*Here is where we will share and make updates to our mission at Making.*
April 23rd, 2019
There is much we as editors of Making, as white women, that we don’t know, and so much we have to learn. Although we’re actively taking steps to create change in our company and help influence the industry in a positive direction, we make mistakes. Not one, not two, we make many. This sometimes unfortunately is part of how we learn as individuals and as a company, but hopefully we take these experiences and do better. These mistakes often hurt people, and for that we’re deeply sorry.
We live in an age where everything is public, where people and companies are now being held accountable for BIPOC that have been historically sidelined and overlooked. This accountability is uncomfortable and can sometimes result in ugly fallout where the person or company being held accountable is defensive, fails to take action, or doesn’t respond. We don’t want to be one of those companies. We recognize that it is our responsibility and duty as a company, and as compassionate individuals to take action. We’re learning what this means in our personal lives as well as publicly for Making.
The conversation we’ve been witnessing these past few months encompasses many of the basic fundamental rights that all humans deserve, a couple of them being inclusion and respect. While it’s true that this conversation has been ongoing for some time, it took the larger burgeoning discussion, strong individuals pointing out our errors, and much self reflection for us to see where we have made mistakes and where we need to improve…and we’re continuing to learn where we’ve made mistakes and where we need to do much better.
In 2017 when we first dreamed up the themes for this year, DESERT and FOREST, we thought of them simply as that. Themes. In 2018 when we created the moodboards, invited contributors, selected locations to shoot the projects, we followed a well established process, one we’d been following for some time. We never questioned these processes, but we should have. It’s embarrassing to admit how blind we were to the wider world around us, that we’re not insular in our creative endeavors and how they affect others…no matter how big or small our company is. To keep our head down and in our work does both a disservice to ourselves and to the people and community we care most about. And so it’s equally difficult to realize that in spite of what you think are your best intentions and efforts, that they are indeed not your best and that you’ve messed up again. Here in 2019 we want to do much better.
With the issue DESERT we failed to recognize the very people this land first belonged to. A land that was stolen from Native Americans, the indigenous people of America, in ways unimaginable, in ways we’re still learning about. We failed to see these indigenous people when planning and creating this issue. We failed to include them, to invite them to be a part of this work. We failed to give them and their land the respect it deserves. We failed to make this recognition public sooner. And for this, we’re sorry. We want to and will do better.
Our nation, our world, is deeply broken. We’d like to believe that there is hope. Hope for change, for growth, and for radical healing. We’re learning our role in this, what that role means and what we need to do to help dismantle systemic racism and erasure. To encourage our communities and families in this journey as well.
In March we posted the first of what is a living mission statement. A place where we can share publicly and permanently statements and actions we’re actively taking to improve in anti-racism, inclusivity, and appropriation. We have some important updates to make to this page addressing DESERT, body type, and makers/models of different abilities. We will also post this statement and an update on our plans for action, including our new proofing processes which include BIPOC.
Thank you to those who took the time and energy to point out the error in our ways, to question us and the system, to hold us accountable. Thank you to those who are encouraging us to do better and to live up to the influence that we’ve been afforded, and use it for good, not harm. -Carrie, Ashley + the Making team.
March 22nd, 2019
A few of months ago the conversation of racism in the knitting (and larger) making community burgeoned. Having previously considered ourselves to be inclusive and anti-racism, we were taken a bit off guard when makers in our community took the time to point out areas we had misstepped and caused hurt, and other areas we could improve both our inclusivity and representation of BIPOC and other marginalized people. As we began to reflect and to peel back the layers, personally and as a business, we realized that yes, there are some pretty big areas we can and must improve in. Areas that previously had been overlooked or easily managed because of comfort or established process. We began to consider, what would it look like if we uprooted some of those established processes and thought patterns? What would change if we began to scrutinize how we’d become comfortable in doing things? What would it look like to deliberately allow space for more inclusivity and intention when it comes to the BIPOC and making community? What would happen if we audited and began to make more conscious considerations during each part of the editing, manufacturing, and distribution process?
These questions have led us to ideas and conversations, as a team, within our families, amongst colleagues, and in our community. Our intention as we continue these efforts and implement new practices, is that we will transform and grow as individuals, as a small company, and as a leader in this space – that our actions will not hinder or hurt, but they will respect, repair, and support our BIPOC community. We’re so very thankful for those who challenged us to dig deeper, and those in the BIPOC community who have fervently been doing the hard work of bringing these conversations and questions to light.
Here is where we will begin to share some of the specific areas we’ve identified as needing improvements at Making and are taking active steps to do so. This is not an exhaustive list, but a living list – one that will grow with time. The actions highlighted here represent initial steps, not complete or final steps. We recognize this as an ongoing effort, the work is never done.
