My last event of this crazy past weekend was on Monday night October 20th in Washington, DC. An author talk and book signing on Craft Activism at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in the heart of DC next to Chinatown. I was dreading the long trip via car and subway. But I kept reminding myself it would be so worth it and I would be happy I went and here’s why.

Smithsonian map on

I went to meet a woman named Kim Werker who I know from my online world. An incredibly smart creative driven kooky woman who written a book called Make it Mighty Ugly. I can not tell you how much I admire her and am inspired by her work.

Kim Werker's Mighty Ugly Book on
chinatown on shalavee-staging-1.local

I got off the Metro at the Chinatown stop. I had mused the idea of grabbing some food there but I was thwarted by some really sweet 20-year-olds working the corner on behalf of an Ebola do-good program. And decided to head for the museum and eat at the café there.

cute kids on behalf of ebola at the Chinatown Metro station on
Chinatown shopping on
Chinatown shopping on
Smithsonian American Art Museum on
In the courtyard at the museum on shalavee-staging-1.local

Once I’d hit the loo, I then treated myself to a sandwich, bbq chips, and a tea totalling $16.78.

The most expensice chicken salad sandwich at the American Art Museum in DC on

And after I took the picture of the most expensive cafeteria food ever, I heard a woman talking really loudly behind me. It was Mighty Ugly author Kim Werker. And when I approached her and said I had heard a loud woman…who I knew must be her, she almost apologized for her loudness before she realized it was me, one of her Maryland IG stalkers. And she invited me to sit down and join her and her fellow authors and talkers Betsy and Leanne. I went ahead and made her sign my book and pose for the picture. She’s on the left and I’m on the right.

Hello stalker. But I did give her a gift too. So a little better.

Kim Werker and I at the Smithsonian on

Kim conceived and created a workshop that challenges people to create. Especially people who say they “could never do that” about making stuff. And her angle is to make it intentionally bad. Mighty Ugly. Because in our journey for perfection, we’ve devalued the importance of our negative experiences. They make us better at being us and yet we avoid them. And we just don’t make anything.

Kim Werker at the Craft Activism talk at the Smithsonian on

Talking about ugly allows us to be ourselves”, said Kim. Her book and it’s support is exactly what I need now. Calling out the fears and the demons and doing whatever I want anyway. I had bought the book and hadn’t allowed myself to really delve into it until two days earlier. And boy how much it blows my mind to see what an amazing amount of work went into it. Her publishers were perfect for her. They helped her to step up. And made this book a work of art.

Kim was accompanied on this book tour by two other authors whose work as “capital ‘C’ crafters” lead them to interview quantities of people and compile books on craft and related causes and themes. Betsy Greer is a superstar in DC. She has made a career of focusing on craftivism, the altruistic use of crafting to better the world. Her book is called Craftivism : The Art of Craft and Activism.

Leanne Praim at the Creativity and Avtivism talk at the Smithsonian on

And Leanne Prain, a Canadian and author of the book Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles. Stories that you may not expect to be told and crafters who challenge the dogma on crafts as demure women’s work. Yarn Bombing? So very interesting these three women and their books. This was their last night together at the end of their book tour.

And they each shared their crafting superhero poses.

Betsy's eye of the needle on shalavee-staging-1.local

Betsy’s was the Eye of the Needle

Kims was the Crochet Hook on

Kim’s was the Crochet Hook.

Leanne's was the Cross stitch on

And Leanne’s was the Cross stitch.

They are all extremely smart driven knowledgeable women who have definitely taken knitting, crocheting, and sewing to the next level and I’d say, out of the box and into a totally new arena.

And they are also approachable and lovely.

Book signing at Craftivism talk at the Smithsonian on

I came away feeling like crafting is really whatever you make of it.

The trick is to make it. And if you are passionate enough, to talk and make workshops and write books about it.

leah tucker's shot of the museum courtyard
Picture of the museum’s courtyard courtesy of Leah Tucker via Instagram

I met Kim and it was a bookend for me as a blogger who considers herself crafty.

And I certainly will be sharing my discoveries as I read her book. And I feel certain it will only make my life a little less ugly.


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  1. Oh how fun! I would LOVE to meet Kim Werker – she sounds just as awesome as I’d imagine her to be! I was so sad the book tour wasn’t coming through Chicago – thanks for letting me experience it vicariously through you (love the craft superhero poses!!)

    1. Because Andrea, I really never do stuff anymore. And this was my superhero journey. And I so needed the inspiration. Still working on some permission issues. But that’s what the book is for. I’m glad you said something. Let’s me know the Important people are reading. Yes you. And how funny were their poses.

  2. What an adventure! What a wonderful embracing twist on the term ugly!! Just might have to slip in for a coffee this week and hear more about this in person and thumb through the book (if I don’t buy one myself)

    1. Oh Sue, she’s a creative ball of spasticity just like you and me. I would recommend watching her Creative Morning Vancouver talk . Mark said, Oh you saw that spastic woman? because he heard me listening. She talks and walks you through her story of how she wasn’t able to make what she saw in her head. And that is a story she had to edit. Come by any old time!

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