Thursday, April 2, 2009

Handmade Nation

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mini-profiles of different well-known craftsters from throughout the country, broken up by region. This is insterspersed with essays about the current craft movement and its significance in a society known for its bloated consumerism. Some of these people come from fine art backgrounds, some do not. Some politicise their actions, some do not. While I believe that this was meant to show diversity within this movement I can't help but wonder whether we are really all so white. I know: this is a perennial criticism for anyone with a liberal arts degree, but it remains so for a reason.

Overall I thought the book was uplifting, if not quite meaty enough. I also thought the West was sadly under-represented and I take issue with the way the book is broken up by region. Can Austen, TX really represent a whole multistate region almost completely on its own?

The last curious thing I noticed was how often those profiled refer to themselves as "makers" rather than crafters, craftspeople, artisans or artists. While I can't really fault anyone for being unhappy with the term "crafter" when it so often seems to be applied to people making a different kind of craft (ie those who are, shall we say, aesthetically challenged), labeling oneself a maker rather than a crafter does seem... well, hoity-toity and just the tiniest bit twee. But if that's what this movement is doing, well, who am I to argue?

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