Women Who Create / Sarah Corbett

am seriously excited to introduce this week’s peer to the series! Welcome Sarah Corbett the founder of The Craftivist Collective and one of my (and I suspect many of your’s) craft heroes to the ‘Women Who Create Things’ interview series. I was lucky enough to join Sarah and a group of lovely ladies and gents last year in Brighton when we took part in a craft activism stitch-in outside M&S. It was a brilliant couple of hours that sits high on my life achievements list.

Tell us a little about your background…

I am the founder of Craftivist Collective a social enterprise and community of people who do effective, gentle and beautiful activism using craft (needlework mostly) to tackle poverty and injustice in a beautiful, kind and just way. I’m from Liverpool but live in London. I’ve been an activist since the age of 3 and worked as a professional campaigner for large charities before setting up the collective because of the demand of people wanting to join in this slow, mindful and intriguing form of activism. As well as providing tools and kits for craftivists around the world to do alone or in groups I also work with charities, art institutions and universities around the world to help them do craftivism with their audiences

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I always strive for our craftivism products and services to be beautiful, positive and the process is mediative for the maker to get the most out of it. Plus I made a manifesto as a checklist for our work

What two things can’t you live without?

Music – I love crafting to instrumental music to calm me down but also help me think

Creative activity – If I didn’t have something creative I can make with my hands I think it would really harm my mental health. It’s so fun and empowering making stuff whether it’s a birthday card or craftivism kit

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Too many! Reading Dumbo Feature magazine and all the amazing interviews in it with change makers, beautiful films that absorb me into their world, people watching!

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?

For me craft is making something that requires learning and honing a skill to make the thing as beautiful and useful as possible.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

Can I cheat and say that I’ve recently finished my dream collaboration with one of my heroes? It was with Sophie Howarth (who co-founded The School of Life) for her new business Department Store for the Mind. We made ‘Tools for Changemakers’ and the process was as amazing as I had hoped and we are very proud of the results here

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

I stitched a message on a canvas footprint here that I have on my bookshelf in my bedroom. I spot it before I leave my room each morning and it really helps challenge me to live intentionally and ethically and not just be on fast autopilot each day to get through my emails

What is the best thing about running your business/collective

All of the emails, letters and online comments from people saying how much they find my tools and services so useful for them in their journey to being a good global citizen. Priceless and so inspiring!

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

I could say it’s when Malala or Russell Brand came to one of my workshops and talks or teaching students at Bauhaus University how to use their design skills to improve our world but for me it’s knowing that I’ve helped people feel part of a community of like minded gentle craftivists sharing their process, ‘crafter-thoughts’ and craftivism pieces with each other and others to engage people in social justice.

Truly inspiring stuff, thank you for sharing some amazing insight with us Sarah! Find more on The Craftivit Collective blog and in the shop

interviewsAmy Phipps