I love books, I enjoy crafting, and I’m a (moderate) feminist so I jumped at the chance to read and review Bonnie Burton’s new book, Crafting with Feminism. Now, I already have a bit of a feel for Bonnie’s personal style through live hangouts she has done with Felicia Day (who wrote the introduction) on YouTube, so I knew to expect some humor and I assumed there would be something wine related. I was right on both counts (more on this later).
The crafts range from those that could be done by a second grader (slap some felt stars on top of the felt you’ve glued to a toilet paper roll and, voila! Super Heroine Wrist Cuffs) to the more involved (such as the Peace and Equali-tea Aromatherapy Candles). A detailed list of materials and tools is given for each project, with directions that are clear and to the point. These are complimented by pictures of works in progress, along with a picture of the finished product.
Crafting with this book can be a lot of fun. Many of the projects incorporate slogans or sayings (one of my favorites being the Next-Gen Feminist Onesies with “future feminist” and “this princess saves herself” emblazoned on the front) with suggestions that go beyond those pictured. This played right into how I like to use crafting books – as inspiration rather than a set-in-stone ideal of what should be made.
The quality of the projects varies, with some of the finished projects reminding me of how a mentor teacher told me to make art project samples a bit sloppier so that first graders wouldn’t be intimidated. Also, I do think Bonnie may have been hitting the Drinking Dames Flask a bit hard (and that it might have been filled with a liquid of a higher proof than wine) when she came up with a few of the “25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy,” such as the Huggable Uterus Body Pillow and other projects of questionable taste and a more, um, personal nature. While they are all probably intended to be humorous, they miss the mark for me, though the humor of the “Burning Bra” project is spot on.
On the publisher’s website, they’ve put together a handy guide to having a get-together with fellow feminist crafters called “How to Throw a Totally Feminist Craft Party: a Checklist” (which includes the previously mentioned Superheroine Wrist Cuffs) that I used to help plan a crafting afternoon with one of my sisters. Supplies for many of the projects can be found at the dollar store, and some items might even be found around the home. We had fun with a couple of projects, taking sayings from other projects to decorate our Male Chauvinist Tears Coffee Mugs (mugs from Dollar Tree, pens from Michael’s – my sister’s is the neater looking “Girls Rule”):
but as the explanation that introduces the Nope Necklace project gave it a deeper meaning, we chose to stick closer to the bracelet as pictured:
Sticking up for yourself by saying "no" is a powerful feminist act. Wear this necklace as a reminder that no matter what society expects, you don't always have to acquiesce. (p.55)
There are more projects I want to make in this book, and will probably post images to Instagram when I do, like the “Home Sassy Home” embroidery project – but embroidery takes me a long time – or even make a video for YouTube, if I can ever figure out how to film it properly.
Overall, a mixed bag of projects with a feminist focus and a good dose of humor. Clear instructions are one of this book’s strengths and while some of the projects might not appeal to your particular taste, the ones that do can inspire an enjoyable crafting session.
From the Publisher:
This is what a feminist crafter looks like! Wear your ideology on your sleeve by creating feminist merit badges (like “started an all-girl band” or “rocked roller derby”). Prove that the political is personal with DIY power panties (“No means no”). Craft great feminist hero finger puppets (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo) or googly-eyed tampon buddies. Fun sidebars provide background on (s)heroes of the feminist movement.
From the back flap (pardon the picture quality as I use my iPhone):
Bonnie Burton writes about feminism, crafting, and pop culture. She’s the author of The Star Wars Craft Book and Girls against Girls among others. She lives in San Francisco. Find her online at grrl.com or on Twitter @Bonniegrrl.
Crafting with Feminism, 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash The Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton, Forward by Felecia Day | Quirk Books, November 2016 | 112 pages, available in paperback or ebook
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. A positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own, and may have been shared first with my sister (who agreed with me on several of them). No alcohol was involved in the crafting of this review, though the same cannot be confidently said of the book…