betsy

I love how the internet can lead you to wonderful wonderful things.

I also love how sites can sometimes carry beautiful ideals with them.

Recently I discovered 20×200, a website created with the idea that great talent doesn’t always come with steep prices.

Every Tuesday one new photograph and one new work on paper is added to the site for purchasing in three sizes:

Small: 200 prints for $20
Medium: 20 for $200
Large: 2 prints for $2000

The site was created by Jen Bekman, who runs an eponymous gallery in New York City, and the photography contest Hey Hotshot!

What delights me most about this site is that it serves as a reminder that “expensive” does not equal “good.” By giving three different pricing options to the buyer, it allows individuals to obtain work that formerly they may not have been able to afford.

By making work available to anyone via the internet, 20×200 gives us the opportunity to see new pieces each week while also reminding us that people who love talented work come from all over the economic spectrum.

This is especially welcome as we work towards building a microconomy of our own via our creativity and are at times walking the divide between those who have and those who haven’t.

The work above is “Manshroom,” a collage by Amy Ross.
The work below is “The Faceted Couroucou,” archival pigment print by Carrie Marill.

faceted

{ 0 comments }

While I do tend to read a fair amount of blogs and magazines, sometimes I need to go elsewhere for a little creative inspiration. It’s less about getting tired of everyone’s amazing creations and constantly inspiring and innovative designs, and more about re-thinking my own creative boundaries.

My Friend Liisa as a Princess,
Colored pencil,
Heli R.,
Age 6,
Sotkamo, Finland

And lately, the Global Children’s Art Gallery has been doing the trick. The gallery is a large collection of user-submitted content of children’s artwork from around the world.

It reminds me to stop thinking about what I can’t do with my work, and to start remembering that there is nothing wrong with coloring over the lines or off the page or even just drawing squiggles with no particular idea of what the end result is or should be.

Seeing art through the eye of children takes me back to my childhood where I created without worry or expectation, just full of energy because I wanted to express myself with paint or chalk or marker or crayon. Just because.

So if you’re looking for some new ideas, try going back in time and see where it takes you.

Smiley Face,
Colored pencil,
Fatima W.,
Age 7,
Kuwait

{ 0 comments }

For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

handmadenation

In the name of all things crafty and good, Faythe Levine and Micaela O’Herlihy crossed the continent numerous times documenting the new resurgence of craft. With a working title of “Indie Craft Documentary,” the film has now been officially christened “Handmade Nation.” Levine is the asker of questions, O’Herlihy is the one behind the camera and together they documented the works of makers and crafters just like you.

After interviewing 50 different artists and makers and traveling to over 15 different cities, they managed to capture this new wave of craft that has changed many of our lives for the better. I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of meeting them both last summer at a festival in Chicago, and in full disclosure, was interviewed for the film. While I am more than honored to be involved with this project, I’d still be in love with it even if I wasn’t…

Here is a sneak peak of the film, now in production, with an expected release date sometime in 2008. In the comments for the video online, one person remarked, “If this is craft then craft as I knew it is truly dead.” I think that what is sometimes overlooked in all of this is that we’re not trying to reinvent something new- we’re embracing something old and bringing it forward to the present.

For far too long craft, both high-brow and low, has been stuck in the shadows of art as something utile, less knowledgeable and easier to rebuff. With projects like “Handmade Nation” in gear, maybe more people will rethink their old definitions and retool their own stereotypes and fixed notions. That is my greatest hope of this current resurgence, that instead of bringing about alienation or creating a rapid trajectory with no firm ground, we come one step closer to cherishing our traditions and familial histories.

(Thanks to Linda Permann for the photo. And for the curious, the crafter being interviewed above is none other than Dennis Stevens of Redefining Craft! Apologies to any international crafters who may feel slighted… I’m sure there is a void for you to fill in this regard in your own countries, too!)

{ 3 comments }

Living in the American Southeast? Hankering for some handmade?

Get on up to Raleigh tomorrow for some fabulous things, talented creations and amazingly friendly crafters!

From 11am-5pm. Be there or be square!

hooray for handmade!

40 talented artists, designers, and crafters will showcase their handcrafted goods at The Handmade Market this Saturday, May 5th from 11am – 5pm at Vintage 21 (209 Oberlin Road, Raleigh NC).

Visit the website for directions, a list of participating designers, and other important information: Handmade Market. Once you experience the handcrafted goodness and guilt-free shopping at The Handmade Market, we think you’ll agree that “mall” is a four-letter word!

{ 1 comment }

newhelmetheadoldhelmethead

For a long time knitting has been an activity that was used for good. In many past wars, people at home showed their support for the troops by knitting them needed items. (If you’re interested, you can see more here.) Helmet liners have been one such item that have been knitted for the troops, as they provide warmth in cold, harsh climates.

Keeping this in mind, Cat Mazza (microRevolt) launched a new project, Stitch for Senate, yesterday on the 4th anniversary of the U.S. involvement in Iraq. From her site:

Stitch for Senate is an initiative of knit hobbyists making helmet liners for every United States Senator. The helmet liner pattern was adapted from a support-the-troops initiative for soldiers stationed in Iraq. All the senators will receive their own helmet liner, and Senators can opt to send helmet liners to a soldier once they receive the helmet. Charitable knitting during wartime has been a tradition since the American Revolution. The Stitch for Senate website will compile testimonies from knitters reviving this cultural trend, seeking to understand what knitters express through wartime knitting: charity, allegiance, patriotism, resistance, radicalism, etc. and use the tradition of political organizing within knitting circles as a space for storytelling, discussion, exchange and protest.

Currently she is looking for people to sign up for this project as she will need two knitters from each state of the U.S. to volunteer in order to take it to is completion.

Regardless of your political views, it’s sad that knitting for the troops has such a long and involved history, but speaks volumes that despite the times, people still are finding ways to use their creativity for good.

{ 8 comments }