Monday, July 13, 2009

A Handmade Nation review & a commitment to community

Last Thursday, I saw the Vancouver showing of Handmade Nation, the documentary that documents the modern craft movement directed by Faythe Levine. I was really taken by The Little Friends of Printmaking, a couple who talked not just about their craft (silkscreening posters) but about the politics involved in the art vs craft movement (plus, I've loved their posters for years). The Buy Olympia guys were fun to watch and I loved how they started their business by the seat of their pants. Jenine Bressner, a glass bead maker, was also a highlight since she was awesomely wacky and she was really great at narrating what she was doing while holding a blow-torch. I found it super inspiring and it reminded me so much of my 20s when I was making zines, making movies, reading Bust magazine, playing bass guitar in a punk rock band, and volunteering at a local underground cinema. The documentary brought up all kinds of nostalgic feelings which is kind of strange since it's a film completed this year.

While I'm definitely a part of the new modern craft movement with my 2 etsy shops & recently participating in craft fairs around town, somehow I feel a bit more removed now than when I was in the thick of it back in my 20s. I guess it's because I do most of my creative outlets by computer now. I work from home running my own business with my husband, I have my popular food blog, I use Illustrator to work over my sketches, I sell online, I respond to people's questions via email and I Twitter.

While I do feel a connection with others online, I'm much more removed from the camaraderie and person-to-person contact that I used to have daily. As a response to that feeling, I recently I made a commitment with myself to meet up with new people - food bloggers, crafters, web designers - and step outside the cushy online comfort zone that I've created for myself in the past few years. And so far, it's been good. I've attended social events, crafty gatherings, and met a host of wonderful people in person. I even got to attend a small but totally rad party to welcome Faythe Levine the night before the film showing. Want to know Faythe's favorite food at the party? My lemony goat cheese stuffed dates! The internet is a great place to bring people from all over the world together and create community, but it's just as important to create those ties in real life as well.

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Anonymous Kim Werker said...

When I left my job at the end of last year, one of my motivations to do so was that I'd spent five years working from home. Working from home with people all over the U.S., and traveling all over the U.S., and despite having lived in Vancouver for nearly seven years I felt I didn't have a work or crafty community here. So even though my goal is to continue working from home, I've been doing my best to get out of the house and to meet more local people who are interested in the things I'm interested in. All of the events surrounding the film screening last week were like a giant effort in that, and it's why I had so much fun.

Let's grab coffee or something sometime soon, eh? Here's to new, local crafty friends.

10:12 AM  
Blogger kickpleat said...

Kim, last week was so much fun & it felt so great meeting so many wonderful new people (yourself included!) Yes, let's grab a coffee soon! Hooray!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Courtney | telly designs said...

I love this! Last week was fun, and your dates were my favourite too! I've never eaten anything like that before...
anyway, it was amazing to meet and put faces to all the creative folks that make our crafting community what it is, I'd love to meet up, swap ideas, share challenges and learn from each other more often! And maybe even craft a thing or two along the way as a community. Keep me posted, I'm in like flynn!

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Shael said...

dang! I missed out on those dates!

2:29 PM  
Blogger kickpleat said...

Courtney, it was great meeting you! And glad you liked the dates too :) Indeed, we should have more crafty gatherings!

Shael, they were delicious apparently (I didn't have one because I'm not a huge date or goat cheese fan, but I know they're popular whenever I make them!) Did we meet? I met so many people that night (and didn't meet so many others!)

2:34 PM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

Exactly! Which is why we need to meet up :) Great post and I know how you feel about the need to be connected on a more in-person basis. It's something I haven't done in a while but I used to get together with other women to network every month. Once you get back into meeting and greeting, you realize how important and fun(!) these get-togethers really are.

6:59 PM  

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