Is The Craft Industry an Industry Divided?

comments (3) March 4th, 2009     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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The bustling Ranger Ink booth at CHA.

The bustling Ranger Ink booth at CHA.

Photo: Diane Gilleland

If you are reading this you are already hip to the wonders of the web and how the rise of the indie craft movement in particular, and the craft industry in general have been served by the internet. But if you have attended any recent craft trade shows, and/or indie craft events you may have sensed a divide in the market overall that could generally be summed up as crafters who actively use the web to connect with each other, and the crafters who have yet to discover the marketing possibilites and thriving web-communities available to them via the internet.

This disconnect in the market affects how manufacturers see (or do not see) the industry overall.  As web-crafters, who purchase and use many different types of craft supplies, how can we help the market identify and serve us?  Additionally, how can we introduce web-shy crafters to the best that technology has to offer-- connection to other crafters?

These are some of the questions that Diane Gilleland addresses to Mike Hartnett of Creative Leisure News in her latest Craftypod podcast.  Mike has been on the craft scene for over thirty years and he is currently the publisher of Creative Leisure News (the last craft trade publication). Mike has amazing insight into the industry and offers some fascinating historical context to explain the many changes he has witnessed in the market since the late 1970s.

Most importantly, Mike is eager to hear your thoughts on what he has to say and is interested in fostering better commnunication within the industry.  Click here to check out Creative Leisure News - the archives are free, or you can sign up for a trial subscription.

If you'd like to get up to speed on how this podcast came into being, click here for Diane's Craftypod post CHA and the Indies about her experiences while at the Craft & Hobby Association trade show last January.

What do you think?  How do you see yourself:  Indie?  Crafter?  Indie-crafter?  What are you seeing in the market?

Please post comments below--we'd love to hear what you're thinking.

Thanks to Diane for this fantastic info and wonderful podcast.  What a great example of how one can help to bring about change-- ask for what is needed!

posted in: cha, indie, Diane Gilleland, Craftypod, Mike Hartnett, Creative Leisure News

Comments (3)

Sister_Diane writes: Well said, bethwalk! I'm fascinated by the question of what these two communities have to offer each other. I think the indie side brings a huge amount of fresh perspective and creative hybridizing to the table, but I also think the traditional side has a lot to teach us in terms of history and craftsmanship. I'd love to see more conversations like this!
Posted: 4:16 pm on March 5th
croqzine writes: I was just checking the CHA website out today to research applying for membership. The problem? I couldn't figure out where I fit in their membership scheme. I don't really sell my crafts, but I do write a craft blog and produce projects specifically for my blog. I do have a craft zine that sells... so I guess that puts me more in the journalist/press area? I feel like I am a member of the Crafting and Hobbyist industry, but I don't fit into their traditional channels.
Posted: 12:17 am on March 5th
bethwalk writes: Interesting to identify the chasm between (pre-indie?) craft and indie craft as the web. I agree but take it a step further. I see the difference as method (which includes the web), style, and a less structured artistic and creative impulse.

I have a friend who said to me, "Oh, you're not the chintz and chickens crafter." Sums it up to some degree. I do not mean to knock anyone who makes things (nor do I want to knock chintz and chickens!)--but there is a difference. We have, in common, making things, and I think it's good to focus on common ground. But the two groups also have distinct communities.
Posted: 10:17 pm on March 4th
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