Creativity and Craftivism

Including Mesh Bag Mamas!

Use Your Creativity to Educate Others and Address the Plastics Problem

Learn Why Plastics are a Problem

Step 1. Review the short Rethink Plastic brief prepared by the NH Network Plastics Work Group to learn about the problem with plastics. Check out 2 or 3 items in the section under Resources in the Ten Towns • Ten Actions Toolkit: Articles, Research Briefs, Fact Sheets.

Learn about Craftivism and Artivism

Step 2. Maybe what you read about plastic pollution in Step 1 made you angry — and perhaps made you want to protest. Watch the YouTube video "How to be a Craftivist: The Art of Gentle Protest" to learn about Craftivism, a different way of activism. And this resource about marine plastics includes information about Art-ivism, which also may inspire you: Marine Conservation Society - Artivism

Use Your Creativity

Step 3. Now it's time to think of ways to be creative with plastics and plastics pollution activism. Do you like music? You can write a song. If you like to write, craft a poem to share in a local newsletter. Do you enjoy arts and crafts? Use plastics to make something beautiful, fun, useful, or whatever: use your imagination! View these cute examples from Washed Up Cards. And if you'd like more artistic inspiration view the work of Von Wong.

An example from NH Artist, Elizabeth D’Amico.

Join With and Inspire Others

Step 4. You can use your creativity and craftivism to have a larger impact. Can you think of ways to work with others to create something that sheds light on the plastic pollution problem? Host an event, small or large. Watch the YouTube "Whale Sculpture Made Out of 5 Tons of Plastic Ocean Waste" or visit the Perpetual Plastic website for inspiration. 

Find a local artist, such as a painter, sculptor, muralist, or musician to collaborate on an art installation for your nearest school, library, or art gallery. A list of New Hampshire artists can be found here: NH State Council on the Arts

Check out the NH the Mesh Bag Mama's Project, where sewers and others have a goal to eliminate plastic produce bags — first from the Lebanon Co-op and other related stores — and next statewide in NH. 

Share Your Enthusiasm

Step 5. Contact your local paper to see if they might cover your event. Take photos of your creativity and craftivism to use to accompany any writing you do for a local town newsletter or other publication.

Have your creative work juried. The accompanying image is by Laura Fogg and was accepted in the International Quilt Show in Houston, TX. 

Laura said, "It’s all made of plastic newspaper bags and newspaper headlines, and the quilting is entirely information about the dire threat of plastic production on global warming." 

She added, "I always feel that showing art gives us a far greater voice than we could have just standing on a corner talking to people."

Resources and All About Mesh Bag Mamas

Bag Insert for Mesh Bag Mamas Project

This graphic shows the front of the card that was included in each mesh bag. The card helps educate shoppers so they will rethink plastic and thus keep plastic film out of the environment.

This effort — in addition to focusing on individual behavior — is designed to make systemic change at grocery stores. Seeing shoppers using safe, practical, organic cotton produce bags, stores will switch to not offering plastic shopping and produce bags. The stores will save money while improving community and global health!

Mesh Bag Mamas © 2023 

Theme Song by 

Mary K. Armstrong

Craftivists from the Upper Valley and Monadnock regions, Cornish Quilters, and St. Paul’s Church sewed, sang, and delivered 1,000 handmade, reusable, 100% organic cotton, mesh produce bags to the Lebanon Co-op Food Store in October 2023, along with an eye-catching educational display. 

With support from Sustainable Lebanon, Cornish Community Initiative, Community Action Works, and Co-op Food Stores, the project gives customers the choice of using a hand-made reusable produce bag instead of single-use plastic bags.

Mesh Bag Mamas Launch!

On Saturday October 21, 2023 from noon to 2:00 PM, Mesh Bag Mamas handed out a lot of bags at the Lebanon Co-op! The Co-op staff let us load up the demo counter across from the service desk with more bags for customers to take after we finished at 2 pm. 

Customers were very appreciative, and some shoppers with large families in tow received several bags. Bags were distributed both at the entrance to the store and in the produce section. Thanks to Mike, Sandy & the Service Desk staff for the great support.

Three sets of bags were hung on display racks in the produce section as well — it will be interesting to see how long it takes for them to disappear!

We’ll be working with Mike from the Co-op Marketing Department to set a date for further distribution at the other Co-op stores. 50 bags were dropped off at the Upper Valley Food Co-op in White River Junction. 

The Mesh Bag Mamas Theme Song Choir was in full performance mode, singing at the entrance and in the produce department to light applause by customers. The tallest singer in the video (link below) is Mary Armstrong from Harrisville, the song’s composer who traveled up from the Monadnock region.

Special thanks to the singers for putting it out there — Nancy Wightman, Colleen O’Niell, Phil and Judith Bush, and Katy Chaffee. And a shout out to Jan Kilfeather-Mackey and Patsy Beffa-Negrini — set up mavens and bag distributors extraordinaire.

Check out this link of the premier performance of the Mesh Bag Mama theme song! (It IS a catchy tune!)

All in all a fabulous effort, and so much gratitude to the Mesh Bag Mamas who joined us and to everyone who participated to get us to 847 bags! They looked great and we received a lot of compliments.

Kind regards,

Cindy Heath