Today, TBWITWW and I went to the Renegade Craft Fair. It was an interesting gathering of people and stuff to look at. I think it's telling though, that while we spent a couple hours there, we didn't find anything we wanted to buy. (We did come close to buying an Inigo Montoya baby shirt for Tommy, but it was just a little too expensive. There were some interesting items, and we collected a few business cards of places we thought would be worth another look. Among these were Eight Gang Switch, Loose Leaf Collective, Traveling Rhinos, Campfire, Aisha Celia Designs, Catia Chien, and Avec Mes Mains. Unfortunately, the truly interesting an unique stuff was the exception rather than the rule. Unsurprisingly the crowd seemed to be similar. Every other booth seemed to have the same type of kitchy small buttons, and lots of "outsider art" type graphics. Silk screened drawings similar in quality to what children produce without the innocence that children bring. Many of the people who were attending the event had the same sort of sameness about them. The whole "I'm a rebel, just like all my friends" aspect seemed prevalent. I think it's trendy right now to be part of the "crafting movement". Hopefully a balance will be established between the people who are crafting because it allows them an outlet, and the people doing it because it's trendy. There's good stuff out there, and more and more people are interested, so it's become easier to find supplies, and support.
A subset of this is the people who see digital cameras as bad for photography because they make it too easy to take crap pictures. Therefore, more people are taking, and seeing, huge numbers of crap photos. However, I think people have the ability to learn the difference between what's truly great and what's just good. Now, people who wouldn't have had the resources to have created their art, or the audience to get the art seen, have that ability so more great stuff is accessable now. Eventually, this can only help the overall quality of the art in general. People who, 10 years ago, would have taken a handful of snapshots at family gatherings will now take enough pictures to become curious as to how they can make their photos better. They'll learn about "the rule of thirds" and lighting. The same applies with crafts. People will begin to think more of how things are made, and explore making things themselves. They'll get ideas for layout and composition that they may not have seen before. In the end, we all benefit from art being something for everyone rather than for the elite.