Sunday, 26 January 2014

On "crafting"...

Although I have unforgivably neglected my blog over the last few months years, I will try and make more of an effort, at least until January and all its determination to stick to New Year's resolutions are well and truly over...
So, Happy New Year, all !!!

Notice the quotation marks in the title ? Yeah, not a typo, sadly. Actually I felt that the way the term 'craft' (and 'crafting') is being used lately made it necessary to qualify the word slightly. Do not get me wrong: I know it is a great trend at the moment, and I wholeheartedly support anybody who gets up and makes anything with their own hands rather than purchasing a mass produced product. Equally, I am aware that ability and dare I say talent are not evenly distributed, so the first garter stitch scarf knitted by person A might mean a whole lot more than yet another 20 colour fair isle jumper produced by person B.

But I feel the way this trend has been bandied about and presented in the press lately leaves a lot to be desired. Ok, it needs to be accessible, people need to feel like they can be part of something without committing to a 5 year intensive learning curve - I totally get that. But pressing a motive out of a die cast sheet and sticking it onto a pre-folded piece of card does not make you a master card maker. It certainly doesn't make you creative, regardless of what the manufacturers of certain craft product would have you believe.

I collect vintage craft books, and I have learnt the bare essentials of what I do from both of my grandmothers and my mother. Based on this and the assumption that I do not happen to stem from a long line of household paragons, I would say it's safe to assume that the average skill level has somehow diminished over the decades. That is totally understandable; neither of my grandmothers would probably have been able to send an email, and I wouldn't want my mother let loose on Photoshop, so something's got to give.

But each time I see somebody write about "crafting" as if it's this amazing new thing that is 'so now', and each time I see someone trying to sell a badly stapled-together piece of tat on Etsy with the air of offering a great artisan piece, a little voice inside me wants to just scream and scream until it all disappears.

Feel free to use the comments to discuss, I would love to hear (read?) your take on this.