01 December 2008

Craftsexy, Pt. 2

These are hard times. Recently, NPR interviewed Chicago residents who had lived during through the Depression. Earlier this year I was saying, "Have you noticed no one talks about the Depression anymore? When I was a kid in the 1980s older people talked about it all the time. In our pre-Fall 2008 fantasy world of endless economic growth, it just wasn't done." Well, obviously, people are talking about the Depression again now.

This all makes me think of crafts, honestly. Maybe because here in Milwaukee we just had Art v. Craft, and craft is very sexy right now. I also think it could be a way to bring people together because I think one of the reasons craft is very sexy right now is that people--at least the ones my age--have been actually angry about being separated from their ability to create, do, or make--which is something I think we need to do as human beings (which is perhaps one of the reasons I spent my year at Madison enraged) and pushed to consume. During the 2004 election I was canvassing in Beloit and, somehow, I got started talking with this old lady about the Depression. She said the things I've heard before--that nobody had anything, that people walked everywhere, that people shared and helped each other out. Well, when you think of it--the sharing, the coming together, the community--this could be craft's shiny moment. I don't think necessarily it would save our economy--because I'm very suspicious of the notion of consuming our way out of whatever trouble we're in (cuz that's usually what got us into trouble to begin with). But I think it could help us save ourselves.

Last night I felt a hankering to start researching 1930s crafts. I think it would be great to get together with friends and whip some up. People could have parties! I mean, yes, I've loved the Dirty Thirties for a long time--as a spoiled brat Gen Xer and history dork--for the design and, well, the immediacy. So, let's rent Bonnie and Clyde and bite Faye Dunaway's style; wear the cute little berets and geometrical patterns; organize walking parties and dance marathons; have canning skill shares. You get extra points if your man looks like Clark Gable.

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