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"The fabric of resistance"

Hoopla: A radical craft zine

An interview with

Rayna aka Kakariki

originally from Aotearoa New Zealand
but now living in Melbourne, Australia


by Elke Zobl
August 2008


 

 

Can you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?

I'm Rayna aka Kakariki and I'm 29. I'm originally from Aotearoa New Zealand but now residing in the occupied Kulin Nations known as Melbourne, Australia.

What do you do besides your zine?

I'm a mum, crafter, activist, market organiser, podcast editor, writer, gardener, educator and currently running for parliament for the NZ Green Party. Yes, I have way too much on my plate!

Are you currently in any other projects involved?

Way too many too list... Melbourne Craft Cartel market and podcast, radicalcrossstitch.com, Fabric of Resistance wiki (radicalcrossstitch.com.wiki), helping coordinate the global vote campaign greens.org.nz/overseas, I Want To Live Here film competition www.iwanttolivehere.org.au off the top of my head.


 

What is your zine Hoopla about? What topics do you discuss most often?

Hoopla is about radical craft. It's a combination of history, theory, patterns and lot's of pics of finished projects.

For how long have you been running your zine now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?

Hoopla started a year ago. It started as me, but we have a collective of people working on it now. And always looking for more people to get involved.

What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the idea and the name?

A friend and I were doing a workshop at a writers festival about craft and storytelling and decided to compile a zine with more info in it to hand out. And it was fun to make so I made another one. I came up with the name hoopla because I like exciting words and I used an embroidery hoop on the cover of the first issue.

What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about them?

I first found out about zines years ago when I first went to university, my house mates were all into making them. I started making one but totally lacked the attention span to ever finish! I've long been a supporter of self-published writing but rarely had the time to do much writing myself except for work. And that writing usually had someone else's name on it.. I did produce a zine of what I called 'not-poetry' a couple of years ago and gave it to a few people. Hoopla is my first 'serious' zine project.

 

What do you hope to accomplish by making and distributing your zine?

It's about spreading the gospel of radical craft. Craft has been such a liberating experience for me and I want to get the word out about the radical potential of craft; both to crafting and activist communities. It's definitely a not for profit project. Hoopla is all about building community.

What do you love and find challenging about zine making?

I love giving it to people! There's something really fun about packaging it up and decorating envelopes and running off to the post office. The staff there know me very well now. The challenging thing for me is definitely layout. I'd love to be able to do fancy tricks with graphic design and I'd like to be able to produce it electronically so I could get it to more people. One day...

What are some of the zines you read and admire?

I totally adore Doris. I have never read anything that has touched me in so many ways before. I really want to write Cindy a letter to thank her but wouldn't know where to start! And reading Doris has made me want a typewriter SO BAD! I also love fight boredom and guerilla craftfare.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a zine?

Do it! Oh and don't have advertising in it. There's enough fucking advertising in the world without it getting into the zine world. Advertising is a scourge on our communities.


Do you feel part of a (feminist or general) zine community or network and what does it mean to you?

Not really. I mean. I know a lot of people who make zines and I certainly use the website to support the zine community. But I'm not really active with these people in the context of the zine community (if that makes sense). I absolutely support diy and self-publishing and I suspect I will get more involved in this community as hoopla develops. I'm also writing a book and leaning towards self-publishing, so I think I'll probably be appreciating this community more and more in the future.

I am very interested in feminist zines in different countries. Could you please describe a little bit the (feminist) zine community or network in Australia in general? Who are some of the most active participants and do you stand in contact with them?

From what I can see there is a very strong zine community here. I participated in the zine fair at the This Is Not Art Festival last year in Newcastle and there was an awesome amount of people making such a wide range of zines. I was particularly impressed with the different cultures represented at the fair. I've experienced a pretty monocultural underground scene in Melbourne so it was a refreshing change. We've also got an amazing store in Melbourne called Sticky which is a place I now visit almost every time I go into the city. They do awesome work supporting zinesters so yay them! There's some other places too but I don't get to visit them.

Do you consider feminist and genderqueer zines as an important part of a social movement? Do you think feminist zines, resource sites, and projects can effect meaningful social and political change at large - or do they have significance mainly in individual lives?

Oh absolutely. I think one of the biggest issues women face is a marginalisation of our voices. Zines give us back our voice. I think Doris is a prime example. I doubt that sort of writing would ever have made it into a book and into our written history if it wasn't for zines. When I read the different voices, particularly from young women I get really excited to see stories and experiences that I would normally only hear in a womyn's collective or something like that. Especially issues around rape, incest and general sexual issues. So I think it's empowering to both the writers and the readers to have those stories reach a wider audience.

What were some of main influences that have empowered you in your life? Is zine making maybe one of them?

