Pride in our crafts: using art to make us visible
Crafts have had a radical history within the LGBT+ community, from making our own clothes and flags to designing pride protest signs to baking rainbow cakes, it has been a way to express and enjoy our identity. As part of the Civil Service network’s PrideON events, our volunteers have organised some events so that you can craft-along at home.
By Clare Robinson
Pride On Events
We are holding three crafting events, on Tuesday June 16th we will be holding a bake-a-long to create your own rainbow roses. And then on Friday June 26th, we are organising a rainbow basket making session and a showcase for walls of Pride. So come and join us, and celebrate your pride!
Crafts in the LGBT Community
Looking at images from past pride parades, you can often see a sea of homemade flags, signs and outfits. The sewing machine Gilbert Baker used to make the first flag is now in a museum! Underrepresented groups have also used crafts to recreate and reinvent the images of the LGBT+ movements, adding stripes to represent people of colour and including the chevron of the trans flag.
Crafts have also played an important part in LGBT+ protests, the British Museum has collected over 400 badges from hundreds of organisations to record the history of campaigns and protest in the UK. The National AIDS memorial quilt in the US was crafted as a very personal tribute, with panels often featuring bright colours and sequins.
Personal stories from volunteers
- “Particularly as a LGBT+ woman who struggles to be publicly out I’ve found that crafting is a great way for me to connect with other people in the community and show my pride.” - Clare R
- “I’m part of a queer yarn group that meets once a month. I really like being part of a queer community in a way that isn’t about bars and pubs, and it made talking to people when I joined the group much easier, since we have our projects to talk about.” - Emily S
- “I discovered basketry nearly two decades after finishing college. In it I recognised a set of constructional techniques that could be used to make really complex objects out of mundane materials (paper, string, recycled stuff) without loads of specialist equipment. I wanted to make the rainbow basket partly to get involved with the Pride celebrations, partly just to prove to myself that I could do it and partly to show fellow members of the LGBT+ community what kinds of things are possible and that while basketry might seem old fashioned, you really can use it to express yourself!” - Gareth W
PrideON is a programme of digital events and content across the month of June to help celebrate Pride in the Civil Service. Do you have a digital event or content that you want us to share? Contact us.