Today's crafters are no longer interested in simply cross-stitching samplers or painting floral scrolls on china. Instead, the contemporary craft movement embraces emerging artists, crafters, and designers working in traditional and nontraditional media. Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching has revolutionized the embroidery industry. Each year Nikki McClure sells thousands of her cut-paper wall calendars. Emily Kircher recycles vintage materials into purses. Stephanie Syjuco manufactures clothing under the tag line "Because Sweatshops Suck." These are just some of the fascinating makers united in the new wave of craft capturing the attention of the nation, the Handmade Nation.
Faythe Levine traveled 19,000 miles to document what has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the D.I.Y. ethos. For Handmade Nation (along with the documentary film of the same name, coming in 2009) she and Cortney Heimerl have selected 24 makers and 5 essayists who work within different media and have different methodologies to provide a microcosm of the crafting community. Participants in this community share ideas and encouragement through websites, blogs, boutiques, galleries, and craft fairs. Together they have forged a new economy and lifestyle based on creativity, determination, and networking. Twenty-four artists from Olympia, Washington, to Providence, Rhode Island, and everywhere in between show their work and discuss their lives. Texts by Andrew Wagner of American Craft Magazine, Garth Johnson of Extremecraft.com, Callie Janoff of the Church of Craft, Betsy Greer of Craftivism.com, and Susan Beal, author of Super Crafty, supply a critical view of the tight-knit community where ethics can overlap with creativity and art with community. Handmade Nation features photographs of the makers, their work environment, their process, their work, and discussions of how they got their start and what motivates them. Handmade Nation is a fascinating book for those who are a part of the emerging movement or just interested in sampling its wares.
Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl are both based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They met while they were both selling their handmade goods at a local farmer's market. At the time Levine was selling items under the business name Flying Fish Design and Heimerl was selling with a local design collective called Fasten Clothing Co-op. Levine is co-owner & curator of Paper Boat Boutique & Gallery and producer and director of the independent film Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, currently in post-production. Heimerl is working on producing a new line of clothing made from vintage materials.
How to do everything yourself, The National:
"Can something as simple as book sales, then, suggest that we are approaching a new Age Of Austerity? When a book which attempts to gather all of these trends together under one roof is glowingly reviewed by The New York Times and stocked in the uber-hip clothing store Urban Outfitters, it does suggest theres something more here than simply a yearning for prosaic descriptions of how to sew, cook, saw or grow.That book is Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl, and it documents something bigger than just crafting as Levine travels the length and breadth of the United States in search of people doing it themselves. Levine calls such activity a marriage between historical technique, punk culture and the DIY ethos, but its more than that too; its proof positive that people arent buying DIY books to ferret themselves away in their sheds or gardens. Theyre more often than not sharing ideas and becoming part of networks through blogs and fairs."
— Ben East
The Crafty Generation Finds a Mainstream Voice: Were the Handmade Nation!, Victoria Everman Blog:
"(Handmade Nation) is a must-have for any crafter, professional or purely personal. Whenever you feel down on your work or are losing direction, just grab your copy of Handmade Nation and you will be revitalized by others who have stuck to their guns and helped to change the entire marketplace."
— Victoria Everman
Watch This, Pink of Perfection Blog:
"I could not resist posting the opening credits to Handmade Nation, it fills me with so much glee. The opening credits alone will make you so proud to be a creative, crafty person alive today. Doesnt it just make you want to create something? "
— Sarah McColl
Crafts go indie in 'Handmade Nation', 77 Square:
"Faythe Levine captures the excitement and enthusiasm for these traditional women's pursuits -- and those crafters who give the arts a decidedly modern spin"
— Katie Dean
The Midwest Book Review :
"Todays craft world is now a linked culture of punk, artistic technique, and DIY philosophy, and HANDMADE NATION trades the new wave of craft sentiments that incorprate community connections and ideas in its process. From logs and galleries to craft fairs and teachers, over twenty artists from across the country discuss their lives, works, and community connections. HANDMADE NATION: THE RISE, DIY, ART, CRAFT AND DESIGN is a key acquisition for any art collection as well as for general-interest libraries specializing in crafts history and culture."
