Posted in Knitting
July 17, 2006

The Crafter Culture Handbook

Amy Spencer, the author of DIY: The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture, has a new book coming out this fall called The Crafter Culture Handbook. You can read an excerpt from the book via her publisher’s website here. The book synopsis from Amazon UK:

This fun new manual explores the new crafting movement that is sweeping the globe, through a series of creative projects for any wannabe crafter to experiment with designs by the most well-known of the new contemporary craft movement, including the people behind Craftster, Sublime Stitching, Subversive Cross Stitch, MicroRevolt, Bazaar Bizarre, Cast Off, Thready Made, Craftivism, the Renegade Craft Fair, Church of Craft, Made by Milla, among many others. Amy Spencer not only gives practical advice but also examines the politics behind the various crafting trends. Today’s crafters are aware of the impact of their actions, some create as part of a radical form of political protest, others take a stance against sweatshop manufacturing by making their own clothes, some produce as part of a self-sufficency lifestyle, others start knitting groups as a way to meet new friends. Through interviews with those involved, she explores these simple acts and their wide impacts.

Here’s the Red Light District Peekaboo scarf I made for the book. My hand-dyed yarn plus retro photos printed on silk habotai, described thusly:

This scarf provides an opportunity for the wearer to engage viewers in an up-close-and-personal inspection of its contents. The photographs (naughty naked knitter photos from the 1950s) can’t be seen clearly unless the “window” is picked up and held away from the back of the scarf. Like a locket filled with secret treasures, this scarf can be used to hide a photo of your beloved, a poem…anything that can be printed out.

I’m fascinated by the division between public and private space, which is what I was exploring in this piece. Whereas my boyfriend is permitted to walk up and pick a loose thread off my shoulder, a co-worker isn’t. There’s a different quality to personal space, a certain assumed set of permissions.

(Or, shall we say the co-worker shouldn’t — one monkey-groomed loose hairs off my shoulder throughout a training seminar once. I was itching to deck him, but the seminar was depressing enough already).

With this scarf, though, it’s very secret agent-y. You can choose to show people what you’re hiding, or you can keep it to yourself. Your private space, your personal bubble, your thoughts… they remain your own, and only you are able to choose whether that should change. Unlike a certain co-worker who took it upon himself to invade my space.

The original plans for this scarf included electroluminescent wire (which glows like neon) encased along the opening of the window, Amsterdam red light district-style, but I had a tough time figuring out how to include the necessary hardware without weighing down the window too much. More experimentation is required…

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