Ulla Engenström: Draft Craft Manifesto

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The things that people have made themselves have magic powers. They have hidden meanings that other people can’t see.
  3. The things people make they usually want to keep and update. Crafting is not against consumption. It is against throwing things away.
  4. People seek recognition for the things they have made. Primarily it comes from their friends and family. This manifests as an economy of gifts.
  5. People who believe they are producing genuinely cool things seek broader exposure for their products. This creates opportunities for alternative publishing channels.
  6. Work inspires work. Seeing what other people have made generates new ideas and designs.
  7. Essential for crafting are tools, which are accessible, portable, and easy to learn.
  8. Materials become important. Knowledge of what they are made of and where to get them becomes essential.
  9. Recipes become important. The ability to create and distribute interesting recipes becomes valuable.
  10. Learning techniques brings people together. This creates online and offline communities of practice.
  11. Craft-oriented people seek opportunities to discover interesting things and meet their makers. This creates marketplaces.
  12. At the bottom, crafting is a form of play.

Originally published March 25, 2005


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