— Diane Donovan
Craft & Arts, WNYC & BBC Brian Lehrer Show:
"Faythe Levine, artist, photographer, filmmaker, curator and author of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), and Callie Janoff, co-founder and New York City Minister of the Church of Craft, talk about the new craft movement that weds DIY and craft techniques with a punk aesthetic. The documentary Handmade Nation receives its New York debut at the Museum of Arts and Design this week. You can listen at by clicking HERE"
— Brian Lehrer
The Queen of Crafts, Blade:
"It is a sweet-toned record of a new and growing community, one with its own esthetic, lifestyle, and economy. "
— Penelope Green
Breakfast Television (Canada):
"Handmade Nation author Faythe Levine speaks about her book & documentary on Canadas Breakfast Television click HERE to watch the video "
"Pool successfully tapped into the indie craft movement. For example, Faythe Levine, the legendary author of the book Handmade Nation was on site selling her book and showing previews of her new documentary on the subject. Other crafters from the felt world such as Ryn Rina, plus jewelry, scarves, and knitted apparel created an entirely new space at Pool that completely connected not only with the indie vibe of Pool, but the growing movement of crafting in general. "
— Kathleen Gasperini
Hollywood, politics and popularity: the new craft scene, Capital City Weekly:
"(Levine & Heimerl) tracked crafting in the U.S. to compile a visual and mental indulgence in all that is hip and new in the world of craft - although they somehow missed Alaska. Nonetheless, by page 2, I was hooked. Lime pages covered in childlike scribbles track the rise of this handmade scene, which rooted itself in the early 90s mostly through fairs, blogs, and political craft movements. Politics, you wonder? I did too. But the movement is entrenched in groups like the Church of Craft, whose members find higher aspirations in handmade creation and Craftivists, who dedicate their daily lives to making a statement through craft."
— Tanna Peters
U.S. of Etsy: 'Handmade Nation', Express Night Out:
"But it's nice to see people making things for themselves, and that's commemorated in Handmade Nation, a short documentary about crafters showing at the Renwick Saturday afternoon. Will DIY sink back into obscurity once this recession is over? We hope not. Go check out the movie maybe it'll inspire you to make something of your own."
— Fiona Zublin
"Levine has helped bring attention to the do-it-yourself craft movement through her book and film."
— Mary Louise Schumacher
Crafty buggers, The Age Magazine (Australia):
"Once the epitome of uncool, craft is making a comeback with a new generation. Rachelle Unreich threads up to find a burgeoning movement that is hip, political - and just a little divided."
The Morning News:
"In our heavily industrialized civilization, we have rightly placed a great value on handmade, original one- or few-of-a-kind goods. For Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y., Art, Craft, and Design, which is the textual offshoot of a film project due for release next year, Faythe Levine criss-crossed the U.S.A., racking up 19,000 miles to interview and document dozens of artists, makers, crafters, and designers. In addition to photos of the makers, their work, their workshops, and their processes, the book includes essays by Andrew Wagner of American Craft magazine, Garth Johnson of Extreme Craft, Callie Janoff of The Church of Craft, Betsy Greer of Craftivism, and Susan Beal of Super Crafty.A crafty compendium of original creations, this charming books offers much to admireof both the makers and what they make. I am partial to Stephanie Syjucos clothing line, labeled simply Because Sweatshops Suck."
— Robert Birnbaum
We Can Make It , The Portland Mercury:
"We have been living, in recent years, in the midst of a craft renaissance, in which a new generation of DIY enthusiasts has created a network around the world. Locally, it's visible in the popularity of hip craft fairs like Crafty Wonderland, and the internet has made sites like Etsy.com global hubs of craft culture and part of what has been described as the "new economy."Faythe Levine has encapsulated this..."
— Marjorie Skinner
"(Handmade Nation) puts a face on the indie craft community, making it accessible while illustrating the enormous talent, creativity, and hard work at the heart of the new handmade nation."
— Jeanne Vaccaro
Community of Craft, Shepherd Express:
"The tools are familiar: embrodery hoop, needle and thread. Its the concept that rocks.Niftily divided into five geographical segments, the book showcases Milwaukees J.W. & Melissa Buchanan, who pump out punkish silk-screen prints that would make your grandma shriek. "
— Judith Ann Moriarty
Crafty comeback with indie edge, The Washington Times:
"It is also the touchstone of the DIY movement. They aren't just socks - they're the start of a personal and a social revolution. One can make things to adorn themselves, teach others a skill or clothe those in need."
