Friday, April 30, 2010

hanging the vine

There is a local community garden round the corner from where we live. It is a beautiful place of growth, recycling, community sharing, and organic produce. It makes me smile.

I have been getting a little more adventurous with my free-form crochet, so decided to create a vine, with little flowers, to tag the outside gates of the community garden. Fitting the ethics of sustainability, I used recycled yarns for this project. The green is synthetic to the point of plastic-ness and was quite tough to work with, being pretty stiff. There are plenty of things I know I can improve on, but I mastered a new technique (for me) - decreasing stitches! Yeehar!

guerrilla gardening action!

Today is International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day! I love the concept of guerrilla actions in general, but have never tried guerrilla gardening before. So, today I got my packet of sunflower seeds and planted about 30 of them in a deserted spot in my local community (I had spotted this place a few months ago, with guerrilla gardening in mind). Being a northern hemisphere initiative, it is not ideal planting season in Australia, but, what the heck - I gave it a go! I might plant something more appropriate soon, if I see a spot and have the time. (I have just started a second job - more about that in another post - so am super busy at the moment!)

Watch this space for updates on the sunflower growth!!

blogging against disabalism day

I am really passionate about rights for people with disabilities, and also thought that I need to start extending this blog a bit and sharing more. I also want to acknowledge a blog I enjoy reading, and is the instigator of Blogging Against Disabalism Day - Diary of a Goldfish.

I work for an organisation called DADAA, and work with people with disabilities (and without) in the arts. At the moment I am working on inclusive youth community arts projects. I am constantly challenged, inspired, amazed, by the people I work with. Young people in disabilities, in particular, are not often given the opportunity to have a voice and be active citizens - I hope my work, in some small way will affect social change in this area. I encourage others to become advocates for people with disabilities too! I am passionate in utilising the arts for social change.

I also have a number of friends and family who have disabilities (and mental ill health), who are also passionate and inspiring people. I also have personal experience being 'disabled' by a chronic illness for many years, and I have experience mental illness. Every person has a different understanding, and personal identification of their abilities, but I think my experience has led to my ability to be compassionate, and a proud advocate for people with disabilities.

I could go on for pages, but wanted to share one aspect of 'disabalism' that I really care about. That is the language used around disabalism - I promote person first language all the time (for many reasons), and think that it is really important to address people as people, then mention their disability (if necesssary). Ie - a PERSON with a disability, a PERSON in a wheelchair, etc. I am also regularly appalled by the use of words used for disability to put others down (eg 'you retard', 'what a spastic'), and try to pull others up on this when I hear it. This use of language is truly offensive to people with disabilities - and to me. In any situation, using a word that describes a part of persons identity in a derogatory way is just not on. This is really common with the use of the phrase 'that's so gay'. NOT COOL.

That is a bit of a full on way to end my blog today, but I hope I encourage you to blog against disabalism today, and to think about people in the language you use.

Enjoy your day! :)

Over and out,
Captain Plaknit

Saturday, April 24, 2010

anzac day

I am a pacifist, and the idea of war hurts me deeply. ANZAC day has always been important to my family because my Pop (my Dad's Dad) was a prisoner of war in WW2, and my Dad was conscripted to go to Vietnam. Although neither of them were on the front line, and they came home safely, their experience of war, and the trauma they witnessed is clearly visible. I almost don't remember a day that I saw my Pop, when he didn't recount a story from his war days and cry - it was heartbreaking. My Dad almost never speaks about his time in Vietnam, but I know it haunts him and has impacted on his life.

I can't comprehend what motivates a person to join the armed forces, and I certainly don't like to glorify or celebrate war or violence. For these reasons I find ANZAC day a very emotional day, and my heart goes out to those whose lives were lost (and their surviving family). At the same time, I can't condone ANZAC day, and the messages about war that surround this 'holiday'.

So - I thought I would crochet a sign of peace with my usual Captain Plaknit motto 'who's YOUR hero?' for the day. It is the first time I have included a serious political message in my work, and I hope it inspires some thought in those who come across it today.

health checks

I have been checking up on earlier tags, just to see how they are surviving the weather, people, places, etc. My bus stop creature has gone altogether, but this one needed a little patching up after an accident. I couldn't do anything about the pole, but the tag has been resurected! :)