I get on Etsy this morning to see what's new, renew a few items, etc., and I see a blog post titled Is Cuteness Bad for Craft? I'm intrigued, admittedly more about the comments section than the actual article, but I read the entire post anyways. Turns out, it's about an article written by architecture writer and critic Alexandra Lange for The New Yorker titled Don't Put a Bird on It: Saving "Craft" from Cuteness and it's a critique of the new show "Craft Wars", which is being presented by Michaels stores. I followed the link, read the article and after viewing a handful of people's comments on the Etsy blog, I felt compelled to post my own comment.
I think the real issue here is that Alexandra Lange decided to substitute the word "cute" for "non-functional" and/or "durable", which are much more accurate terms for what she appears to be upset about. It's not necessarily that the projects were glittery (although she does seem to have a strangely intense aversion to glitter) or even that most of these projects were kitschy to the extreme. If the contestants had made their finished product in a way that was functional AND made to last, yet looked exactly the same, half of her post would be irrelevant. I was also shocked that Lange seemed to believe that every single person who crafts or shops at Michaels is an art-based entrepreneur. My great-grandmother learned to knit when she was a child and did it most of her life, spending months working on gifts for friends or baby hats she would then donate to the NICU ward at her hospital. She was extremely talented and achieved a level of meticulous detail that is rarely seen anymore. Not once did she ever think about selling her pieces or desire to make a career out of knitting. It was something she did to keep her hands busy during quiet evenings. I understand that Lange may be upset by certain stereotypes being continued with this show, but ultimately, she just needs to calm down and acknowledge that she can't control what people think about her or her career choices. Some people will always hear the word "craft" and their minds will conjure up bottles of Elmer's glue, colored construction paper and stickers of baby animals. That's their mind, not ours.
The point I was trying to make is that everything, especially within the craft/art/theater/dance/music community, is subject to opinion. I could spend every waking moment of my life trying to convince every person I meet that my career choice is valid, but that would be pointless. Some people simply won't understand. Maybe they weren't raised to take risks and follow their dreams. Maybe stability and conformity were important lessons in their life that they learned well. Maybe they aren't naturally creative so they don't understand how my brain could make the leap from "This is fun" to "I think I could make a living doing this." Hell, maybe they really do like their desk job. The fact of the matter is that I will never be able to control what people think of me and I firmly believe that it is a waste of time and energy to try otherwise.
I love my life and that is what's important. Know why? Because it's mine.