— Karen Goldberg Goff
"This past week, Faythe Levine, the creator of the much talked about Handmade Nation film blew through New York with her co-author Cortney Heimerl for the New York premiere of the movie. The accompanying book of the same name, published by Princeton Architectural Press, was released in November and had led to an air of anxiousness surrounding the film..."
— Andrew Wagner
"An informal portrait of the current American craft movement; 24 makers share their thoughts on the vogue for historical technique, punk culture and DIY. With essays by Andrew Wagner, Betsy Greer and Callie Janoff."
Book and film spotlight independent crafters across the U.S., Seattle PI:
"Today, Levine is known as "the ambassador of handmade" -- a title bestowed by The New York Times, to her chagrin -- and her DIY sensibilities run more to sock monkeys and craft fairs.Thanks to her upcoming film, "Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design," Levine has become a major voice in the new wave of craft, whose vibrant, break-the-rules sensibility has become a magnet for hip young women."
— Cecilia Goodnow
DIY Book Club, Do it Yourself:
"If DIY is a lifestyle, Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl breathe it, sleep it, embody it. As authors of Handmade Nation and a documentary of the same name, these gals know a thing or two about the modern craft movement. To read the full review on diyideas.com click HERE. "
"Being crafty has paid off for Faythe Levine. Her book Handmade Nation has become a cult indie film in the US..."
A Documentary By Faythe Levine, Buyplympia.com:
"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 and curator Faythe Levine. Levine traveled to 15 cities and covered more than 19,000 miles to interview artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members.Todays 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. "
Handmade Nation' coming to the Museum of Contemporary Craft, The Oregonian:
"Is there something this new craft movement can teach those of us feeling anxious about our futures, who are watching jobs dry up and disappear and wondering if we can somehow make our own way?"
— Inara Verzemnieks
A Nation of Crafters, Publishers Weekly :
"The community captured in both book and film has played no small part in the expansion of the crafts books category in recent years. Some have questioned whether the demand for such books can remain at current levels, but Levine observes that while fads come and go, the community has a life of its own: I think it is important to acknowledge that DIY may be a trend, but it's also a lifestyle choice for a lot of people, and is not going away anytime soon."
— Gwenda Bond
Womens International Perspective:
"Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y., Art, Craft, and Design is about independently-owned businesses, where consumerism is definitely considered; the crafters and artists, who are mostly women, earn their livings from their handmade goods. Though readers and viewers may never buy anything featured in the book or film, considering the current world economy, the concept of making what you need and want could not be timelier."
— Jessica Mosby
Sewing it Together, The Silhouette:
"The book promotes all forms of art, and creates a sense of inclusivity between all artisans rather than setting divisions and categories. When you choose to make things on your own, Levine explains that you are supporting both creativity and self sufficiency. Handmade Nation succeeds in encouraging people to go out and learn something new, and the stories included are not only interesting, but inspiring as well. The book is informative, comprehensive, entertaining and would make a fantastic gift to anyone with an artistic side. With Levine writing this book as well as making a documentary, this could be the year for crafting. It will be interesting to see just where DIY is heading next."
— Sarah El-Hamzawi
Wise Daughters Will Save the Economy, Blog-To:
"Step-by-steps for book binding, bag-making and handmade projects that re-use and re-purpose found objects are the meat and potatoes of recently-published crafts super-books like Handmade Nation."
— Matthew Hayles
Girl on Film, ReadyMade:
"independent artists, crafters, and shop owners of all stripes - from avant-garde embroiderers to designers of books, calandars, and eco-friendly shoes."
— Valerie Rains
*special edition* interview, Design*Sponge:
"In 2006 faythe levine traveled the country, putting 19,000 miles under her belt and visiting 15 cities to document the new wave of craft in the usa. in 2007 the trailer hit the web and the buzz built around this film. in 2008 the companion book (co-authored with cortney heimerl), handmade nation: the rise of diy, art, craft and design hit shelves. on thursday handmade nation premiers stateside in milwaukee, wisconsin (home base for faythe and cortney) and next week makes its way to the museum of art and design in nyc. while one chapter ends, the next is just beginning. we couldnt let this labor of love go un-noticed, so lucky for us faythe and cortney agreed to take the time out of their incredibly busy schedules for an interview and insider look at the film and how it came to be. CLICK HERE for the full interview and behind the scenes images."
