Be the change that you want to see in the world. Mohandas Gandhi
There’s been a lot of orange on my needles this past week since I crossed paths with Ravelry’s Color Orange group. Not that there hasn’t been plenty of other projects to work on or finish. But the Color Orange campaign’s goals really grabbed my attention and inspired me. According to the website:
The idea is both sophisticated and simple: We want to introduce The Color Orange as a symbol of the protest against the human rights violations in China. The strict censorship can ban the use of obvious symbols of human rights, but the use of The Color Orange cannot be banned.
So we will encourage sports people and spectators to make vast and creative use of the color for clothing and all sorts of accessories. It can be anything, like an orange hat, camera bag, tie, pen, paper, dress, suit, bag etc. Even pealing an orange will be considered a poignant statement.
So what could I contribute? These knittivist projects are usually terrific opportunities for creative thinking and knitting, and the chance to create visible expressions of solidarity with human rights victims and activists especially motivating.
Returning to the knitnotwar 1,o0o peace crane seemed a natural starting point. I rustled up a couple of birds with some satisfyingly orange Araucania Nature Wool, which felted quickly and beautifully. I’m not sure how they’ll be used in Beijing, especially the one I “stiffened” into a rigid sculpture after a soak in my “ceramicizing” recipe (a mixture of white glue, water and acrylic medium).
I looked for other symbols relevant to the issues and venue. Knitted chains have been on my to-try list for a few years (inspired by Knitty’s Marley’s Ghost and Loop d Loop’s version), and felted orange chains followed quickly. I’ve given them a name for the sake of the project: Un-chaining Tibet. Whoever gets to wear these will enact in a small way the discomfort of life without basic human rights – these are pretty scratchy.
Not wanting to subject another Olympics spectator to the discomfort of the chain necklace, I’ve made a felted medallion of Olympic rings which will get a black waxed cotton lariat. These took the knitted chain technique a few steps further, a pleasant challenge for me, and more importantly, a valuable symbolic exercise for the inter-connections among all peoples, grounded in common human rights.
None of these items took long to make – a few hours at most – so there’s no excuse for any of us with a concern for human rights not to contribute. There are plenty of ideas, and more information, on the Color Orange website, and its Flickr group is working to promote distribution of the handmade orange items.
In the meantime, I’ll be working out some knitted sculpting techniques, so that I can contribute a couple of orange figures from the website, who are literally appealing for support for the campaign.