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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
My only complaint would be I wished it was longer!
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: