Marie Rounsavell shares her review of the new book Handmade Nation: the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl today on the Guest Blog.
Read Marie’s review and then leave a comment on this post for your chance to win your very own copy of the book! I’ll pick one random commenter to win on October 17th at 12 noon.
***EDITED – Congrats to Carrie from Iowa who won a copy of this book. Thanks to all who left comments!
by guest contributor Marie Rounsavell
Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
2008, Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl
The history and progress of Handmade Nation is familiar to many of us in the indie community. In 2003, Faythe Levine brought her crafts to Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago. She felt the energy of the participants, dove into the community, and was compelled to begin the process of recording it in 2006. Two years, 15 cities, and 80 interviews later, Faythe is putting those of us who have only met in virtual spaces face to face, albeit in a movie theater. Finally.
Well not quite finally. The movie still hasn’t been released yet and we’ll all just have to wait (sigh) until 2009. We’ve been baited with youtube releases and most recently the stop-animation opening credits, but for those hungering for more, the book has made its way to shelves near you.Hooray! Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl’s book is finally out!
But you probably already know that too. The book companion to Handmade Nation has been as eagerly anticipated as Handmade Nation the documentary. Not only are the crafty blogs abuzz, but mainstream print media such as the New York Times, who touted Faythe as the Ambassador of Handmade, have taken notice and by doing so have added a certain mainstream credibility to (or at least familiarity with) the gist of the handmade movement.
But those who would take that attention to mean that the handmade movement is a trend would be wrong.
Reading the first person narratives of the 24 artists, designers and crafters included in Handmade Nation is to read 24 plot lines that reach almost the same conclusions. Credibility isn’t the goal; more often sanity is the goal. These 24 stories show the individual paths that the movers and shakers in the craft community have followed. Most mention learning their craft from someone they love. Many stress the importance of learning and passing on the ability to make things for one’s self. With a couple of exceptions, you get a general sense first of frustration with life/job/art and then of relief that there was some craft to which the path returns. It’s inspiring and familiar.
The additional contributors Garth Johnson (extremecraft.com), Callie Janoff (churchofcraft.org), Betsy Greer (craftivism.com) Susan Beal (susanstars.com), and Andrew Wagner (craftcouncil.org) highlight the importance of this comfort zone in the context of the crafting community. They paint an overall picture of how the handmade movement functions, where it exists, how it came to be, and where it fits in the greater art vs. craft debate.
If you don’t already know what the heck is going on in the indie craft world, this is a great place to start. If you are already hip to it, the pages of Handmade Nation: the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design is a great place to hang out and drool while you wait for the documentary to come out.
Sublime Stitching Handmade Nation embroidery pattern with art from artist Kate Bingaman Burt is available for sale here. It’s only $4.50 and a portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting the documentary.
About the Contributor: Marie Rounsavell writes the blog Marimello. Marimello is a new space to highlight offbeat crafting, discuss the how and why of crafting’s resurgence, and help crafters promote themselves as the original greenies in a big box store world that is getting greener (so they say anyway).