The essays the book contains on indie craft, and DIY, are the most thoughtful portion but still nothing close to a complete picture of why people make things.
And one minor complaint: while the photos for many of the artist profiles look great, some of them seemed arbitrary and even after looking at 5 photos I only have a vague sense of what this person makes (I guess I'm supposed to feel inclined to look at their website?) I enjoy getting a peek into the studio as much as the next person, but when images of the studio outnumber images of the actual crafts...I'm a little confused.
Editorial Reviews The Ambassador Of Handmade, The New York Times: "Their energy is infectious, which is why I call D.I.Y. the punk rock of the craft world." Penelope Green (September 4, 2008) Handmade Nation Documentary Begins Screening This Month, Paste Magazine: "Levine's subjects are independent-minded folks who've taken up DIY mantle passed down from generations gone by, valuing the handmade over mass-produced and craft over convenience. Some members of the crafty crew will also host a number of talks and lectures at colleges and community centers, with a few other stops scheduled to promote the film's companion book, also titled Handmade Nation." Rachael Maddux (January 16, 2009) Salt Lake Underground: "Levine gives us just enough to get your interest peaked and makes you want to blaze your own trail of entrepreneur fame." Meg Griggs (December, 2008) Girl On Film, ReadyMade: "independent artists, crafters, and shop owners of all stripes - from avant-garde embroiderers to designers of books, calendars, and eco-friendly shoes." Valerie Rains Community Of Craft, Shepherd Express: "The tools are familiar: embroidery hoop, needle and thread. For Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y., Art, Craft, and Design, which is the textual offshoot of a film project due for release next year, Faythe Levine criss-crossed the U.S.A., racking up 19,000 miles to interview and document dozens of artists, makers, crafters, and designers. The crafty duo is behind the book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design (and, for Levine, a documentary of the same name to be released in 2009). See It Thursday., On Milwaukee : "The 65-minute movie documents a movement of artists, crafters and designers that recognize a marriage between historical techniques, punk and DIY (do it yourself) ethos while being influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art.It includes interviews with more than 50 artists in 15 cities who explain how the new wave of craft, "forges a new economy, lifestyle and burgeoning art community that is based on creativity, determination and networking," says Levine, co-owner of Paper Boat Boutique Gallery in Bay View and organizer of the yearly indie craft fair Art vs. Craft.A book by the same title, written with Milwaukee artist Cortney Heimerl, was published in October by Princeton Architectural Press." Julie Lawrence (February 4, 2009) Journal Sentinel: "Levine has helped bring attention to the do-it-yourself craft movement through her book and film." Mary Louise Schumacher (January 30, 2009) Sewing It Together, The Silhouette: "The book promotes all forms of art, and creates a sense of inclusivity between all artisans rather than setting divisions and categories. It will be interesting to see just where DIY is heading next." Sarah El-Hamzawi (January 29, 2009) Craft Arts, WNYC BBC Brian Lehrer Show: "Faythe Levine, artist, photographer, filmmaker, curator and author of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), and Callie Janoff, co-founder and New York City Minister of the Church of Craft, talk about the new craft movement that weds DIY and craft techniques with a punk aesthetic. For more information and flash player you can listen at WNYC by clicking HERE" Brian Lehrer (February 12, 2009) *Special Edition* Interview, Design*Sponge: "In 2006 faythe levine traveled the country, putting 19,000 miles under her belt and visiting 15 cities to document the new wave of craft in the usa. in 2008 the companion book (co-authored with cortney heimerl), handmade nation: the rise of diy, art, craft and design hit shelves. They're also all involved in expanding the definition of what art is by employing and/or championing styles, subjects and techniques that we're more accustomed to seeing anywhere but a museum." Jen Bekman (February 17, 2009) American Craft: "This past week, Faythe Levine, the creator of the much talked about Handmade Nation film blew through New York with her co-author Cortney Heimerl for the New York premiere of the movie. Click HERE to read the full feature on PBS online." Molly Finnegan (March 3, 2009) I Spy D.I.Y., Thread Banger Video Blog: "A video interview from threadbanger video blog." (March 4, 2009) Flavor Pill: "First-time documentarian Faythe Levine traipsed across the US to stitch together insights into America's DIY community." Tanya Feldman (March 3, 2009) Handmade Nation And The Rise Of Diy, Juxtapoz Magazine: "C'mon, break out those knitting needles your grandma gave you. Though most newly minted crafters will readily pay their respects to those who came before--people have been making things by hand since they first created tools, after all--this new generation of sewers, welders, gluers, collage makers, weavers, paper artists, and jewelers are all blazing trails uniquely their own, applying a sort of punk, indie ethos to it all." Emily Mills (March 16, 2009) MX Magazine: "Being crafty has paid off for Faythe Levine.
Craft Fair here in Milwaukee in 2006. Craft was the brain child of Milwaukee crafter, musician, documentary film maker and boutique owner, Faythe Levine. And along with Cortney Heimerl, Ms. Levine has written the book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design. In Handmade Nation, Levine and Heimerl interviewed various crafters throughout the United States and tells their stories in the crafters own words. The crafters profiled arent just funky artistic types; theyre also business people, organizing craft fairs and setting up their own shops on Etsy.com. JW and Melissa have been designing art posters for years and they also teach how to create silk screen prints. To see two such talented people profiled in Handmade Nation is quite a thrill. * I was fortunate to see this documentary when it was shown at the Milwaukee Art Museum a few years ago, and I will post a review of it shortly.
This a beautifully designed accompaniment to Faythe Levines documentary of the same name, with a simple clean layout, colourful photos and titles, maps and an amazing timeline of the indie craft emergence in a more playful, hand drawn style. In this respect the layout and concept of Handmade Nation is rather similar to that of The Crafter's Companion: Tips Tales and Patterns from a Community of Creative Minds however there arent any projects in this book for readers to make.
Instead, the contemporary craft movement embraces emerging artists, crafters, and designers working in traditional and nontraditional media. For Handmade Nation (along with the documentary film of the same name, coming in 2009) she and Cortney Heimerl have selected 24 makers and 5 essayists who work within different media and have different methodologies to provide a microcosm of the crafting community.
Mini-profiles of different well-known craftsters from throughout the country, broken up by region. I also thought the West was sadly under-represented and I take issue with the way the book is broken up by region.