Team. As we grow our team, both internally and anyone we contract with, we will do our best to ensure BIPOC are equally pursued and considered for any position or opportunity.
We’ve identified a couple of key areas where we’d like to grow our team in the coming months and year, creating more opportunity for BIPOC voice within the Making team. When these positions become available, BIPOC will be equally approached, considered, and hired. In the decision to hire anyone we will be mindful of one’s ethics, body of work, character, and experience.
Blog. Ensure BIPOC are equally represented on the blog, both in guest writing and featured pieces. Create space on the blog for BIPOC and artisans native to a region and/or culture to share and explore the origins and heritage of crafts and techniques.
We’ll be highlighting a new series on our blog in the coming months, touching on the origins of certain crafts and exploring techniques. We’re currently seeking out appropriate writers/contributors for these pieces, several of whom are BIPOC.
Community. Seek BIPOC in our community, recognizing and encouraging them as individuals and their work. Seek opportunities to encourage growth in representation of BIPOC within the industry.
Within the social community, we will continue to search beyond the algorithm for BIPOC makers and artisans. We’ve begun to intentionally engage, follow, and feature their work, doing our best to ensure they are equally represented in our feed. We’ll be increasing this as time goes on.
There is a really amazing program created and run by Françoise Danoy of Aroha Knits, focused on teaching aspiring knitwear designers the skills they need to excel in our industry. We’re honored to sponsor 4 scholarships this year, to help provide an opportunity to BIPOC aspiring designers. We encourage you to go check out the program, it’s really quite amazing. Françoise’s enthusiasm and determination is inspiring and we’re really excited to see the impact this program has in our growing industry. http://www.arohaknits.com/swatch-studio-circle
Magazine. Ensure BIPOC designers and their work are equally pursued, considered, and represented as contributors for each issue. Ensure BIPOC owned/operated companies have representation in our magazine. Ensure BIPOC models are equally represented in each issue in thoughtful, respectful, and safe ways. Ensure projects are carefully considered and thoughtfully executed, doing our best to ensure cultures and inspired techniques are represented respectfully both by Making and the designers.
We’ve sent out the moodboard and an invitation to submit for issue No. 9 to 20 knitwear/crochet designers this past week, with 75% of them being BIPOC, including men as well. We’ll be sending out the moodboard and invitation to submit for our craft chapters next week and 75% of those designers are also BIPOC. We’re hopeful that this creates a welcome space for submissions and opens up amazing opportunities to work with BIPOC. When reviewing submissions, our intention is that BIPOC are equally considered and represented as a whole in the projects/designs/artwork/essays selected to be featured in each issue.
We’ve offered two ads, free of charge to BIPOC owned/operated companies. We’ll open up additional spots as we’re able to.
We’ve created a list of BIPOC owned/operated yarn companies to which we plan to use their yarns in upcoming issues.
We will continue to seek and hire BIPOC models for each issue, however taking extra consideration and care in our styling and artistic direction for each photo shoot.
We’re taking a more critical eye to our moodboards that we send out to prospective contributors, ensuring that BIPOC are represented in the inspirational images we include.
Marketplace. Ensure BIPOC owned/operated companies have representation in our marketplace.
We’re currently working with three companies that are owned and/or operated by BIPOC, selecting yarns to carry in our market. Really amazing companies with great missions and ethics, both socially and environmentally. We’ll continue to search for additional BIPOC owned/operated companies to feature in our marketplace.
Like we mentioned above, this is only the beginning.
One thing we’d like to take time to note is the timeline in which these efforts are visibly seen to our readership and community. When the current discussion of racism and inclusivity began in January, our next issue No. 7 / DESERT had already been completed and was in the final proofing stages and on its way to the printer. We believe this issue is respectful and representative of our diverse community, however as we’ve outlined above there are many areas to improve and we are making great strides to do this in both No. 8 / FOREST and both 2020 issues which we’ve begun working on. These efforts are within the magazine pages themselves, but also represented in our company as a whole and our community.
The desert is an incredible place, full of history, diverse people, and a land that ties everything together. An important area we overlooked when planning this issue was the inclusion of indigenous people who are native to the land we were representing. This is an oversight that we recognize and hope to be far more mindful of as we plan and execute future issues. We're incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have photographed this issue in Joshua Tree and we are working on a series of blog posts highlighting these ties, of the land and people over the coming months.
Thank you for taking the time to read, support, and encourage. We are so very excited about the future and hope you are as well.
-Ashley, Carrie + the entire Making team