Indie Craft Parade and the Rise of the Craft Movement

Posted 6 years ago by Adam Gautsch

Indie Craft Parade September 10th and 11thI met with Elizabeth Ramos a while back to talk about the upcoming Indie Craft Parade. We discussed why and how the event got started and other questions of craft in Greenville. It was an interesting conversation and if you're looking for a full explanation of the event, in Elizabeth's own words, watch her Pecha Kucha presentation. That being said, the part of the conversation that really struck a chord with me was a broader question of why are we experiencing a craft revival. From beer and food to jewelry and art people are searching out more hand crafted goods. Why is this? 

Elizabeth's initial answer was great, “We’re tired of stuff”

Amen to that. But, why is this? Is it because the economy ain't doing so well. So, people are saving some money by planting their own gardens and making their own jewelry and, if they get lucky, making a little cash by selling these products as well? That's part of the answer, but it can't be the whole answer.

Elizabeth continues,

Everything that you buy that is handmade has a story behind it and people look for that story...

Somebody is behind this product, making it in their garage or bedroom and the personal nature and authenticity of it is something people long for...

There is a desire for true, for the real.

And when I ask, "but why now" Elizabeth answers,

We are tired of stuff. We are tired of being marketed to. We are looking for authentic goods.

Well said and true, but I’m still not sure about the “why now” part. Is it that we, as a society, have hit our crap product saturation point and now demand a better product with a proper story? This is a romantic notion, but is it a sustainable truth? I'm not sure.

Could hand crafted goods be nothing more than a trend? No better than skinny jeans and silly bandz. There is no doubt some truth to this.

If we look back at the fondue pots in our culture's junk closet it's clear different food and art trends catch fire and fall back. But my hope is some the of the underlying philosophies of events for such as the Indie Craft Parade are planted for the future.

Don't forgot to attend Indie Craft Parade

I must say, from all the care and thought that has been put into the upfront work for Indie Craft Parade I have no doubt the event will be wonderful. You should all go and bring your friends, families and enemies. It's September 10th and 11th at the Huguenot Mill in Greenville.

7 Comments

Nobrainer ~ 6 years ago

This makes me think of part of Denis Leary's Lock 'N Load from '97.

You can't even order a shot of whiskey anymore without some special little story bein' attached to it. You want a boilermaker, that's a tough order too.

"Gimme a shot of whiskey."
"Well, it's not just whiskey."
"Okay, what is it?"
"Well, it's a hundred and eighty-two year old, oak barreled aged, special family recipe sipping whiskey."
"Oh really? Watch this- CLANG! Gimme another one, okay? And give me another and another. I'm gonna sip the whole ******' bottle, *******, all right? And get two bowls of pretzels out here too! Shithead!"

Special family recipe? Y'know what? Sip this! Sip this right here.

Elizabeth ~ 6 years ago

There may be some artists who've picked up craft as an answer to the recession or because it's popular at the moment, however I have a hard time thinking the entire movement is a trend. The artists serious about their craft won't even be tempted to drop it when the next big thing comes around. Trying to make a living as an artist is a huge commitment, one that I assume can withstand a culture's whims.

Adam Gautsch ~ 6 years ago

Trying to make a living as an artist is a huge commitment, one that I assume can withstand a culture's whims.
But can it survive economic whims? If the products don't sell or funding drys up what happens to the art and the artist.

It seems one of the roles of the community is to help fund these artist when they can. But that alone can't make a movement go. Artists need a viable market of willing consumers.

This is part of what I enjoy about the concept of Etsy and the internet in general. Artist can sell in a bigger marketplace than they ever could before. And I hope marketplaces like Etsy and events like the Indie Craft Parade help to push handmade and craft goods into a mainstay of American culture.

Marco Suarez ~ 6 years ago

Looking at the homemade/handmade movement as a trend is kind of a shallow observation. The movement permeates every aspect of that culture. It's an ideology. Not something on par with the South Brach Diet or silly bands. I believe it stems from the conviction that we live in a society of excess. A disgust of everything Walmart and a devaluing of anything mass produced. It's evidenced by how documentaries like Food Inc and King Corn, stores like Whole Foods and Farmers Markets, and organizations like Etsy are causing people to actually change their lifestyles. It is far reaching into many if not all industries. Not just jewelry and beer. Sure there are aspects that are trends and will probably change, but the ideology that embraces a way of living that isn't foreign to many parts of the world, won't change. Events like Indie Craft Parade are just a natural outflowing of a subculture bent on shaking the hand of the person who made their goods they're buying. Though you could never live in an ideal world where that happens every time, it's still something worth trying to achieve. It will be interesting how it morphs and changes as the culture who wears this on their sleeve ages and passes it on, but I would hardly compare this to things like silly bands.

Adam Gautsch ~ 6 years ago

I hope you're right. I hope that some of the key points or reasons for the craft movement last beyond a hot period in the culture.

Mark Brian ~ 6 years ago

I would see the craft movement and the appreciation as being a sign that maybe some are beginning to reject the corporate trash that is pushed upon consumers. Maybe people do want what Dennis Leary was talking about, a little story and a real live person instead of a huge nameless faceless corporation.

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