— Anna Wolf
+1 Magazine :
"Craft is officially cool and it is not just something that your Granny or weird Aunt does. The indie/DIY/new wave/whatever you prefer to call it, craft movement has been gathering momentum over the last ten years, predominantly in the US, where most major cities now have their own indie craft fairs filled with wares by local makers and shakers."
— Jo Waterhouse
Craft Cast :
"This is a must have book for all, whether you craft or not!Faythe traveled 19,000 miles across America documenting the emerging DIY community and the lifestyle they live based on creativity, determination and networking."
— Alison Lee
"Handmade Nation" Goes International, WTMJ 620 :
"A local artist's latest creation is generating international buzz, and putting the spotlight firmly on the Brew City. Faythe Levine featured on WTMJ radio click HERE to listen to the full interview"
— Elizabeth Braun
The Feminist Review:
"Chock full of large color photos and interviews with crafters from fifteen cities around the country, this book provides a window into the modern craft movement in America. The book itself is something of a work of art, as anyone familiar with Princeton Architectural Press should expect. "
— Liz Simmons
Handmade Nation documentary begins screening this month, Paste Magazine:
"Levine's subjects are independent-minded folks who've taken up DIY mantle passed down from generations gone by, valuing the handmade over mass-produced and craft over convenience. Some members of the crafty crew will also host a number of talks and lectures at colleges and community centers, with a few other stops scheduled to promote the film's companion book, also titled Handmade Nation."
— Rachael Maddux
CRAFTS magazine (UK):
"...a fascinating account of the crafting community, embracing a vibrant movement of artists, crafters, and designers... [Levine and Heimerl] documents the raw, fresh, and radical results in this comprehensive and fully illustrated book."
20 x 200 Newsletter:
"Last week's New York City premiere of Handmade Nation, artist Faythe Levine's directorial debut, brought the fabulous Kate Bingaman-Burt to town for an all-too-brief visit. (She hand-drew the lettering for the documentary's awesome title sequence.) She saved me a seat at the screening, which was held at Museum of Arts & Design...Faythe, Kate and Megan have more in common than the fact that they're all totally badass, awesome, inspiring and intelligent women. They're also all involved in expanding the definition of what art is by employing and/or championing styles, subjects and techniques that we're more accustomed to seeing anywhere but a museum."
— Jen Bekman
Crafts Punk Heart, Print Magazine:
"(Handmade Nation) debuted last year to such demand that it entered its third printing even before the films official release date in February."
— Allisa Walker
Handmade artist documents a movement, The Jewish Chronicle :
"Faythe Levines life is all about creativity. Though she doesnt come off as a rebel, the 31-year-old Milwaukee artist, boutique/gallery owner and filmmaker has crafted her life according to her individual vision since she struck out on her own after high school."
— Andrea Waxman
Style Substance Soul:
"We are awestruck by the boundless creativity showcased in the pages of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design, and cant wait to see the documentary."
— Lois Alter Mark
Best Art & Design Books 2008, Readings :
"(Handmade Nation) looks at the current diversity and growth of making things by hand. The book profiles a range of American artists, crafters and designers who have embraced the traditional techniques with creative/radical new approaches, suitable to our times."
— Margaret Snowdon
Crafting a Handmade Nation, Americanstyle:
"The words DIY and indiecraft movement may be familiar to you by now - theyre the buzz words surrounding a new breed of craft show that has been growing for several years in cities across the country. Faythe Levine, an artist, curator, author and director, was a part of those beginnings."
The Needle and the Damage Undone, I.D. :
"(Handmade Nation) offers a simple message and pleasure. Levine and Heimerl and their maakers are saying, in essence, dont stop beading necklaces when you get your first job. Beading is your first job. And while youre at it let your freak flag fly. But do make sure that youve put that flag together yourself, and only out of recycled sweaters."
— Alissa Quart
In Print, Surface Design Journal:
"Handmade Nation is organized, like a road trip around the United States, geographically. Penned by Levine, the preface paints Americas indie craft community as a free spirited network of entrepreneurs."
