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Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Moviegoers often get into a classic argument: which was better, the book or the movie. The introduction to this book explains that it is a companion to a forthcoming documentary. I eagerly await the film. Sensing the passion with which the authors approach their subject I think it might be a five-star film.

The book felt too shallow - as if it were not expected to stand alone. The artists featured in this book have substantial presences on the web, making their work easily accessible without the book. Because of this I was looking for what value was added by collecting their work in one place. The accompanying essays offer something new as do the photos of the artists in their work spaces. The all-too brief text on each artist is lacking. It doesn't add sufficient depth to what is already on the web. It feels like sound bites from a movie (which perhaps it is.)

The photography is good and the quality of the book is great (as always from Princeton Architectural Press.) The hand-drawn timeline at the beginning of the book is a delight. It is an example of the analysis and synthesis I hoped to find more of in this book.

This book would be great for someone just getting into the DIY world, but for those already immersed, I think the movie will be a richer experience.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just received my book a few days ago and have already torn through it. It has a great balance of informative backgrounds about the artists involved with the companion documentary, soon to be released, and amazing visuals of the artists' work. I also really enjoyed the essays added throughout. I was especially excited to see one by Betsy Greer. I feel I have some knowledge about the artists' work that I would not have had if the book was not released. It also gives some insight on how the "New Wave of Craft" snowballed into what it is today. The timeline at the beginning of the book is also very illuminating.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I think I first heard about Handmade Nation on a podcast I'd downloaded to my iPod. How ironic that technology introduced me to Handmade Nation. As an artist and craftsman, I've been making and selling my creations since I was a teenager and walked my handmade dolls and bears 2 miles down the road to the local gift shop. But now...now, is a great time to be a part of Handmade Nation. There are so many opportunities for artists of all kinds, and this book provides short profiles and great photographs on many artists. It also has a philosophical angle, a life-style angle. So, we get a glimpse into how creating things is a part of the way these artists view life, their life and their relationship to others. I find that most interesting. Some of the work profiled is not as strong, artistically, as others, but I'm not sure that is what the book is about. There are other books out today that profile the best in arts and crafts. This book is more about a movement, though honestly perhaps the movement is just able to be publicized more in this decade than in was in the '70s when I was shlepping my felt dolls down the street. We had art fairs and such then too, but oh, how great it would have been to have had the Internet! Scanning! Email! This book is worth getting, because it may be difficult to view the movie on which it was based. I've tried to find viewing places and time, but none are in my area, yet. So, if you are into crafts, and want a nice coffee table book, and want to support the authors who have sacrificed a lot, I believe, to bring handmade nation to the public, buy this book.
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Format: Paperback
There is certainly something to be said for being a trailblazer, and all of the crafters in this book represent a second coming-of-age for not only the handmade community, but also an entire generation. "I was going to all these fairs and I remember thinking: Something big is happening. This has to be documented," said Faythe Levine, the book's co-author in her September 2008 New York Times interview.

Faythe is also the director of an accompanying Handmade Nation documentary, which is currently being screened at festivals worldwide. Unfortunately, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing it yet, but each and every review I've read has raved about its honest and inspirational tone. All upcoming viewings are listed on both the documentary's official website and the Handmade Nation blog (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Boston screening).

Bottom line: this book is a must-have for any crafter, professional or purely personal. Whenever you feel down on your work or are losing direction, just grab your copy of Handmade Nation and you will be revitalized by others who have stuck to their guns and helped to change the entire marketplace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
When I want to get inspired, I go to this book and read about all the people who made it happen in the Art business. I love their energy, the passion and ideas!
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on April 27, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a nice book that shows the stories of a few people that have "made it" in the world of DIY and craft. They can sustain themselves doing what they love, and good for them. I hope to be in their place someday.

I was hoping for more of a historical overview of the rise of DIY and craft. This has almost none of that.

I still enjoy the book, as it is nice to see that people can still be successful in the world of craft, but the title was pretty misleading. I am looking to find the history of DIY, and instead find a series of vignettes on artists that practice different crafts, how they got started, and their studio practice.
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Format: Paperback
I'd become jaded about books on creativity when I found this one on the library shelf. The author confirmed several things I'd suspected all along: it's OK to create just for its own sake, not so that you can eventually quit your day job; independent artists have always led the way; sometimes making a sale or going mainstream requires you to dumb down. This book makes the point that art doesn't have to be precious or exclusive. It's human nature to want to sing, dance, tell stories and make things. We've been doing it for millenia. It's a good read if you're discouraged about the state of the arts in our society and your own role in it.
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on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! It has an interesting timeline on how handmade work and arts and crafts have developed in recent years. The specific artisans that are featured are very interesting, and the photos of their work are outstanding! The focus isn't on the "traditional" arts and crafts so much as how people have developed their own non-traditional take on arts and crafts. There are some very creative things in here!
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on October 9, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
MESMO COM AS GREVES DO CORREIO AQUI EM SP FOI ENVIADO E RECEBI NO PRIMEIRO DIA Q OS CORREIOS VOLTARAM A TRABALHAR... UM BOM SINAL Q HAVIA CHEGADO FAZIA SEMANAS AQUI NO BRASIL.
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on October 30, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
delightful to behold,
magical in its simplicity
all around good read and well done images to boot
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