hip to be cool – is whiplash too alternative for you?

by kath_red on 15/11/2006

in News+Letters, Whiplash

June at Planet June sent me this email – Thanks June for your honest feedback – What does everyone else think?

I have been thinking it over for 2 weeks and I cannot think of anything I could make that would fit into this [month's whiplash theme - Alt Craft] category. And then it came to me: I am not alternative. And maybe that’s okay – I make up my own designs and patterns, so my work is not entirely traditional or derivative. I’ve seen some amazing alt-craft projects on craftster etc, but I admire them without wanting to do something similar. I like the things I make, and I don’t want to put time and effort into making something that doesn’t “fit” with me.

Maybe I’m not alone in this… There are suspiciously few entries this month (only 5 at the time of writing) – a lot less than usual. Maybe everyone is too busy, or leaving it to the last minute, but maybe there are others who feel the same as me.

Kudos to the folks at whipup for creating whiplash and the amount of crafty brilliance it generates each month. I’m not criticizing their choice of theme. I just wonder: is ’alternative’ now the only way to be cool? Have I just pigeonholed myself into the ‘unhip’ corner? I am proud of my work the way it is and I don’t want to feel pressurized to change my style (even though the pressure is probably all in my head).

And that’s why I’m not going to enter whiplash this month.

I am curious about what others think. Is whiplash just boring now, is everyone too busy with Christmas coming up, or is the theme just not a happening thing for the whipup readers? I want to know – feedback very welcome, and thank you June for starting the ball rolling.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kcquilts November 15, 2006 at 7:33 pm

I feel the same way! I’ve been trying very hard to come up with an idea, but it just isn’t happening. I’ve done every Whiplash since July and am upset at missing this one, but it just isn’t my thing, I guess.

2 Tanya November 15, 2006 at 8:18 pm

This month’s theme was a little vague to me. I just haven’t had the time to try to figure out what I would make to fit in. I’m also working on product for an upcoming craft fair so it seems a little frivolous to make something that I might not sell. Maybe a little more direction next time? Still love the site though!

3 emily November 15, 2006 at 9:25 pm

I was going to enter this months but really, for me, it’s about time. I keep thinking about Christmas coming and have to do some practical things (to sell) as well as make gifts for friends and family.

I actually liked the theme for this month in concept. I’ve thought about it on and off again but when it comes to creating, I can’t seem to get anything out for the competition. Again, it’s mostly a time factor on my part. I hope by January I’ll feel ready for a challenge.

Oh, and I’m not put off by the word “alternative”, though I can see how it may make creating difficult for others.

4 k8tykat November 15, 2006 at 10:51 pm

i have to agree with june on this one. although i love reading and seeing what others can do with alt materials i’m just not interested enough. i really thought about what i could possibly make but maybe i am just lacking that alterna-craft gene?

5 mary November 15, 2006 at 11:14 pm

Me too. I am very crafty and like to make things with my hands, but generally “alternative” crafts are a bit too abstract for me. DIY is already the alternative from the norm, but I can’t say that I’m into the alternative within the craft arena itself. I’m happy making things that are beautiful and practical and not always interested in making things that are subversive or just rebellious.

6 Heather November 15, 2006 at 11:14 pm

I agree with June. And it also has something to do with timing – if the theme has been holiday home decor or somethiing like that you probably would have got a ton of entries. December would probably be a writeoff in terms of time in general, but I bet come January all our creative juices will be flowing again!

7 MamaCatfish November 15, 2006 at 11:21 pm

Time is the issue for me. With 2 small kids, the holidays and all other other commitments I have going on with my art, I just couldn’t find the time for it. I do look forward to participating in other contests after the holidays!

8 Jennifer November 15, 2006 at 11:27 pm

Honestly, the entire fall I really don’t have the time to enter- NanoWriMo this month, then Christmas gifts next month.

Might I suggest for next month’s that you just have people post interesting gifts they are giving for other people? That should make things easier so people don’t have to make an extra something else on top of what they are already working on.

9 Lindsey November 15, 2006 at 11:30 pm

I did enter whiplash this month, but was actually quite stumped when I first saw the theme. Then I ended up to be the first to post my entry…I was not going to enter this month bc I first decided alternative meant “edgy” and maybe too out there for me. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided I could interpret the catagory to suit my design aesthetic. At the end of the whole ordeal, I really appreciated this month’s theme bc it pushed me to think differently then I normally do, and really pushed me in the materials that I use…

10 strikkelise November 15, 2006 at 11:31 pm

I don’t consider myself very alternative, but I do get a lot of inspiration from people doing unusual, surprising and sometimes provocative stuff. That’s also something I’m looking for in the blogging world, new uses for old material, and new approaches to old techniques.

