it’s bingo time!

Gentle readers, you will have to forgive me today. This may yet turn into a Force Seven rant, so I advise you to make sure those hatches are battened down, all small and easily excitable children and animals are seen to etc etc etc.

There are some attitudes to crafting (and indeed, those of us who do so) that I fail utterly to understand:

  • Craft is an anti-feminist, retrograde enterprise and women who craft are not feminist or are setting back the cause by doing so
  • People only craft/do things for themselves now because it is trendy, not out of any form of necessity, and they certainly didn’t grown up doing so
  • Most people who craft just make silly needless little tchotckes that are amateurish, poorly made and a waste of materials
  • Craft is a waste of time when you can buy everything readymade
  • People who craft do so because they aren’t capable of anything more high-minded/intellectual/worthwhile
  • Crafters are white, relentlessly middle-class trendy/hipsterish types

A few of these attitudes crop up in this article (published in the Observer yesterday), but the main one that caught my eye is that the last one mentioned. Those of us who craft *apparently* only do so because we are unwilling or incapable (mostly the latter but also both) of doing anything more serious. You know, worthwhile. Knocking out shapeless jumpers in front of the Late Late (oh, Fintan, such fail!) instead of reading, or running businesses, or.. well, something *useful*:

“But I am uncomfortable with the subtext to some of the more modish incarnations of doing things with your hands. Why do women want to embroider when they could be reading Hegel?”

This article is hardly the worst offender. It does hit the main knocking-craft bingos mentioned i.e. crafters waste their time making rubbish (“Why do people insist on bedecking their houses with homemade candles and old mirrors adorned by an inept mosaic frame, when all these things are clearly both hideous and slightly creepy?”), crafting is boring and takes a long time and is not usually worth the bother (“Luckily, I already have a scarf. I bought it with money I had earned by going to work instead of staying at home and making things.”) and aren’t people only doing it because it’s trendy? (the “modish” reference above) but it saves us most of the more sexist, classist and patronising assumptions and inferences, I suppose.

I’m not so thin-skinned that these attitudes upset me or put me off, but I find them desperately tired and boring. Change the record, please! I’ve no interest in trotting out my intellectual/’useful’ bona fides just to prove a point. I make things from necessity, because I love to do so, because of curiosity and largely because for me, a day without making things or experimenting is not my kind of day. My crafting kin have these reasons and more for what they do. We’re not represented in the prevailing narratives; we’re not bored and witless fashionistas, and neither do we pine for a time when women knew their place. We’re curious about the world, we love history, we love colour theory, we love the communal element of crafting and most of all, we love the satisfaction of something well-made, long-lasting and utterly, utterly unique.


7 thoughts on “it’s bingo time!

  1. ranting allowed! & I can relate–as neighbor pointed out after visiting my pottery shop & studio: “any one can do that– all you need as an old record player and an oven…’ keep on keeping on–crafting!

  2. So insulting! I am knitting so I can give my children some unique Winter wear, so I can let them know how much I love them with something more practical than chocolates or Peppa Pig magazines.
    For me, knitting gives me some time to myself, as a Mum of two small people this is not something I get a lot of! I knit in my car on my lunchbreaks from work, I knit in the evenings while my Hubby and I catch up on the events of the day.
    I will confess to being worried about how much of my previous reading time I’m taking up by knitting to a deadline (the really cold weather) so I’ve started downloading MP3s of books to my Kindle. Broadening my mind while I knit and purl? Heaven forfend!

  3. I just felt sorry for her after skimming the article. She will never know the joy of creating something unique, beautiful and useful.

  4. Well said Ms. That article pissed me off no end. She is patronising and nasty and unimaginative and essentially rather sexist.

    I think the Most Infuriating Statement prize goes to: “Luckily, I already have a scarf. I bought it with money I had earned by going to work instead of staying at home and making things.”
    I don’t even know where to start with how ignorant/patronising that is!

  5. Folks, thanks so much for your comments on this thus far.

    Kay, I can barely credit that someone would be rude enough to say that but sure, bless their heart ;).

    Aisling, the audiobook thing is a great idea. I often listen to scores of pieces or documentaries, but like you I’m worried for that oh so precious reading time.

    Jenny, that’s a fair point. The admire-yet-disdain thing was pretty heavy in this piece, wasn’t it?

  6. Deirdre, hah- had to rein it in just a tad. The writer here is hardly the worst offender..

    Alice, the quote you mention raised my hackles a bit too. It’s hard not to read it as saying that one makes things as a second-best option, a far from ideal alternative to doing it ‘properly’ by buying it readymade.

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