The New York Post, The New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal and has been a trending topic on the DIY blog, Twitter and Google Plus scene. Will the buzz keep buzzing? I'm excited to see.
I have been part of an ongoing discussion that started on Twitter and moved to Google Plus hosted by the always thoughtful and thought provoking Sister Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod about the virtues or lack thereof of this show and what it means for crafting. There seem to be two very definite sides to this. One side is excited about the show and the energy it is bringing to crafting. One side can't get past the whole competitive crafts aspect and thinks the show is bad for crafts and crafters. They don't like the blatant corporate sponsorship and the celebrity host. They feel like it misses the community driven, non-competitive spirit of DIY and targeting mass market appeal towards crafting is distasteful to them. Which is a valid argument, where is the feel good, camaraderie of creativity in a fast paced competition show?
There is a sense in my mind that some DIY craft people feel like they are members of a secret society of makers and if it gets out to the masses that crafting is cool...it won't be 'cool' anymore. DIY became the calling card of the counter culture over the past ten years or so. Stitch and Bitch, Bust magazine, Craftzine, Craft Mafias, Etsy, Maker Faire, Art Unraveled, Pinterest, Polyvore, Facebook, Yarn Bombing and the explosion of DIY bloggers much of it driven by the increasing power of the internet over our reality have all made formerly isolated crafters feel connected and empowered. We can share ideas and projects and our love of making with people all over the world. And just like "Put a Bird on It" in Portlandia, crafters are taking their crafts seriously. Sometimes, maybe a little too seriously. They're only crafts after all, and though creativity is vastly powerful and transformative, not every creation changes the world. Sometimes it's just some pom poms, glue and glitter having a little get together and that's cool, too.
As a lifetime member of the square peg club, a club into which I was born, I do sometimes feel like my passion for DIY makes me different and special. I felt that way when I was part of the post punk scene in the 1980s. Everyone wants to find their tribe. And just like when the post punk scene became co-opted by corporate retailers and began to dissolve, it really can feel like you're losing your tribe if it is embraced by the masses. That square peg identity that unites us also in some ways defines us and if everyone starts doing it, well then, where will we fit into that metric? I can't say.
Still, as a person who makes a living as a crafter; I also love seeing this surge of excitement around crafts. I don't know where it might go, but isn't that the fun part? Even if you hate the show, isn't it kind of cool to see crafters on TV and people talking about crafting?
And here's a little food for thought...this is the first time in craft TV history when the full power of social networking is behind the momentum of crafting. Think about that and more importantly, think about the opportunity that lies therein for us as crafters to lead the way, bang the drum, spark the conversation, influence the zeitgeist, spread the glitter! We can help make the buzz even buzzier! Then even if you don't give a hoot in a handbag about TV shows or mass market awareness, the traffic to your blog, the views on your YouTube videos, the shoppers in your Etsy store, the folks listening to your PodCast, buyers for your e-books, the students for your online classes...will increase! And if you want to see different kinds of DIY TV shows, social media gives you a platform to unite with others who feel the same way and campaign for them.
This is good stuff, all of it, the buzz and the debate. I hope it gains real momentum. I believe we all hold the spark of creativity in us, every single one of us, and it is my mission, my goal, my passion to help people who feel like they can't be creative to realize that they can. Watching that spark ignite, now that's something to get excited about. And as I said last week...Viva los Crafts or more aptly Viva Los Crafters!