It’s always a little weird to publish a story that I’ve been sort of thinking about for a couple of years. The craft-DIY scene, or phenomenon, or movement, has interested me for a long time, for a bunch of reasons. I guess — I hope — I’ve now covered a lot of those reasons in the Handmade 2.0 story.
I should also mention that there’s a chapter devoted largely to DIY/craft in the book I have coming out next year, Buying In. (Somewhat incredibly, you can already pre-order said book from Amazon, even though the pub date is June 2008.)
I view this story as a kind of sequel to the earlier “brand underground” article that I wrote last year. That piece actually makes offhand mention of crafters, in fact, as well as indie designers (like those written up in this New York Magazine story.) I see the participants in these various scenes as being part of the same broader indie-preneur phenomenon. There’s more about that in the book, where it makes more sense.
I’ve written about participants in the DIY/craft scene both on this site and in the Times Magazine several times before. In July of 2006 I did a column on My Paper Crane (and that was what first brought me in touch with Faythe Levine, who is in the Handmade 2.0 story); some reactions to that column collected here. I’ve also done Consumed columns on DIY-scene-related subjets including soap-makers, Poketo, Kate Bingaman-Burt, and gocco. On this site, the very first Murketing Q&A was with Bethany Shorb/Cyberoptix Tie Lab, maker of cool ties, and I’ve noted corporate sponsorship interest in the DIY idea here, here, here, and here.
Anyway. Here are a few more links:
First, some stuff from the story. Here is what I called Etsy’s running DIY business school site/blog: The Storque. The site of Faythe Levine’s eagerly-awaited documentary Handmade Nation is here. The Austin Craft Mafia is one of the great stories of crafting culture; several members of the ACM are interviewed in the book. Meanwhile, here is co-founder Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching. Hart has also been writing a DIY business column for VenusZine, installments of which are here and here. Here is Craft Magazine’s Craftzine blog. The story makes passing mention of Renegade, among other craft fairs. I went to the most recent Chicago version and there was a lot of great stuff I wish I could’ve gotten into the piece. They also have a store in Chicago now. I also mentioned the Craft Congress in Pittsburgh, and I believe some of the organizers of that event also organize that city’s Handmade Arcade fair.
The Etsy store of Circa Ceramics is here; their work is definitely worth checking out, and you might be interested in this interview they did for The Storque. Emily Martin, AKA The Black Apple, might be the best known Etsy seller; she’s very nice and very talented. Here is her blog, and her Etsy store. Finally, thanks to Jean Railla, who in addition to writing for Craft, can be found at her blog Meal By Meal.
I spoke to an awful lot of crafters who unfortunately I didn’t have space to specifically mention in the story. Atlanta-based Christy Petterson is a maker of jewelry and other cool stuff under the name a bardis, a columnist/editor for GetCrafty, and an organizer of the Indie Craft Experience. Artist AshleyG is another great Etsy success story whose work is really nice. Angel D’Amico makes cool clothes that she sells through Etsy. I quite like the work of Le Photique, another Chicago-based Etsy seller, who makes jewelry. I also want to thank Jenny of craft fair/teaching resource/store Felt Club. The unnamed crafter in the story whose observation that without a market the movement isn’t sustainable made such an impression on me at the Craft Congress, is Rachel Lyra Hospodar, of Medium Reality. Finally, Betsy Greer is one of the truly thoughtful observers of and participants in the new craft idea, and is I believe working on a book on the subject.
There are many others but this is getting ridiculous. Please check out some of these folks if you have time. The sort of unwieldiness of the craft/DIY scene is part of what made it interesting to write about, but also what made it hard to write about.