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Handmade Nation (2009)

Nikki McClure , Susan Beal , Faythe Levine  |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Price: $19.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Handmade Nation + Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
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Product Details

  • Actors: Nikki McClure, Susan Beal, Deb Dormody, Mandy Greer, Whitney Lee
  • Directors: Faythe Levine
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Milwaukee DIY
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,881 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Handmade Nation" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Handmade Nation documents the new wave of art, craft and design that is capturing the attention of the nation. It is the feature film debut of director, author, artist & curator Faythe Levine. Levine traveled to 15 cities and covered more than 19,000 miles to interview artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members. Today's craft world has emerged as a synthesis of historical technique, punk culture, and the DIY ethos, also influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art. Director Faythe Levine captured the tightly knit community that exists through websites, blogs, and online stores that connect to the greater public through independent boutiques, galleries and craft fairs. Interviews were conducted on-location in artist studios, homes, boutiques, offices and craft fairs, giving the public an exclusive and rarely seen look into the lives of these creative individuals.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unambitious but very charming documentary. December 22, 2009
HANDMADE NATION examines a "trend" in American life that I didn't really understand existed (nor am I convinced it is a "trend"). It's a documentary about folks who make their (often modest) livings as creators, designers and marketers of crafts.

The very word "craft" is difficult to design. If someone makes a sock-puppet by gluing on some felt eyes and lips to a that craft? (Or is it junk?) Is a person who makes their own glass beads, often taking 2 hours for one bead, making a craft? When does craft become art? When is a craftsperson really an artisan? When are the really an ARTIST? When does a craftsperson go from hobbyist to business-person? When does a craft have it when someone is willing to pay for it?

This documentary jumps from one craftsperson to another, all around the country. We peek in on what they make, WHY they make it, and get some inkling of how they sell (or try to sell) their wares. We meet some folks who are clearly kooks...and others who have learned to become savvy businesspeople. Some work alone...others in groups of likeminded individuals. Some of the work in remarkably beautiful...some is mundane. (Each viewer will, of course, differ on which is which). We also meet some of the entrepreneurs who make a living FROM these craftspersons...whether as retail store owners or web site & fulfillment persons.

Most of the folks who are shown here articulate the idea that their work is in reaction to the "standardization" of America. (I'm sure you've noticed it too...every city you drive through has the same restaurants, shops, malls, etc. We are consumers of what we know, and have difficulty trying "new" things.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little superficial April 2, 2011
I liked this documentary because I actually know a couple of the featured artists personally, and it was fun to see them working on the "big screen," but I was disappointed that it was largely un-ambitious. I felt like it presented the viewer with a premise of "indie craft", and spent an hour saying "here is this thing" but never really stepped out of description into commentary.

Handmade Nation lacks is a sense of perspective, or positioning inside the history of crafts. People have been recycling clothing for generations - in the past, they just called it "making it so your older brother's pants fit you right" instead of thrifting-and-crafting. Is the "indie craft" movement special simply because it is not grounded in necessity? And, craft has a place in the academy - You can get a university degree in studio craft - what does that mean for this movement? Is it "indie craft" simply because you didn't have to go to school for it (even though many of the featured artists have art or fine craft degrees)? And what about all of the "craftsmen" out there, in carpentry or glassblowing or whatever else - is it only "indie craft" if they also are the designers and distributors? And if so, why? I was especially bemused by the focus on the "anti-commercial" slant, when most of these artists are at least to some degree reliant on "big business" to make their internet run and to make sure the planes carrying their packages don't crash. Why not a more thoughtful focus on the place that these smaller companies have in the economic cycle?

All in all, I thought it was an interesting subject, but the treatment simply documented it without adding substance.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provides a lot of inspiration and insight January 10, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I followed the blog for the making of Handmade Nation a few years back and was excited to see the dvd had finally be released! It arrived, I popped it into the dvd player and sat back and took it all in.

I loved it, the interviews, watching people work, the craft fairs it was all great. It could have gone on for several more hours and I would have loved it, but unfortunately it's only a bit longer than an hour so that was a little bit disappointing. I know there are tons of other people that could have fit perfectly into this documentary. I'm going to take a guess by the amount of time that was taken to create this that the director could have kept going on as well. I would love to see a secondary documentary from her on the same subject.

For me it provided a lot of inspiration and also resources mentioned by the people being interviewed. There is screenprinting, glass work, shop owners (brick and mortar stores and online), knitting, and embroidery among others.

There was one odd moment when one of the people being interviewed staples her finger and walks around looking for a band-aid, it stuck out for me as being un-needed but overall I would highly suggest this documentary!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Inspiring January 5, 2010
By Gerri C
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary delves into the do-it-yourself mentality that is challenging the corporate machine. It's great!

I saw this documentary at a screening in Philadelphia this August and have been waiting for it's release onto DVD. It is very exciting to see the craft movement getting so much attention.

As an artist and crafter, it is easy to feel isolated when you are not surrounded by other creative people; and websites like etsy, while invaluable, can only take you so far. This documentary is a wonderful way to get a glimpse into the lives of creative entrepreneurs without all of the travel expenses. Faythe Levine has done this for us (on her own dime).

For other craft documentaries, try Craft in America, Season 1 AND Craft in America: Season Two.

For great interviews with crafty entrepreneurs, check out these podcasts:
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A look at some creative folks involved in crafty culture
Handmade Nation deserves a 4 star rating. The subject matter is really cool and the production quality is great. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Matt Dale
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of substance
I too would have liked to have seen more of the artists actually at work instead of just talking. Some of the interviews were fairly meaty, but I found a lot of it to be... Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. L. White
5.0 out of 5 stars A craft revolution.
Love the story this film tells of young people reclaiming creativity. The theme is that the creative process of making what we need is valuable. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Bronxgirl
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
I have wanted to watch this film for quite a while! It wasn't what I expected, but I thought the film was good. I enjoyed it. I found it interesting, and very inspiring! Read more
Published on April 29, 2012 by Lacrisha V. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The best inspirational movie! I watched it back to back!
I am in love with this documentary! I think it was dones just perfectly:) I am an artisan myself so I understand where they are coming from. Read more
Published on January 29, 2011 by dragonflyhoneybee
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
I was so excited to finally get this documentary after reading the book last year. It is very well made to the crafty audience with a great stop motion animation that it opens... Read more
Published on March 20, 2010 by Ellen J. MacWilliam
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but....
I was so excited to see this dvd. Luckily I watched it with a friend first before showing it to the family. Read more
Published on February 7, 2010 by scrappygirl
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