— Jessica Hemmings and Leesa Hubbell
Common Threads, PBS:
"C'mon, break out those knitting needles your grandma gave you. Across the country, resurgent interest in things handmade is redefining craft-making for the 21st century. Quilts are cutting-edge outlets for self-expression, and samplers carry messages of anti-consumerism, environmentalism and feminism. The work is not just beautiful: it's hip, it's political and it's a little punk rock. Click HERE to read the full feature on PBS online."
— Molly Finnegan
DIY: See the Movie, Read the Book, American Craft :
"Ah, youth! It is impossible to watch Handmade Nation and not be affected by its spirit: passionate, upbeat, idealistic and above all energetic. The frenetic pixilated opening credit sequence almost suggests that the title might be Over-Caffeinated Nation. It is also impossible not to be struck by dj vu all over again, for most of the ideas seem more than familiar. The artists and others interviewed are, gosh!, in favor of the handmade versus the mass-produced. They prefer the tactile. They seek an alternative to the corporate. Oh well, to each generation its own rebellion against the forces of darkness. The film does offer a lively sampling of the indie craft movement from around the country, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, New York City and elsewhere, covering a lot of ground in crafty as well as geographical terms."
— Robert Silberman
"If youve ever bought a scarf on Etsy, sold a shirt on Supermarket HQ, or set up shop at a local craft fair, then you are part of what Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl would call our handmade nation.And so are they. The crafty duo is behind the book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design (and, for Levine, a documentary of the same name to be released in 2009). After travelling the country in search of the ultimate neo-Martha Stewarts, they chatted with NYLON about what it takes to become a master crafter."
"This book champions a wave of craft artists who cultivate audiences through grassroots business strategies. The twenty-four makers profiled in this manifesto of the Do-It-Yourself ethos share a passion for making things by hand and have definite opinions about thier marketplace."
— Tom Lundberg
Handmade Nation and the Rise of DIY, Juxtapoz Magazine:
"C'mon, break out those knitting needles your grandma gave you. Across the country, resurgent interest in things handmade is redefining craft-making for the 21st century, writes Molly Finnegan for PBS. Quilts are cutting-edge outlets for self-expression, and samplers carry messages of anti-consumerism, environmentalism and feminism. The work is not just beautiful: it's hip, it's political and it's a little punk rock.What is she talking about? The wildly popular film, Handmade Nation by Faythe Levine. click HERE to read the full review and watch an exclusive video clip"
The Ambassador of Handmade, The New York Times:
"Their energy is infectious, which is why I call D.I.Y. the punk rock of the craft world."
— Penelope Green
"Madison isnt exactly a stranger to the DIY craft movement. Especially around the winter holidays, its nearly impossible not to stumble across one craft fair or another, and several shops have come (and a few gone strictly online) onto the scene bearing a wide array of goods created by local artists.But these arent your grandmas designs. Though most newly minted crafters will readily pay their respects to those who came before--people have been making things by hand since they first created tools, after all--this new generation of sewers, welders, gluers, collage makers, weavers, paper artists, and jewelers are all blazing trails uniquely their own, applying a sort of punk, indie ethos to it all."
— Emily Mills
Salt Lake Underground:
"Levine gives us just enough to get your intrest peaked and makes you want to blaze your own trail of entrepreneur fame."
— Meg Griggs
Indie filmmaker weaves creativity and rebellion, Los Angeles Times:
"The movements effect on mass culture may seem inevitable, but Levine also hopes to capture the intellectually provocative character of the artists and how they use craft to create awareness about social issues."
— Valli Herman
Local filmmaker's DIY craft documentary captures an exploding scene, Decider Milwaukee:
"As that model of frenzied economic activity seems to be self-destructing right before our very eyes, Handmade Nation encourages us to think small as we begin to re-imagine our roles as both consumers and producers. "
— Michael Carriere
The New York Times:
"The entrepreneurial spirit of the modern crafts girl should not be underestimated."
Los Angeles Times:
"The [D.I.Y.] movement's effect on mass culture seems inevitable, but Levine also hopes to capture the the intellectually provocative character of the artists and how they use craft to create awareness about social issues."