CraftyPod #86: Indie Crafters and the Craft Industry, with Mike Hartnett

27 Feb 2009


The Ranger Ink booth at CHA - always packed!

 
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In this show:

- An interview with Mike Hartnett, publisher of Creative Leisure News and veteran watcher of the craft supply industry.

- Thoughts on where the craft industry has been, and where it's headed.

- A fascinating look at the trends that have risen, fallen, and shaped the way we craft.

- Discussion of how the emerging indie crafter community fits into all this.

Links:

- Be sure to check out Creative Leisure News - the archives are free, or you can sign up for a trial subscription.

- Don't forget: you can email Mike with your perspectives on indie crafters - he'd love to hear them.

- This was the CHA and the Indies post here on CraftyPod that got this discussion started.

- Mike mentioned the CPSIA in the interview. Modern June has an excellent roundup of CPSIA-related links.

- Another piece of legislation affecting indie designers is the Orphan Works Act. There's a very nice breakdown at Public Knowledge.

- We also talk some about the Craft & Hobby Association.

Categories: 

Comments

Thanks, Diane & Mike! This was great!


That was fantastic, thank you so much Diane and Mike!


I found this fascinating, thank you both.

One trend that I predict is a rise in individualism in crafting, with people getting more confident about doing it their own way instead of slavishly following patterns. I think that online crafting communities are strongly encouraging this trend with their emphasis on sharing ideas and peer education.

A related area that may also be influencing this is the way the 'traditional' division between the fine art and craft worlds seems to be lessening somewhat. In the last few years I've seen a much greater acceptance of crafting techniques and materials within the fine art world.

When I was in art college, I often used to prefer going to my two local craft stores instead of art stores because the craft stores ALWAYS had new and exciting products that sparked ideas for new work, whereas the art shop was far less innovative. Perhaps the craft industry needs to be made aware that artists are also buying their products - it's certainly not all 'middle aged, middle class white woman' (although I confess that I as well as being an artist, I also fall into all those categories). My art spending is still split between art stores (both online and bricks and mortar shops), craft stores (almost entirely bricks and mortar stores), my local haberdashers and my local hardware store.

If I was a crafting company, I'd be marketing things like small, cheap but decent printing presses or screenprinting machines so that people can afford to do printmaking at home. The outcry over the Print Gocco shows that there's a market for this kind of thing. I'd also be developing further products that can be used with computers because I think that the up and coming generation are increasingly at home with doing stuff on computers. Although I think the REALLY smart money may be in online services where you upload your own images that are then professionally made into objects like books, fabric, cards etc. I'm thinking about companies like Moo, Moonpig, Blurb and Spoonflower where the emphasis is on professionally made items that are very individual and personalised.


I love this podcast! I learned so much and came back with a lot to think about. I'm in the midst of listening to it again. I am not sure yet how I feel about the 6 big companies who have swallowed up everyone else. I do know that a lot of crafters, who may not be repurposing or working with found objects, can only buy and work with what they have offered up to them. And Mr. Hartnett is right; we need a major bringing-forward in media, imagery, and materials. I'm working more and more toward making my work as original as it can be, using tools I've made myself and re-purposing materials. But that doesn't mean that most people want to do that or should do that. What will keep craft and innovation alive is the big 6 (actually, the big 3) offering younger crafters supplies and images with which they identify and which can fire their imaginations. That's the seed of passion and the spark of innovation. Many people will not gather inspiration from the well-worn standards. That doesn't mean they don't have something to say or a passion to create. This is one way an industry survives, by moving forward.


Great podcast... I'm forwarding this to my mom as we speak. It will probably get her all nostalgic for macramé and decoupage! Ha ha!


Thanks, Diane & Mike! This was great!


I found this fascinating, thank you both.

One trend that I predict is a rise in individualism in crafting, with people getting more confident about doing it their own way instead of slavishly following patterns. I think that online crafting communities are strongly encouraging this trend with their emphasis on sharing ideas and peer education.

A related area that may also be influencing this is the way the 'traditional' division between the fine art and craft worlds seems to be lessening somewhat. In the last few years I've seen a much greater acceptance of crafting techniques and materials within the fine art world.

When I was in art college, I often used to prefer going to my two local craft stores instead of art stores because the craft stores ALWAYS had new and exciting products that sparked ideas for new work, whereas the art shop was far less innovative. Perhaps the craft industry needs to be made aware that artists are also buying their products - it's certainly not all 'middle aged, middle class white woman' (although I confess that I as well as being an artist, I also fall into all those categories). My art spending is still split between art stores (both online and bricks and mortar shops), craft stores (almost entirely bricks and mortar stores), my local haberdashers and my local hardware store.

If I was a crafting company, I'd be marketing things like small, cheap but decent printing presses or screenprinting machines so that people can afford to do printmaking at home. The outcry over the Print Gocco shows that there's a market for this kind of thing. I'd also be developing further products that can be used with computers because I think that the up and coming generation are increasingly at home with doing stuff on computers. Although I think the REALLY smart money may be in online services where you upload your own images that are then professionally made into objects like books, fabric, cards etc. I'm thinking about companies like Moo, Moonpig, Blurb and Spoonflower where the emphasis is on professionally made items that are very individual and personalised.


I love this podcast! I learned so much and came back with a lot to think about. I'm in the midst of listening to it again. I am not sure yet how I feel about the 6 big companies who have swallowed up everyone else. I do know that a lot of crafters, who may not be repurposing or working with found objects, can only buy and work with what they have offered up to them. And Mr. Hartnett is right; we need a major bringing-forward in media, imagery, and materials. I'm working more and more toward making my work as original as it can be, using tools I've made myself and re-purposing materials. But that doesn't mean that most people want to do that or should do that. What will keep craft and innovation alive is the big 6 (actually, the big 3) offering younger crafters supplies and images with which they identify and which can fire their imaginations. That's the seed of passion and the spark of innovation. Many people will not gather inspiration from the well-worn standards. That doesn't mean they don't have something to say or a passion to create. This is one way an industry survives, by moving forward.


Great podcast... I'm forwarding this to my mom as we speak. It will probably get her all nostalgic for macramé and decoupage! Ha ha!


That was fantastic, thank you so much Diane and Mike!