I’ve been trying to pin down what is driving the increasing popularity of crafting for a while now. This is what I’ve got so far:
- People get satisfaction for being able to create/craft things because they can see themselves in the objects they make. This is not possible in purchased products.
- The things that people have made themselves have magic powers. They have hidden meanings that other people can’t see.
- The things people make they usually want to keep and update. Crafting is not against consumption. It is against throwing things away.
- People seek recognition for the things they have made. Primarily it comes from their friends and family. This manifests as an economy of gifts.
- People who believe they are producing genuinely cool things seek broader exposure for their products. This creates opportunities for alternative publishing channels.
- Work inspires work. Seeing what other people have made generates new ideas and designs.
- Essential for crafting are tools, which are accessible, portable, and easy to learn.
- Materials become important. Knowledge of what they are made of and where to get them becomes essential.
- Recipes become important. The ability to create and distribute interesting recipes becomes valuable.
- Learning techniques brings people together. This creates online and offline communities of practice.
- Craft-oriented people seek opportunities to discover interesting things and meet their makers. This creates marketplaces.
- At the bottom, crafting is a form of play.
Originally published March 25, 2005