Monday, July 13, 2009

Handmade Nation Film Review

Last Thursday night I had a night out. I went into Vancouver at the ever important bedtime hour and watched a film about crafty women. More than just a film this was an event, with a small craft fair, book sale and Q&A with the film's director Faythe Levine. Handmade Nation is about the Do-it-yourself craft culture in the U.S. that is the pulse of a new generation (view the trailer here)
There are so many crafters in this movie that it was impossible for me not to leave inspired. There was no central narrator to thread things together, other than following one crafter from her set-up at a show and throughout her day. At times I found that detracted from the flow making it hard to move from point to point but in this method's favor it made the film fresher. After all this is a DIY style of film making, documenting a bunch of DIY artists who aren't really into following "the rules" anyway.

Also because of the abundance of different profiles some of the crafters featured were not as memorable for me. Perhaps a smaller grouping would have left a different impression. I think Levine's motive for this was that she wanted to demonstrate the vastness of talents and the broadness of the community. And community is the main thread for them all. Creating in a sustainable, handmade, thoughtful, community atmosphere.

Deep down this film touched some core issues of a counterculture looking to set itself apart from the mass produced consumerism that North America is famous for. I liked that and I support that. Someday I hope to contribute my own work to that end. I learned more about myself through watching this film. The kind of person I need to be to sell at craft fairs and the level of workmanship that I need to aspire to. Truthfully I think I may not be suited to craft fairs and perhaps am more of a gallery style artist but I won't close any doors at this point. Its too early in the game of my career for that yet. In the Q&A Faythe talked about many interesting aspects of her own creative life. One piece of advice that she gave which I found invaluable was to finish things. To follow things through to the end. I see many creative people who are challenged by this. And it is one thing that I will hold on to. As I find the time to work on my technique and develop my "style" I will follow through and have something to show for it. (even if I hate it when I'm done)

If you are a crafty/creative/artsy type this is a great movie, full of inspiration and people with the courage to do it their way. Support indie film! Faythe also let us know that DVD copies of the film will be on sale in September from (who are featured in the film) So if you can't make it to a screening you can buy the DVD. Craft on!

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