Although this site has been up for a while, I’m just now finding the the blogging world is massive, with its culture and community still strange to me. I am discovering exactly the kind of camaraderie that can be found online, in our ever-connected world. It’s easy to get lost in the endless content that is produced. On the other hand, it’s fascinating to experience the lives of others as they documents their struggles, passions, and everything in between.
Compared to my friends, I have a lot of free time. Now that I’m not planning my wedding, I’m exploring some of my other interests, such as crafting. There are so many DIY blogs out there! Currently, my Instagram feed is filled with Christmas decor inspiration from living rooms to ornaments, and even creative gift-wrapping and Christmas card envelopes. Really? At first sight, I get super excited. I do a quick check to see if any of these projects are feasible and affordable for me to complete. Then I start thinking about how all these bloggers have the time and money to do this full-time, essentially. Most of the accounts I’ve come across are women who are self-proclaimed crafting moms, sharing their creative life with others. They have tens of thousands of followers and certainly benefit from each other by sharing each others’ work or participating in group posts with a central theme. Just today, I saw a Target gift card giveaway that required you to follow 13 DIY Instagrams to enter. Easy enough for me! Part of why I’m following so many bloggers.
I’m realizing that the DIY/crafting world is quite a privileged one. I use to think making projects yourself was a way to save money–buy cheap materials, take pride in your work. Maybe even make cash off your creativity and patience. But seeing all these bloggers… I wonder how it was before they had thousands of follows. Did they just have a bunch of time to work on endless crafts, decor, and styling? And while raising children! I’m not hating, by any means. I’m sure they have their own struggles and stories. But one thing I did notice was that none of the bloggers I’ve followed are people of color and I rarely see crafters who are men.
I recently came across a call for submissions for an upcoming virtual exhibition by the Center for Art and Thought, entitled “Racecraft.” From the call for submission:
Slow. Sustainable. DIY. Green. Local. Anti-mainstream. These are some of the keywords associated with the contemporary craft movement. Enabled by technology and new media, craft culture has been described as a combination of traditional artisanal craftsmanship, punk culture, and a DIY sensibility. It often positions itself as a response to the problems of globalization, hyper-consumerism, and environmental degradation. Crafting is now, in the words of the maker-activist Betsy Greer, “craftivism,” a politically active site of social change.
But has “green” become the new white?
Despite its activist and inclusive ethos, the contemporary craft movement has been dominated by a neoliberal model of middle-class whiteness. Localism and lifestyle choices have become valorized as the primary modes of social change. People of color are often invisible in the craft movement, except as victims of globalization and exploitative labor practices who need to be saved by first world crafters.
It’s awesome that they are bringing this perspective to light. Hopefully there will be a variety of works submitted. I’m glad I’m more conscious about this and want to find steps to raise awareness or support people of color in this movement.
I love crafting and making things myself. It’s a great hobby and I feel proud making something with my own hands. I now recognize the privilege in this, although I never further considered the social implications. Silly me, wasting my degree!