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I've found that mainstream media (or at least non-indie craft media) coverage of the indie craft/DIY movement never quite gets the story right -- overemphasis on Martha Stewart, overreliance on the "this isn't your grandmother's craft!"* angle, leaving out the politics of handmade work entirely. But this New York Times Magazine article comes pretty close, especially on the political motivation behind DIY. He covers the rise of Etsy, the Craft Congress, and the Buy Handmade pledge. It's a recommended read.

So, speaking of buying handmade stuff, I know it's a little late for a holiday gift guide (especially since I don't even like Christmas), but there may be some of you out there who have waited until the last minute and are considering girding your loins to just go ahead and go to the goddamned mall already (or worse, Wal-Mart). And I'm here to tell you -- don't do it! There's still time for a handmade holiday!

You could get something from any of the fine Chicago Craft Mafiosi or any DIY Trunk Show vendor. They all make neato things with their actual hands.

Can you find a cooler purse or tote than those made by No, you cannot. I tell you this as the proud owner of FIVE Poise bags, and also because Poise proprietor Cinnamon is totally good.

Victoria Slone recently rehabbed her line of vegan bath and body goodies into Lotions and Potions. I don't pamper myself often, but I am a fiercely loyal soap aficionado, and Victoria's got the goods, people. Her special holiday scent (pomegranate-orange) is sweet and spicy, but my favorite is the white tea-apricot lotion -- you will smell like delicious candy all day long! Also: gift sets!

Phineas has affordable prints of sad animals. Nothing says Christmas like sad animals!

But actual animals shouldn't be sad! For the dog or cat in your life, how about some handmade political toys? Our cat Tigger enjoys biting her catnip Donald Rumsfeld.

Emily Kircher, Recycling Artist, makes wonderful new things out of questionable old things. Picture frames, crocheted rugs, bottlecap magnets -- all impressive and nifty!

Evil Eye Emporium makes big, heavy silver rings that rock. I got the teacup ring. It makes me happy.

Who doesn't love Shawnimals? No one does not love them.

If you or the people you love would like to see some handcrafted theatrical performances in 2008, how about a Neo Punch Card? Give the gift of experimental theater in 3-show ($30) or 5-show ($50) increments!

So there you go!

*I no longer have any use for this kind of differentiator when discussing the modern indie craft rah-rah. It worked for me a few years ago, but I've reconsidered. I mean, technically it is your grandmother's craft --knitting is knitting, beads on a string are beads on a string. There's a different aesthetic sensibility, a different political sensibility, but I'm a little tired of outside observers trying to get us to disrespect the work of generations of women before us.

Replies: 6 Confessions

You rock, lady! Thanks for the shout out. I think I own something from each and every one of these wonderful people that you mention. And their work is all great.

Do you really have 5 bags? Wow! I can't even remember what they all are.

And you so craft like a grandma! *snerk* I'm right there with you on this. I'm considering applying for a media training/feminist grant just so I can get help crafting a "grandma crafting ain't bad" platform. See you soon!

Cinnamon @ 12/17/2007 01:26 AM CST

Yep, five bags: pro-choice messenger bag, wool messenger bag, little brown corduroy purse, modified Emy purse, and the grey tote bag.

Amy C @ 12/17/2007 06:14 AM CST

I guess you could say the crafting is essentially the same, but as you mentioned, the political sensibility is completely different. The media has to go for sound bytes, so the two (the crafts themselves and the politics behind them) are conflated.

AmyWOMAN @ 12/17/2007 04:32 PM CST

I haven't been able to make anything 'cause of my arm.

This is getting old.

amy_b @ 12/17/2007 06:17 PM CST

holy cow those skull rings are awesome!!!!!!!

amy_b @ 12/17/2007 06:20 PM CST

Hey you!

I was just being vein & googling my name and saw this little shout out you gave me!! Thanks sweetheart!! I'm so glad you love the line - it makes me so happy to hear others loving my products as much as I do!! And they're good for us to boot!!! Happy New Year!

Victoria @ 12/30/2007 04:45 PM CST

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