I had already made lots of changes at home when they started school in Mexico City and I found conversations between parents at the school gates all centered around complaining about the floods, lack of water, the awful traffic, the air quality! We were all complaining about it as if it was somebody else’s fault and definitely someone else’s job to fix. No one seemed to be trying to do anything about it.
These conversations pushed me to act. I started thinking about how I could share some small steps towards positive environmental acts that could become part of our daily, local life. In 2016, I started a project called Zurciendo el Planeta which means Darning the Planet. I was already mending and recycling fabric at home and a friend pushed me to hold workshops and teach others too. At the workshops, I would lay out sheets on the floor, piled with a mountain of old clothes and people could rummage through them to find a piece of fabric they liked. But they didn’t know how to use a sewing machine! Then, in less than two hours, I would guide them to transform what they initially perceived as rubbish into something usable and beautiful. At first, I ran these workshops sporadically, so I didn’t have much of a following, but the people who joined us did something extraordinary: they engaged in conversations about the tedious or unpleasant subject of climate change and environmental degradation and went away full of joy because of something lovely they had made. I felt that was pretty revolutionary!
In 2020, I received some funding to run a series of workshops, but COVID hit. We went online, and we found people from Argentina, Chile, Spain, and Costa Rica joining, as well as local chilangos (people from Mexico City). We organized 56 workshops! The participants (mainly women) joined us twice a week for two-hour-long sessions to learn to upcycle, mend, and stitch ARTivist (craftivist) messages on recycled fabric. After the end of the workshops one participant said, “we can’t stop here” and we decided to form an international collective. Now we hold monthly meetings, and we usually have 20-30 people at a meeting.