Maybe that’s the same with a lot of us crafters, although we aren’t ‘cutting edge ourselves, we like looking to the folks who are. Maybe.

My reason for not entering lately has much more to do with lack of time than with not liking the themes. I need some luck to be able to come up with, start, and finish something during a fortnight.

I think a lot of the entries for the earlier themes have been rather alternative, too, so there’s obviously an alternative crafter crowd out there among the Whipup readers.

11 Lindsey November 15, 2006 at 11:32 pm

Sorry-forgot to mention this too! I personally would like another catagory for December. I know I will be super busy with gifts, and out of town for a week, but I would enjoy something different to work on. Maybe not a complex catagory, but something fairly general so it can be done by us all in a day.

12 greetingarts November 16, 2006 at 12:01 am

I find that most entries come streaming in on the last day or two (although this month, especially, has been sparse). I’ve always had a little trouble making the two week deadlines, and at this time of year, I just don’t have room for this on my growing list. I didn’t have a problem with the “alt” category, although maybe the word itself is throwing people off. I just think of it as using untraditional, unique items and materials, perhaps in traditional ways?

13 Kat November 16, 2006 at 12:20 am

I think for me if the theme doesn’t bring something to mind to me in the first day or two I consider myself out & I just don’t do “alternative” crafts. Plus the holidays have really filled my crafting time as usual.

14 bekka November 16, 2006 at 12:23 am

i’m too busy with Christmas coming up AND the theme doesn’t speak to me.

15 camilla taylor November 16, 2006 at 12:42 am

This month, I just don’t have time to make something that might not be useful. Most of my crafts involve some sort of recycling and reusing of materials, like the orange juice jug boning in my last entry.

Normally, I’d be really into this theme, but this month I’ve had tons of orders and wholesale orders and that just takes precedence.

16 Carly November 16, 2006 at 12:50 am

I guess I didn’t know if my work would fit. I’m pretty alternative in an un-hip way.

Had I noticed this part of it “traditional materials with original patterns” I probably would enter something. Actually, I think I will right now!

17 Andi November 16, 2006 at 1:28 am

I know that a lot of crafters are busy with holiday craft fairs. That’s where a lot of my time has gone this month. The theme was one that didn’t immediately click for me and given the other constraints, Whiplash got pushed to the back burner. I know that Whiplash is supposed to be a quick response to the theme, but I think that everyone wants to do well and show their best work and at this time of the year that’s more difficult with such a short window to go from concept to finished project. Maybe we need more time for the Dec. challenge? I love the IDEA of Whiplash but it has been difficult to participate.

18 Susan November 16, 2006 at 1:30 am

I thought was a very interesting competition, but very untimely. I imagine everyone is working (a little too) hard to create fairly traditional things that will likely be given away. “Alternative” = lots of experimentation and the time that that involves.

I’m hoping you’ll try this one again in the future.

19 stephanie s November 16, 2006 at 2:19 am

constraints on my time have been the reason i haven’t participated lately. i love the idea of an alternitve challenge. if i had more time to think of different applications for traditional materials or the other way around i would have loved to participate this month… maybe the next time. keep up the great work.

20 Stacie November 16, 2006 at 2:26 am

Oh no! I have never entered Whiplash. I guess it’s time that I finally did. I guess I am just too busy to bother right at this moment. I have 8 more sales that I am doing between now and Christmas so I am busy making things every day. Also, it is time again to make start making holiday gift for people and to start getting things together for that.
But if there was ever a theme, this would be the one for me. Many of the things I make to sell are made out of recycled materials. I am a huge pack rat and I save everything until I come up with a use for it. I probably have some entry worthy pieces in the trunk of my car sitting outside. I just don’t have the time to photograph it and put it up. I love the theme because there’s so much that is possible. I can’t wait to see what everyone has come up with.

21 camilla taylor November 16, 2006 at 2:27 am

Scratch my last comment. I just realized that i’ve been working on a project perfect for this.

22 CraftyGinger November 16, 2006 at 3:16 am

I must agree with June! I love alt crafts, but it’s not my style – I’m slightly traditional and slightly my own crafter. I admire alt stuff, but I don’t find it so inspiring that I have to go out and make something. I’m much more inspired by crafts that I have some experience with (ie. sewing/knitting.)

