What was once assigned by the patriarchal order as definitively belonging to the “women’s realm” (apologies for coming over all Women’s Studies 101 on you), has now been appropriated and reinvented by the coolest girls around. Today, women are taking back and CHOOSING to do craft themselves, and this time it’s on their terms. (Oh, and it’s not just girls, either, guys are getting in on the act as well.)
Not so long ago, craft stirred up memories of toilet roll dollies and those nasty padded photo frames we went nuts for in the ‘80s. Thankfully, that’s been relegated to the “craft gone bad” bin, and it’s been replaced by cute tampon purses, hand-knitted vegie rattles and Sew-Your-Own-Miss-Buttons.
And the popularity for crafty stuff right now has probably got something to do with the folk vibe and arts-and-crafts trend we’ve seen recently in fashion. Not to mention the anti-consumerist and eco-friendly element to crafting, in terms of turning your back on mass-produced items and sweat-shop labour.
Dolce & Gabbana gets crafty on yesterday's catwalk in Milan
There’s also something deliciously subversive in the name “stitch and bitch” – on one hand it sounds dreadfully un-sisterly, and not too far removed from what those Jane Austen birds were doing all day in their drawing rooms. But as one of my friends (who co-founded Melbourne’s stitch and bitch group, Kaotic Kraft Kuties) said, women’s craft groups are more about “women re-connecting, women celebrating and re-claiming women’s crafts.” Which isn’t too bad for the sisterhood, eh?
And according to the Kaotic Kraft Kuties' manifesto:
"* We believe in the modern folk revolution
* Scissors and champagne can mix
* Colours can never clash
* Tea cosies are not square
* Freeform craft is all about spirit not technique
* Chain stitch can be avant garde
* Little Edie is a style icon!"
I’m loving the whole crafty world at the moment, even if I haven’t fully embraced the practical side of it myself. There’s nothing better than spending a lazy 15 minutes trawling through other clever birdies’ craft blogs, where I’m constantly amazed and impressed by their cool creations and imaginative efforts.
For me, crafting reminds me of cosy afternoons watching TV with my grandmother while she bent quietly over her “fancy work”, having fun and relaxing, as well as a return to childhood and my favourite time at school when we got to unleash our creativity on paddle pop sticks and the like.
Sew Your Own Miss Buttons … D&G's muse of the moment?
p.s. Big props to the world’s biggest stitch and bitch, the magnificent Bayeaux tapestry. Debate still rages over who made it (the old French vs. English argument) but I bet whoever it was, they had a bit of a bitch while they stitched.