A Little (Empowering) Summer Reading

I have been meaning to post about a couple of excellent books that I read this summer, but, as you may have noticed, I have been particularly lax about posting lately. This morning I read Maureen Daly Coggins' essay,
Threads of Feeling: Embroidering Craftivism to Protest the Disappearances and Death in the "War on Drugs" in Mexico and was reminded about a couple of great books that I would like to share with you.

But first, the essay. It's quite an academic read, but well worth plowing through the occasional unfamiliar terms (heteroglossic?). It's about the movement in Mexico to stitch handkerchiefs with the names of the dead and missing - over 150,000 up to this point. People of all social and economic stratas have come together to create something positive and healing in the midst of fear and grief. I wasn't aware of the extent of the human toll caused by the drug wars, and after reading some of the stats felt yet more despair for the world. But the author's focus is on the positive, hopeful, life-affirming power of stitching and making. So, I would highly recommend reading the article - it's just twelve pages, not a light read, but a very worthwhile one.
As it happens, Coggins makes several references to David Gauntlett's Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity, From DIY and Knitting to the YouTube and Web 2.0. This book seems to be quite the hot number these days - I have seen it referenced all over the place. Although Gauntlett is an academic, his writing is very accessible and the ideas he communicates are important, and most relevant to us as bloggers and makers. I got the book through an inter-library loan, but it is available through the usual mail order sources.
One of the writers that referenced Gauntlett is my fellow Gabriolan, ethnographer Phillip Vannini, whose book Off the Grid: Re-assembling Domestic Life is fantastic in so many ways. It's also a movie, and a website, but most importantly for me was an introduction to the concept of "Doing It With" rather than "Doing It Yourself". The acronym DIW threw me off for a bit until I figured it out, but Vannini, like Gauntlett, explores the phenomenon of how the internet allows us to connect with others, all over the world, to share ideas and methods of doing things that are creative, innovative and out of the main stream,


  1. Thanks for these references. Very interested in these topics. I enjoy reading your blog too!

  2. Connecting with other artists from all around the world is magic, I love this 21st C world!


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