23 bunchkin November 16, 2006 at 3:17 am

Can we say HOLIDAYS???? I am going crazy with trying to get everything ready for Christmas, I have to come up with half of the Thanksgiving meal for the extended family, and I am attempting to finish a sweater in a month. I have seen several competitions, Knitalong, etc going on, but I am just too busy to even think about them. EEEK! I know a lot of people are going through the same thing at this time of year.

24 Chelle November 16, 2006 at 3:40 am

For me..entering the contest would be a nice kick in the butt for me to get my creative self going. I love alternative crafts and I love traditional….I would like to meld the two together to create something unique and different. Maybe the lack of responses is due in part to the upcoming holiday stress or maybe people are just busy. As with all things I assume that there are highs and lows every now and then with the number of people participating in contests throughout the year. I love this site and it has given me so much inspiration. As far as alternative crafts..I think even Thank you Whipup for being here.

25 Jen November 16, 2006 at 3:51 am

For me, at least, there is no “alternative” or “traditional” – there is merely Craft. I do not divide my techniques or materials into categories – they blend and overlap in whatever way is required for the current project.

So although I may do things that others would consider “alternative” crafting, I never think of them as such myself.

Other than that, I don’t enter the contests because I’ve always got a full slate of projects of my own. There’s plenty to do here without picking up ideas from whiplash!

26 Ellen November 16, 2006 at 4:03 am

I love Whiplash, but haven’t really been inspired by the last few themes…but I’m always checking back to see what the next one is! Sounds like a Christmas theme for December would be perfect!

27 susan b. November 16, 2006 at 4:06 am

I would love to enter, but this month is just way too crazy for me with pre-holiday crafting and work (which is the same reason I’ve never once tried to do the NaNoWriMo either–the timing is always awful). I think the idea is very cool and I’m really intrigued… but I’ll just say that I’m looking forward to January, and hoping to do more projects for fun then!

28 Valerie November 16, 2006 at 4:42 am

For me it’s been about time – I have done some “alternative” type crafts (although like all your themes, as Linsey says, you just have to interpret the theme to fit your aesthetic). I just have been sooooooo busy for the last whatever.
A Christmas theme for December sounds nice and cozy, but what about those who don’t celebrate Christmas?

29 tiff November 16, 2006 at 5:05 am

this is the first whiplash for me and strangley the only one that “spoke to me”
i love the idea of craft, the lovely handmade thing, the generational thing.
I find it is accesable to anyone needing to create, however i also want to create something original, and the whole process of finding that part of me that needs to create, is a process and thinking outside the square, however difficult that usually is for me, I want to be pushed and challenged, now more so than ever.
I get where the other crafters are coming from, but for me i want progression too.

I loved this months category and loooove whip up, thanks!

30 Katrin November 16, 2006 at 5:12 am

I wonder what different definitions of “alternative” people are using. The challenge only specifies a traditional item made with non-traditional materials or vice-versa – that seems to me to be open to wide interpretation.

It would be unfortunate if “alternative” now signifies only those crafts that are edgy, subversive, in-your-face and (of course) necessarily made by young hipsters. There’s a market for those, but it’s a finite one that leaves out a lot of crafters who are still innovating, pioneering and pushing creative boundaries in their own ways. Not to mention that funky hipster crafts are so popular nowadays, they’re not really alternative at all.

I’ve been wanting to enter a Whiplash for a while but haven’t yet. As many people have commented, I love the idea for this one but not the timing – too many holiday craft obligations to spend enough time experimenting.

31 admin November 16, 2006 at 5:14 am

definitely a gift theme for Dec is on the cards. Thank you for all your thoughts.

32 abigail November 16, 2006 at 5:35 am

although i have never entered whiplash myself…i always enjoy seeing each theme set..and of course, what is produced as a result.

I think this theme in particular would really push people to come up with something new..and stretch their normal bounderies – which, in my book is a good thing. although it can seem uncomfortable, it is often at these time you could come up with a seed of an idea that you could return to and use at another time, in whatever form of crafting you usually feel more comfortable with.

…..Many of the whiplash themes are such that readers are able to enter projects they are making anyway, which is always lovely to see…but not neccesarily in the spirit of a challenge!! :) – yes, this theme has perhaps come at a bad time with the holidays coming up – but i think the challenging aspect of the theme is something that should continue to crop up from time to time….it mixes {whips?} things up after all!!!

33 Eden November 16, 2006 at 6:34 am

I don’t have the time to make a specific project for the themes but I love thinking about what I would do and I find the themes inspiring and good fun. I say keep them up. You can’t please everyone.

