Sunday, July 09, 2006

A little bit preachy, a little bit academic (sorry!)

Just in case you didn't see it last weekend in the NY Times Sunday Magazine: a piece about the DIY/crafting movement.

Walker's question as to whether the craft phenomenon is driven by ethics or aesthetics is a good one, I think, and one that many craft bloggers address in their writings. Neither of these intentions explains however the sheer satisfaction many people get from making things, including a not-always-noble narcissistic pleasure in one's own capabilities. I don't think this narcissism is a bad thing: I just don't think either ethics or aesthetics can completely explain the drive required to enter the Knitting Olympics.

The other thing that Walker missed, I think, is the power of the group. In profiling Heidi Kenney, Walker writes of the importance of My Paper Crane in promoting her work and creating a market for it, however, I'd guess that the bulk of the community making up this "craft movement" have no intention of selling or marketing their work. They are inspired and motivated simply by their virtual (and real) connections with others. I often read blogs where the writer talks about how productive they've become since stumbling into this online world. Certainly, I had no idea that other people were able to knit (and seam!) a whole garment in under a year until I found fluffa.

And, like most "movements", none of this is new. Women have always been entrepreneurial, and have always made things both out of necessity and for pleasure. Some people have always sought to subvert pressure to consume in prescribed ways. The real difference with DIYism today is the internet, I think. Which is probably the biggest, and arguably the best, craft project of all.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Alison said...

I think we could all write and write about this forever, and still have unanswered questions about why it's such a powerful and influential force - I know I've addressed it from my perspective before in the media: That for me coming from a highly creative background and finding myself a mother - how do I reconcile those two sectors of my life, and do something that strips things back to bare basics. There are so many things I'd like to say in response to your post, but I'll leave it with:: Great! Beautifully said :)

9:37 AM  
Anonymous nichola said...

HERE HERE!

1:40 PM  
Blogger justinamaria said...

oh, what you have touched on rings true for me! i see the wonderful crafty blog community as a fantastic kind of *kick up the bum* for me to make stuff of my own. as a mother of 3 young kids, enery levels can be pretty low but i find myself energised by the diy community at large.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Khalil A. said...

Check out the Crafter's Manifesto over at ChangeThis.

3:51 AM  
Blogger justinamaria said...

love that manifesto!!

10:23 AM  

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