March 18, 2008
The mention of a craft project no longer has to bring to mind clunky macrame window hangings or the dreaded and ugly scarf so lovingly knit by grandma. A change has come to the world of craft and with it, photo opportunities. As Rob Walker wrote in the NY Times last December, ‘…the new wave of crafters (have) infused uncool-sounding domestic skills like knitting and sewing with a postpunk attitude that revolve(s) partly around mall-rejecting self-sufficiency.’
Along with the buy local food movement, the growing popularity of making and buying homemade goods of all kinds is part of the living green sensitivity that today’s buyers often seek married to a hip sensibility called ‘I can do it myself.”
Not only does making and buying handmade objects give a feeling of doing good for the environment, it provides a somewhat self righteous feeling of doing something that isn’t dependent on technology. Except, of course, selling crafts on line beats the heck out of dragging stuff to the local craft fair.
The most interesting aspect of this new movement is the replacement of images of grandma knitting tea cozies with those of movie stars and indie rock musicians taking their needlepoint to the studio to pass the time between sets. Knitting and needlepoint patterns are no longer limited to baby bonnets and cheesy flower needlepoint for corny pillows.
Hand hooked rugs provide a large canvas for art. Many well known artists have been involved in works of art woven into hand made rugs.
People are drawing on their creative skills to create unique objects using many different traditional crafts. One article mentions things like felted iPod cases and other humorous uses of knitting, for example. A good place to seek out samples of the new craft movement is at the most popular place for buying and selling original pieces here
So what does this have to do with your photography? Whenever there is a trend, articles are written about it and photos and illustrations are required. The ‘knitting isn’t just for old ladies’ movement that started the convergence of old school knitting with the ‘post punk’ generation started the movement about five years ago when it was announced that Julia Roberts was a knitter. By now it’s more than a trend, it’s a movement.
We have very few images of the major specialties such as knitting, pottery, needlepoint, jewelry making and other crafts featuring younger people and their hip, creative projects. We are looking for young people as well as older adults making crafts that border on art…and not just women either! Many think knitting was invented by fishermen of old and grew out of the practice of making fishnets. More about guys that are man enough to knit here and here
A very cool knit shop opened in my little town five years ago. Within months everyone in town seemed to be knitting including men, women, kids, children and teens, both boys and girls. Now on a winter day our main street is filled with people wearing wonderful creative, albeit sometimes strange sweaters and caps. Makes an interesting place even more entertaining. Find hip hats and sweaters that are handmade for your models too.
A site that discusses the 'buy handmade' ethos here
Craft fairs that specialize in selling items from the new craft movement here