34 sarawithanh November 16, 2006 at 6:54 am

I think whether or not this theme inspires or leaves one cold has primarily to do the perseption one has of what “alternative craft” is. I’m not likely to make a skirt out of Coke cans but I am up for knitting with wire or grass or sewing with paper or using other unexpected materials. For me the idea of alternative crafting has little to do with the edgy, avante garde, or hip (which is how I think many people who’ve commented here view it and not without reason) and more to do with expanding my ideas of what is knittable or sewable. Ultimately I think that’s what many alt designers are trying to do too but I think they push those boundaries in a different direction than I and perhaps most others would.

My idea for Whiplash was to make holiday ornaments out of wire and other less typical knitting materials but I simply don’t have time right now to execute anything. I think my idea falls under the perview of the alternative but I’d hardly call it untraditional and it was certainly appropriate for the season. I’d encourage people to think about the concept a little more before they completely write it off. Perhaps your feelings on the subject won’t change in the end but perhaps they will.

35 Kelaine November 16, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Gosh, I was pretty excited by the theme as my art is very alternative and untraditional. I love traditional craft but I always end up subverting it… For me time has been an issue this fall as well as complete lack of organization of my supplies. But I love seeing everyone’s entries and the inspiration posts.

I don’t feel that every whiplash contest has to be for everyone. They are a lot of different types of art and craft and I would rather see it all represented rather than a narrow focus. Lots glory in all of it! I especially like it though when the whiplash pushes someone into a new area of creating and you read about their inspiration on their blog. Change, growth and excitement are catching.

36 Patricia November 16, 2006 at 3:38 pm

I loved this month’s theme, it was a timely invitiation for me. I found it challenging and stimulating, so much so, it has led me into an entirely different direction in my work. I love to play and I love the process of discovery and challenging myself.

I truly appreciated this topic because it helped me push my own dimensions. Although it has been a busy month for me and I have yet to do extensive work in my studio, my art journal is brimming with new ideas.

I tend to think of the word “alternative” as simply a way of looking at or considering things differently. All traditional crafts at one time were considered alternative; ideas were derived out of necessity, absence of materials or the presence of new ones, experimentation, intentional exploration and even mistakes. For me, that is what creativity is about and what makes designing and creating exciting.

What I like about this site is the fact that it is varied, inclusive and at the same time, of quality. It’s natural that we respond to things differently and to some things more so than others; we are all different and we all have a different perspective.

I have found the topics on this site to be interesting and thought provoking in one way or another. I tend to draw ideas from all mediums. Whether I use the ideas here directly or not, being stimulated creativity helps me engender new ideas and sometimes direction, as well as improving upon old ones. I think there is room for topics like these. I include myself among those who sincerely hope you continue with them in the future.

37 gale (she shoots sheep shots) November 16, 2006 at 9:01 pm

Disagreeing with June, whiplash is a wonderful way to see innovative crafting, I want to see the alt and edge pushing continue. There are many existing venues for traditional crafting, , I read whip-up for the alt coverage. Keep doing what you’re doing. Hip, cool, whatever label gets thrown on it.

fyi- I’v enever entered whiplash and I’m old(er) than many of your readers but who cares, much fab inspiration here.

38 sooz November 17, 2006 at 12:26 am

I think it’s also to do with so many of us having ongoing projects which snowball if they’re not completed at some point.

To put them to one side and to focus on a theme which doesn’t instinctively ‘grab you’ isn’t easy – especially as the project for whip-up does need to have full-on attention for the short(ish) duration of the entries to be completed by.

Sometimes it’s a confidence thing too – there are some very accomplished crafters out there!

Perhaps the themes need to be more specific – colours, textures, materials?

However, please don’t think that we’re not all grateful for what you do here though – it’d be tragic to stop whiplash and it’s good to be able to give you an insight from so many interested parties.

39 mk November 17, 2006 at 3:16 am

Way too busy.

40 Karina/Fototiller November 17, 2006 at 5:27 am

I love the theme this month and this is the first month that I’ve thought about entering. Unfortunately, this is a very busy time of year so I don’t know if I’ll have time. But the theme has me thinking of new ideas in my head – would love to see this them again at a less busy time of year.

41 mo November 17, 2006 at 9:02 am

I love whiplash- I am certainly not bored with it. It has been such a great catalyst for me to make things or try new things. For me the alternative theme was tough because it is a bit loaded of a word. There was a sense that alternative = hip and cool. As you can see by my entry though, I thought about it and figured alternative could encompass more, i.e alternative materials. It must be difficult to find themes every month that will resonate with the masses. I would hate to see whiplash fall to the wayside though.

