Sunday, March 15, 2009

Handmade Nation

Dear Shayne,

This week, I got an opportunity to see Handmade Nation, the documentary by Faythe Levine about the "rise of DIY and the new wave of art, craft and design." It's pretty great -- nice to put faces with the names of many crafters that I am familiar with through blogs, books, CRAFT, etc.

The opening sequence of the film is fantastic -- it's stop animation and took 26 hours to film. You can read more about the "making of" at the Handmade Nation blog right here. And here's the finished sequence:

The only bummer is that they oversold the screening so about a third of the people attending had to stand. Including me. Which meant that I paid the same amount of dough ($13.50!) as the people who got a seat. The film began at 7:30 and I was there at 7:10, so it's not as though I was sneaking in at the last minute to see it. Ugh.

Back to the good stuff, though -- after the film, they had a little "panel discussion" with four panelists:
- Lisa Congdon: artist and co-owner of Rare Device
- Derek Fagerstrom: co-owner of The Curiosity Shoppe
- Natalie Zee Drieu: Senior Editor of Craft
- Stephanie Syjuco: founder/maker extraordinaire behind anti-factory and one of the artists featured in the film

And after the panel, they had a mini craft show where makers were selling their wares, which was a nice bonus -- I think every movie should be immediately followed by the selling of crafts, don't you?

I also have the book Handmade Nation:

The intro to the book is not to be missed -- it's a terrific hand drawn timeline of the "New Wave of Craft" from 1994-2007. You can actually see it by flipping through the book here at Amazon (it's right after the Table of Contents).

I read it sometime last year, but it was neat to look through it again after seeing the film, as I got to read more about the people and get a closer look at the things they're making. It's like a program for the movie, which is great when a movie has so much information.

One of my favorite things that happened at the screening was that Stephanie Syjuco was selling some of her beautiful clothes after the film and a woman walked up to her wearing something that Stephanie had made and sold several years before. When she saw that sweater, her jaw dropped and she said, "I remember making that!" She seemed so happy to see it again. It was a very cool experience that, you know, doesn't happen when I walk into Target with a t-shirt that I bought there three years ago. Just sayin'.

Overall, it was a great experience -- I don't know if/when it will be showing in your area, but I would recommend seeing it when you can. Keep an eye on the Handmade Nation blog for dates. If you'd like to see photos of the event I went to, there are a few posted here on the Craft blog.



amy said...

that's very cool! i was despairing of it ever coming up here, but it! i'm so excited, i put it in my outlook calendar right away! it's set to remind me 2 weeks before, so i won't miss it!

i read the book in january, and i really enjoyed it. i'd heard some complaints, mostly that it was only useful as an accompaniment to the film, but i really disagree. it was really inspiring, i loved it.

sucks that you had to stand though!

A glance at my world said...

I've been really wanting to check out that book!