Goodness, that's a book in itself. For the sake of brevity, I am mostly inspired by creative women through history, both activists and creative women. I certainly see myself as part of a long line of continuously weaving threads of resistance. Zine making gives me a way to communicate my history in a creative way. And it gives me a medium to help inspire others.

 

What role does the Internet play for you in relation to your zine?

<----------------->!! A HUGE one. I work within a very small/specialist/marginalised community which is the political craft community. If there was no internet we probably wouldn't know each other existed. I certainly wouldn't have much content for a zine.. And the zine came from the website. So yes, a massive role.

Do you define yourself as a feminist? What is feminism to you? What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist/…)?

Absolutely. Feminism to me is about liberating women and men from patriarchy. I do not believe in equality as a goal for the feminist movement. It is a useful starting point but far from the end goal. The biggest issues I'm dealing with at the moment are issues around economics. Everything from work equity to housing affordability. I'm also really active in issues around craft and gender and environment. How craft is marginalised in relation to art, how different crafts are marginalised along gender lines, the radical potential of craft to provoke and inspire political debate are all questions that I spend a lot of my mental time dealing with at the moment.

What do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part of “Third Wave Feminism” and if yes, what does it mean to you? Or, why not?

To be honest, I don't think that much about the current state of feminism. I absolutely identify myself as a feminist but I'm finding myself more and more disappointed with the lack of imagination and courage within contemporary feminist discourse. I acknowledge that there are a lot of issues where we seem to be going backwards so the debate will naturally follow. But I don't hear very many women articulating a vision for a world without patriarchy. And I don't hear very many women challenging the assumptions within the feminist movement, such as ethinicity, queer politics, disability issues etc. It seems that strong sense of solidarity that was strong through the 90s isn't being carried through very well. I'd still consider myself to be a Third Wave Feminist because to me that means being a liberationist. I just wonder whether many other Third Wave Feminists see it that way... I experience much more radical thought and action in groups that don't identify as feminist and that really saddens me.

 


Are you involved in the radical crafting community? Or have you been or are you involved in other forms of creative feminist activism in some ways? How and what has been your experience?

Absolutely, it's my world! I could go on for hours but what I most enjoy about being part of the radical craft community is that is challenges so many assumptions. It's challenges the macho activist boys, it's challenging the neo-housewife crafters, it's challenging the super serious 'can't have any fun 'cause its a STRUGGLE' marxists. I think creative people have such a strong role to play in articulating a vision for the way the world could be. But so many artists, crafters and designers now are so focussed on being cool, or rich, that they are neglecting the real skills they have to offer our communities. So I guess my work is as much about educating the creative community about our radical potential as it is about the action itself.

In regards to actions, my favourite thing to do is cross stitching fences. It's a super fun form of political graffiti and has such an amazing impact. And it's seriously addictive!

What would a grrrl-friendly society look like in your view? How do you think society might be re-thought and transformed to come closer to an “ideal” world for women, grrrls and queer folks? Do you have any suggestions for the development of women/grrrl/queer-friendly policies?

Beautiful! I have a vision of a world where we have communities built on community land trusts that support mothers and children and old people and artists and midwives and gardeners. A world where we use all the resources in our world efficiently. A world where all people get to decide how we run the place. A world where we all share what we make and grow. A world where kids don't get to wear pink and blue until they're about 15...

I am super interested in these issues from a policy perspective and have been active in developing gender-based policy for a while now. My main concern at the moment is definitely around land; our economic handling of land, our cultural assumptions around land ownership and most importantly, how we share the wealth that land creates. I think these are really important issues for any feminist to get their heads around.

Issue #1 September 2007


Featuring: Radical Craft History, Craftivism, Cross Stitch, Sock Monkey, Knitting, Climate Change Craft. Available here

Issue #2 June 2008

Featuring: Fence Stitching, Melbourne Craft Cartel, Addington Women’s Revolutionary Craft Circle, No Spend Craft Month, Wild Earth Quilt Project, Two cross stitch patterns and a crochet pattern plus more writing, pictures and fun! Available here

What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you like to share them?

I'm really keen to write a book about radical craft history. I've kind of started writing it but I'm keen to really focus on it in the coming year. I think it's a double hidden history which is sad since it's such a fascinating one. There's a bajillion plans but I think that's a pretty important one for me right now.

I'm also really keen to start some kind of movement of radical mothers to try and stop the overt comercialisation of our children. The branding that kids have to deal with these days is disgusting and I think it's time we took action to stop it.

Oh, I'd like to have some time to actually cross stitch too :)

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for asking me these questions. It's been so nice to answer some intelligent interesting questions for once!


Thanks for taking your time for the interview!

 

 


 


Check the hoopla zine site for updates!

http://radicalcrossstitch.com/hoopla-radical-craft-zine/


e-mail:
kakarik (at) radicalcrossstitch (dot) com




 


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