Sunday, November 16, 2008

Common Humanity

I'm reading Andrew Brown's memoir of his experience of Sweden from the 1970s to the present. He makes an interesting analogy between democracy, common humanity and craft circles. In Swedish a sewing circle or group is called Syjunta.

“… close to what Swedes mean by democracy: not a voting system, but a recognition of common humanity. This was the spirit that had lain behind all the craft circles and evening classes and even the passionate fishing clubs of which I had been a member.”
Andrew Brown, 2008, Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared, Granta Books: London. p255-256

One of the remarkable experiences of the Open Source Embroidery Fika meetings is that women who haven't been able to pick up a needle and thread for ten, twenty, or even thirty years, are finding an empowered space in which they can stitch without fear of betraying their feminist principles. The recognition of 'common humanity' which we associate with the 1970s craft movement is being reinvented, bringing together women of different ages, with a mixture of intellectual and social interests. But today the language used to invigorate a culture of making, is entwined with the utopian vision of the power of social networks using the internet as our communications web.

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