Friday, December 31, 2010

viva la craft revolution

Have been a little slack in the blog updates, with Christmas and New Year's taking up time. We had a lovely, relaxing christmas and a pretty quiet New Year's eve too, but sometimes that is just what is needed. I have a pretty hectic next few months in getting the thesis completed by March, so time to relax and re-charge the batteries is most welcome.

One of the chapters I am currently working on is regarding the beginnings of the indie craft scene - what is it and how does it differ from traditional craft? Also, what makes it similar to other subcultures/scenes? Of course the word 'indie' has clear links to 'independent' as used in music, film etc - but what exactly makes the craft indie and how 'independent' does the crafter need to be to qualify as such? Is that even important anymore? As you can tell - I have plenty of unworked questions for this chapter.

I found this fairly recent post by Betsy Greer on craftivism very interesting - I wish I could have heard the talk at Oslo. Riot Grrrl music was important to me as a young teenager and discovering the connections between the music of the time and the motivations for DIY and making things yourself. Punk and alternative subcultures have always interested me and making connections between these cultures and the resurgent craft scene has provided me with that hook to get into the whys of making.

Pre-Exhibition opening kate macgarry gallery... ready to go

Chicks on Speed, Stereo Warp and Weft: Hanging Speakers

and Chicks on Speed have also been inspiring towards the discussion of indie craft - I remember seeing them in 2008 I think...they were so amazing and inspiring. They did have plenty of the crowd against them and the attitude by certain male artists stank - CoS handled it so well and gave a fantastic public talk and in their way proved exactly what the opposition to feminism/DIY/craft acts like.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

great finds

Love this, such a clever idea - it is by Vector Cloud and would make a great Christmas present (or Valentine's Day).

Cross Stitch Heart Necklace (personalize)

Cross Stitch Heart Necklace (personalize)

I found it on See-Me-Everywhere blog, a new discovery and one I will be returning to.

On the weekend I read this column in The Australian by Emma Jane in which she discusses how often Christmas presents are not wanted/needed and end up being either re-gifted or put in the rubbish. She also gave a list of 'crafty' options to buy this year such as; Subversive Cross Stitch, Bust and Or make something yourself, hmmm - I think I have left it a little late on that one.

However, I have been buying some gifts from 'Handmade' sellers/crafters/makers. An element to the fun in doing this is the hunt, searching the web for something cool, stalking the aisles of craft markets looking for that special 'thing' which will make someone happy when they open the gift wrap. So many things that I would like to buy for myself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

new on my radar

I'm sure I have seen the work of Donna Wilson around, researching craft blogs means that I see a lot of craft - but today I went to her blog and had a read and look at her work. Love it!
Here are some examples from her websiteDonna Wilson pieces
Part of my research has been looking at how indie crafters manage the transition from small business/hobby to becoming big businesses. The article on Donna Wilson in The Guardian seems a perfect example of a designer starting off small, believing in their product and how they then approach filling large orders with big homewares companies without sacrificing their principles.

Another blog post which caught my attention today was that by Hobby Princess regarding big multi-national companies like Pepsi, Wal-Mart dealing with an increase by consumers in online sales. The move to online sales, I think is linked to consumers wanting more choice and an increased awareness in buying from independent retailers. This has been an area of change in which the big retailers will not be able to compete with.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Work is a four letter word

Setting myself some goals in regards to thesis writing this week. I want to have the chapter I am currently writing completed by the end of this week, ready to send to my supervisors for some feedback. Also, I need to make final changes to the Morrissey book and write a couple of exhibition reviews. My aim is to get all thsi done before Christmas - well Christmas Eve. Then I will be working through January to get the thesis done by March.
I've also noticed there are quite a few sessional staff positions advertised at my Uni, would love to apply for them but unsure if I should wait until the thesis is completed. However, that would mean waiting until next year when the positions would next be advertised.

from PhD comics, can so relate.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

To Market

The rise of the 'indie' craft market has been gaining pace here in my hometown. The once a year 'nanna craft' type quilters market is seeing competition from an increasing array of local craft markets, pitched at the younger demographic. As my thesis deals with the issue of marketing craft as a consumer product the increase in Markets has been on my radar. They provide a fantastic opportunity for local makers to take their product out to consumers and conversely allow those who want to buy handmade to do so.

Initially I had concerns that the markets were being directly pitched as 'indie', little more than a branding exercise. Get the right, idiosyncratic image and your market was guaranteed a crowd. However, the more I attend craft markets the more I see the diverse product range and creative investment that people are investing in their craft.

Today I went to the Box Factory Christmas market and bought a card from the Red Thread collective, a cross stitch kit from Radical craft plus badges and a cute love heart headband.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Currently inside writing a chapter on why people make things by hand and the definition of 'handmade' as it differs between visual arts and applied arts. Came across the Cumulus Project, which makes 'one of a kind, one project at a time'. Love the 'stump stool'.


Most of the research on the current resurgence in handcraft points towards the link between an increasingly technological work and home life and the desire to engage in tactile pursuits during leisure time. Then of course, there is the process of the handmade craft going 'online' through digital representations on blogs. This part of the thesis has been fun to formulate. As it does not signal purely a rejection of technology but an embracement - on the terms of the indie crafter. As consumerism runs rampant, the crafter is able to gain satisfaction through making and participate in ethical consumerism.

A perfect example of this is the buy handmade pledge, a consortium of groups asking people to sign up and pledge to only buy handmade for "themselves and their loved ones".

While I agree with the idea of supporting local, independent designers/crafters/artists - I will admit that I don't always strictly adhere to the idea of a 'pledge'. The rise in crafts markets over the past two years in my town is making it easier to buy handmade and support local artists. It can be difficult to make the considered choice to always buy handmade for everyone but it is absolutely worth supporting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ideas sparking everywhere

A brief visit to the blog to say that I am really busy at the AAANZ conference - it has been great and I have listened to many papers which have got me enthused about research again. I think that it what is so great about attending conferences. Ideas, references, new trains of thought...can't wait to sit down and write with some fresh thoughts.

So I will post a longer reflection on the conference soon.