Saturday, October 2, 2010

Handmade Nation-A review of the documentary

I recently had the opportunity to watch "Handmade Nation" by Faythe Levine at the local art museum and was so encouraged by its message. This wonderful documentary highlights the unique qualities of today's crafting world. If you haven't already experienced or noticed the independent craft  movement, an uprising birthed from a merged variety of desires, you should give the documentary a look. It shows that world from the many perspectives and operations, from buyer to seller to designer.

While the crafting style focused on mainly is the indie punk, its message is universal to the current crafting universe: be yourself and go for it. Whether that means making a two headed deer plushie, or a hook rug with a rather pornographic image on it; its the expression that matters to the industry, not the preciseness of technique. It was plain that today's crafters are transforming grandma's hobbies into something all their own and yet that community of those more traditional ways are not against this movement at all. The response, according to one crafter interviewed, has been nothing but open and encouraging.

The change in process is not about the money, says Handmade Nation, it's about expression. It could be the desire to express your environmental consciousness, your political views, or a means of  breaking free from tradition or convention.

Many of those interviewed began their crafting out of a need to be artistic, something they had been encouraged to do in their youth but were now finding absent in their day to day grind. This is a feeling all to familiar to the viewer. And it is in that way that the documentary, though very handmade in its own style, is encouraging. It's not surprising that indie-punk is leading the way, since another reason for the increase of this means of crafting is it that it is a response to the commercialism so prevalent now. It is, in a sense, a rebellion against the waste made by our overindulgence, the disconnection of something purchased verus handmade, to the big box shops of the world, to the lack of creativity found in everyone wearing the same thing from the same store for the same reason.

It doesn't limit the artist to work within boundaries, Handmade Nation shows those boundaries being tested, eliminated and incorporated to accomplish a whole new art form. It is a concept which can be applied to crafting no matter the style. The artist's spirit is inherently longing to be unique, it only makes sense that eventually it would rebel against such constitutions. By the end the viewers can see that the land of Do-It-Yourself is a hotbed of creativity accessible to all who wish to visit or live there and it is, according to Handmade Nation, a very friendly, open and encouraging place to be.

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