42 Tasha November 17, 2006 at 12:53 pm

I just randomly stumbled across Whiplash…last night. And the alt craft theme actually sounds really really neat (and also something I personally would be more likely to give a go at, being more abstract), and I would love to see what other people do with it to spark some more intriguing and different ideas, but I don’t think I’ll have the time to do anything for it myself. If the timing were different, I think I would totally be doing something for it, but I just don’t have the time right now with the holidays approaching.

43 Violetsrose November 17, 2006 at 5:02 pm

The thing I notice most about Whipup is that its always posting stuff to do with kids – all the time – now and then would be fine but sometimes it just feels like its turning into a kids website – not what most people want froma craft/inspiration site

44 Carson November 18, 2006 at 5:33 am

I agree with many of the commenters..please keep it going. I had an immediate idea for a project to submit, but this is such a busy time of year for me with work (I’m a freelancer and a teacher) that I just simply don’t have time to execute it. Maybe if it was after the holidays?

45 mereteveian November 18, 2006 at 9:19 pm

Many of the thoughts here are similar to mine.

For me whiplash is also about daring on so many levels. Mostely because I know so many great and artsy crafters are out there and will be entering their projects.

I do find wiphlash of great importance to me, – it pushes my limits and take me down roads I’ve never walked before. Or challenges me to try something old, but in a new way.

Lots and lots of small desitions to make, – not just the challenges of finding the time, be inspiered and sit down and create.
Can I really call this project my ‘own’?
Are these shots good enough for a blog entry?
Next, – how do I write well about my project?
And am I just showing the piece or will I be making a tutorial?

And do know that there might be people like me out there in a blogger’s word: We do get challenged and even get down to create a piece or five. It’s just that the ‘stuff’ do not make it into the blog…

46 sarah November 20, 2006 at 12:33 am

eeek … I’ve just set up my blog and was wandering about the web trying to sort out links I want to put on it … when I found whip it up … it was so exciting to find it! So … eek … is my reaction to someone critising it … it was just what I was looking for. Perhaps alt craft is a little daunting … but i think its interesting … wide open brief even … traditional materials, original pattern is an easy way of fufilling it … but i’m too late … next time!

47 Tamar November 20, 2006 at 1:09 am

Personally, I’m not interested in “alternative” crafting – I like to make stuff like sweaters knit from wool yarn and quilts pieced from cotton scraps. But I don’t mind the theme, because Whip Up has some much stuff to offer, there is really something for everyone. My only gentle criticism is that I sometimes see a subtext to the “alternative craft”-type posts here, namely the idea that Craft should be taken seriously because it is really Art. Well, I don’t consider my crafting to be art, and I don’t think craft needs to be edgy, subversive, arty, etc. to be beautiful, interesting, and worth bothering over. Of course I could knit a tank cozy or whatever, but I’d really rather knit some warm, useful winter gloves. So, I think it’s wonderful to showcase all sorts of different crafts, as long as they are valued in the same way.

48 natasha November 25, 2006 at 12:24 pm

wow. i was really disappointed that so many people think that whiplash is meant to be “alternative” which in their eyes means elitist. i find that the craftspeople and artists that i have met in this network and the people who are on this blog are the cream of the crop, yes, but most of them use very traditional materials to make very creative things. in many cases the things made or talked about here are decorative and whimsical, but many articles have tons of functional things that you can make to your own specifications.

i am always saddened to hear someone put themselves outside of a group because they think the group wouldn’t find them “alternative” enough, which is the most propostorous thing i have ever heard.

art and craft are different things and have been the center of heated debate for a long long time. i don’t think most people consider their crafty endeavors to be fine art, but also are very talented and creative and make amazing things that don’t fit into the old fashioned idea of craft.

i won’t bore anyone with my art history lecture, but the difference between art and craft is intention (for starters, anyway) and if someone reads this blog, they must find something interesting, if not, why are you reading it?

this blog is here to show us what amazing things are out there, not so we can copy them or not, but to give us inspiration to try a new technique, a new idea, a new material. it is edgy. it is modern. it is alternative, and that isn’t a bad word. there are tons of sources for more traditional crafty stuff out there, so for those of you that feel that you gain nothing from reading it…i am sorry. you are really missing out.

open your mind! try something new! you might discover something that you really enjoy.

i love whip up, i love the contributors and i see lots of stuff i would never make or buy, but i love seeing what is out there and the incredible artists and craftspeople churning out magic 365 days a year. and all this for free? whoa!

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