WARNING: Facetious Content Ahead. You’ve been warned.
If you work in the craft industry or run your own handmade business you will hear the following at least once in your creating lifetime:
Person:”Hey, have you seen (insert current viral craft project here)? ”
Crafter:”Oh, yes I sure have.” (beginning to wonder where this will lead)
Person: “It’s so cool! It looks so easy!”
Crafter: “Yeah, but the supplies to make it are kind of spendy.” (slowly starting to cringe inside.)
Person: “Oh, I’m sure I could make it really cheap.”
Crafter: “Yeah, you could. But, do you know how to (insert main concept of craft featured in the viral project here)?”
Person: “Oh, I could just look at a tutorial online! It will be so easy!”
Crafter: “Sounds fun – yeah.” (But inwardly saying “Just smile and wave.”)
If I sound facetious it’s because secretly, I really am. Just ask my husband – boy do we make a pair.
Anyway, this year in the yarn world the viral project was massive arm knitting. (Currently, it’s ‘messy bun hats‘)Army knitting is beautiful, cozy and so impressive. Everyday I went to work I had at least one person ask me about yarn they could use to arm knit. I loved and hated it.
Loved the fact that any kind of knitting was being exposed to more people. The more people that learn how to knit the more love there will be in the world! Hated it when they didn’t want to go forward with it once they found out how pricey it could be. But, it’s not for everyone and that’s fine.
The other day, one of my students mentioned her relative saw the artwork of Anne Galante and wanted her to make the same thing. After we all had a good laugh my heart went out to her and my frustration level went up towards her relative. (Someone I had never met.)
My frustration wasn’t really aimed at that one person – whom I never met – but really at all people who take one look at a hand made project and think : “Hey I could make that – or – I know someone who could make that for me.”
Since the introduction of Pinterest, Instagram, and Etsy handmade items and cool projects have received massive exposure. It’s very good but also very bad for those who have honed their own craft to a high level.
It’s good because it gives talented artists and business owners a platform to showcase their work, and others to actually see it. It’s a wonderful way to attempt to make a living off their passion and a way to connect with others who are like minded. I love browsing all the shops on Etsy and profiles on Instagram to drool over all the creativeness.
However, it’s very bad when a majority of the viewers coming to these sites try to find a way to either deconstruct the artists’ work or find a cheaper way to make and sell a version of it for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with downloading a pattern you paid for and making it for someone as a gift or if someone wants to pay for the work you put into it. But, when people start to look at artwork and forget all the passion that went into creating that piece and see it as a way to make money for themselves then the point of Etsy, Instagram and Pinterest has been lost.
I’ve really enjoyed my experience of being commissioned by friends to knit items for them. In my case those who bought my knitting didn’t know how to knit and they had seen something online they really liked. They were more than happy to commission me because they wanted to support my work.
I think I need to clarify where I’m coming from just incase I sound or come off snobbish. I do think if someone sees a project online and they want to try it out they definitely should. That’s why I get to meet new students! Where I get a little controversial is pointing out the internet has stolen creativity when people only want to make the exact same thing and profit from it themselves. They miss out on seeing the passion and years of experience going behind what they’re copying.
So, what do you think? What is your passion? Am I just a big snob or do I have a point?