9 hours ago
It only took me a little over an hour to read the actual text of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimer but who are we kidding I didn't buy it for the text. It's all about the pictures with pure crafter's porn on every page! Page after page of crafters in action at indie craft shows around the country, working in their studios, or modeling their incredible creations. There is nothing I like better than learning about other artisans creative process. I love reading how they come up with their ideas and seeing how they organize and decorate their studio spaces. And getting an inside view at some top indie sellers booth designs is priceless. I put a lot of thought into my booth space and seeing other crafter's displays, even if it is a total different medium helps me to come up with my own inspirations for next year's shows.
The book was inspired by the rise of the indie craft movement at the turn of this century. It covers indie designers all over the country and there is also a documentary that just came out last month. Here is the website for the movie. I can't wait to see it as soon as it makes it anywhere in the St. Louis area. There are interviews with designers and crafters were they share their ideas about the handmade movement. Here were some of my favorite quotes:
page 26, Sabrina Gschwandtner of Knitknit.net:
"I love making things. I love writing about aesthetic objects and their makers. I love conversations about making things. I love thinking about making things."
page 80, Annie Mohaupt of MOHOP.com:
"I think people want things that are unique. As the world becomes more and more homogeneous, handmade things become more precious. Also, as people become more aware of issues like the environment, workers' rights, and toxic ingredients or materials in products, they are more drawn to artisan-made goods, which are purchases they can feel good about."
page 125, Susan Beal:
"Indie craft fairs have defined a generation of women and men who value the nature of handmade and innovative goods.... I have never felt more at home than in an indie craft fair. It's a place where our hobbies, our ideas, and our worldviews are packaged up into a tangible object to share, to be admired, and to start new relationships between people."
Many of the people interviewed described themselves as makers not crafters. This is a term that I think is starting to become more popular. I like the DIY connotation and it has a broader context than crafter. The article about indie craft shows by Susan Beal was one of my favorite chapters. It shows the progression of how the new indie shows started out in small ways and morphed into a movement all over the country. The Strange Folk Festival and the Craft Mafia shows here in St. Louis are the best representations of these shows in this area and I was proud to be a part of them last year.
I would totally recommend this book to anyone who loves reading about art and design but more importantly wants to see some amazing pictures of fellow handmade advocates around the country.