiosities and powerful discussion about interdependencies.
Our Fall 2021 Woven Words Craftivism Initiative was inspired by the Mini Banner Project designed by the Craftivist Collective to create an opportunity for protest by way of needlepoint, sewing, embroidery, and/or cross-stitch. No stitching experience was necessary. Each participant was given a kit with instructions, a needle, embroidery floss, cloth, and embellishments of their choice. Participants chose to hang their banners in public, save them for personal use, or add them to our traveling installation which is now on display at Transhealth Northampton.