By Julia Feliz, longtime Vegan Etsy Team member and owner of J.F. Illustrations
Last year, a fellow Etsy teamie posted a link to a story with one of the most adorable pictures I had ever seen: a rescued hen wearing a knitted sweater. The news story highlighted the need for sweaters to keep featherless and beaten hens warm while they recuperated from barricaded lives inside abusive battery and “free-range” egg farms. At that moment, learning to knit got added to my bucket list. A few months ago I finally made that goal a reality.
I learned to knit, and a few weeks ago, made my first sweater for a hen. Knitting one sweater may not mean much or immediately change all those important issues that we, as vegans, strive to speak up against. But to the individual hen that gets my warm and cozy sweater, it will make all the difference in the world. I’ve realized that knitting (crocheting, sewing, etc.) can be quite empowering when it comes to changing the world, through the simple action of creation. As humans that strive to create change and stand up for those forgotten and without a voice, we can continue to create change on our own terms through our own hands and creation. While some may be able to donate money to causes, we crafters may be better able to help those less fortunate through making and donating items like handmade hen sweaters.
Sometimes we may feel like there’s so much wrong going on that we can’t fix at this moment, or may be daunted with the fact that there are so many animals that need help. We may even be the only vegan in a town and feel like we can’t do much for non-humans on our own, or feel that certain forms of activism are not our thing. Well, there’s another novel form of activism that you can take part in called “craftivism.” Through craftivism, we can take a stand to make a difference in our own communities (and in foreign ones), and reach out to individuals in the here and now by using our craft.
Although as a vegan I am passionate about non-human animals, I of course also take an interest in helping the human animals that could use a bit of warmth and cheer in their lives. I can’t help but think, “what if that was me?” As compassionate individuals, we should aspire to help all those in need. Our journey doesn’t just stop at what we eat, wear, or bathe with.
On my blog, Project Craftivism, I write about my own path through vegan craftivism with a goal to help both humans and non-humans. At the moment, I am knitting and collecting warm items (knitted, crocheted, or sewed) for a local homeless shelter that expects about 34 people on Christmas Eve. If you would like to help me with this project, have suggestions for future projects, or would like to share a story about your own craftivism or charity project, do get in touch!
Why not celebrate World Vegan Month by pledging to create for a non-human or human in need?