This article is going to dive into something a lot of the craft industry does not want to discuss — the lack of supporting equality. Art has always been a cutting edge form of expression. It has been used to show social injustices since the beginning of time. When I got back into the industry in 2015 I was saddened that there were no products (to my knowledge) that support equality. Not only was there little to no representation it was also frowned upon to openly create art that supported it.
My first first two years at Creativation were eye opening. The question I asked several designers was “Are there any companies that have same sex couples? Any stamps that have something other than white people?” After the shock of a straight white woman asking these questions, I was often answered with “We don’t talk about that.” or “If you want to work within this industry you can’t showcase that kind of art.”
Over the years things started to change. Brutus Monroe was the first company (that I know of) that came out with a stamp set that separated “Mr” and “Mrs”. It was revolutionary to some. In 2019 at Creativation I found one small new company that had one LGBT+ stamp set. Once I found the owner I thanked her for creating it. She did not understand why there were not stamps already made for the community — especially considering how many designers were gay. Thanks to the #BLM movement the craft industry started to create representation of different cultures and people. However, we still have a long way to go.
Four Companies That Support Equality
There are four companies that do provide supplies that represent equality. I wanted to share them with you in hope of spreading the word about awareness and activism. As a small fish in the big crafting ocean, this article may not reach a lot of crafters or people. The hope is by speaking out others will too. We can be active in making a change and supporting equality. It’s a shame that designers in the industry have to stay quite about such an important topic.
Sassy and Crafty
I may be partial because the owner is a friend, but this is my favorite company for LGBT+ stamps. Sassy and Crafty recently came out with two stamp sets that feature a male couple and a female couple.
Clique Kits is a company based out of Hawaii that specializes in scrapbooking kits. There are two curated kits for LGBT+ and #BLM in the shop. I ordered the #BLM kit and can not wait to create with it! Create cards and scrapbook pages to document important events with a kit.
Ink Road Stamps
Ink Road Stamps is the company I was referring to in the above story about having the first LGBT+ stamp set. Since that time this company has come out with numerous sets that represent LGBT+ . They also have featured black artist and give back a portion of the sales to charity that support the movement. Here is some cards I created recently with one of the stamp sets:
Hero Arts is the leader on stamps for the #BLM movement. They are impressive because they are a large well known company in the industry that took a stand. There are several Unity stamp sets available for the crafter. Like Ink Roads, they also give a portion of the sales to supporting equality. They have diversified their design team too.
This is not easy to admit, but I was completely unaware what the #BLM movement was or why it was important. I thought that battle was won in the last century. Growing up in a diverse community I did not recognize racism because I personally was not experiencing it . When I lived in a predominantly black apartment complex I remember the police rarely showed up when called. At the age of seven, I just thought it was because there were not enough cops to patrol the area.
When my Mom got married we moved to an upper middle class neighborhood. The elderly black man that lived next door would come over to our house and ask me to call the police or fire department for him on a few occasions. I could not figure out why. I thought maybe he did not have a phone. Years later I realized it was because he was black.
Experiences like these were not thought of until 2020. In a recent conversation with a friend I asked “Is this still happening?” She asked me if I was living under a rock. It was at that time that I decided I needed to educate myself. As a mom of three kids, I do not want to stay ignorant on matters regarding any kind of inequality issues and passing that on to my children. I am a firm believer that by ignoring something or not speaking up allows continuation of bad things. So, I ordered the book “Stay Woke“. If you are confused on the #BLM movement I highly recommend it. I had to put it down a few times because it challenged me and what I thought about society in general. The first step is to educate oneself.
What to Do Next to Support Equality?
The next step is to create art and support companies that take a stand with equality. If you feel comfortable, post your creations on social media and tag the company. Thank them for supporting activism. If we all start to take a stand for others the message will be heard in the community. We can make a difference, if we just speak (or create) up. I don’t pretend to know it all or have all the answers, but I am open to change and having uncomfortable conversations by asking hard questions and listening to the answers. It’s through bridges built in open communication and art that will change the world. We are not all free until we are all equal.
Do you know of any other companies that support equality? Please share them in the comments. We are all in this together!
Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!