Handmade Nation is now a book! October 4, 2007

I’m so pleased that Faythe Levine has turned her craft documentary, Handmade Nation, into a brand-new book project. She’s co-authoring with Cortney Heimerl and their book will be published by Princeton Architectural Press in November 2008, with fonts specially created by the lovely Kate Bingaman-Burt. Handmade Nation will profile twenty-five crafters around the country (a full list is here) and five writers will contribute essays on craft culture: Betsy Greer, Callie Janoff, Garth Johnson, Dennis Stevens, and me!

Handmade Nation

I’m so happy to be part of the project — I will be writing on the evolution of craft fairs, which I think is a fascinating topic. When I started out selling my own stuff eight years ago, I never would have dreamed that craft sales could include bells and whistles like DIY tables, interactive events, raffles and prizes, kid-friendly activities, or motorized cupcakes. I loved the church bazaars I went to as a kid, don’t get me wrong, but I think there’s something very cool about what’s going on now.

On a similar topic, I just wanted to mention something that’s been on my mind since the Willamette Week article came out and a few comments have popped up over there. Though the piece had a fairly specific alt/new craft focus, I personally love vintage and traditional crafts, and have nothing but respect and admiration for the older generations of handmade work. I have no bias whatsoever towards scrapbooking (I made my first one this year for my mom’s 60th birthday, in fact) or any other craft. I’m not as drawn to some as the ones that I’m really crazy for, but don’t we all have favorites?

Both my grandmothers were incredibly crafty and I really treasure the handmade pieces I inherited from them. I wish I had been old enough to learn more from them before they passed away, but I like to think they would enjoy what I’m doing now, too. And personally, I think soccer moms are pretty cool — my own mom is one, for goodness’ sake!

I guess what I’m hoping to get across is that I love craft in all its forms. There is something so incredible about creating a birthday gift for my nephew or my best friend where no money changes hands and the object is destined for someone I adore, but I also feel so much satisfaction teaching a craft class, making a pair of earrings to fill a website order, or binding a quilt for a magazine article. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to earn my living doing what I love, and I never take that for granted — as a feminist, a crafter, or a woman writing the rent check.

Thanks for reading, by the way! And I really appreciate the lovely comments and sweet e-mails too.

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