On a recent trip to H&M I was disturbed to see an exact replica of justcallmeruby‘s gorgeous ‘Perfect Christmas Jumper’ hanging on a rack. In a recent entry on her site she posted side-by-side pictures; aside from a slight change of white triangle to white cross they’re identical.
Knitting is a craft. It requires an investment in time, effort, and to a lesser extent, money. Vintage knitting requires a special devotion – willingness to interpret implied directions, research into fabrics, yarns, and colors of the time period, an understanding of the era. When a store like H&M rips off a design intended to be crafted by hand it cheapens the nature of Craft. Anyone with $40 burning a hole in their pocket can walk in and buy this sweater without thinking, without effort.
In turn that consumer doesn’t realize and won’t understand the effort required by genuine craft (something any knitter who’s been asked by a random co-worker if they could whip up a sweater for them this weekend understands). How are any non-crafters supposed to understand the price of creating something by hand if it gets devalued by fast fashion?
I knit vintage not only because I’m a masochist who loves working on tiny, tiny needles but because I get the opportunity to bring a piece of history to life. I adore Craft in all its forms and am seriously annoyed how little respect perfection in creation gets nowadays. Few were more pissed off than me when the American Craft Museum changed its name to the Museum of Art & Design because as their chief curator said, ‘the understanding and meaning of the term ‘craft’ has changed’.
Yes, that’s right folks, if you create for yourself, your friends and for the sheer joy of it, you are a CRAFTER. If you create to stick it in a gallery or are ‘using the medium of ______’ to get an IDEA across, you are an ARTIST. BUNK! BUNK AND ROT I SAY! Loving attention to detail, careful study of form and materials, these transcend the barriers of intent! Stanley Kubrick was a MASTER of craftsmanship and it shines through all his films, but I doubt the man ever picked up a crochet hook in his life. The full investment of a person’s attention and focus into ANYTHING, no matter the medium, will show in a finished object.
Numerous devotees of Shaker furniture and objects say they were drawn to collecting the exceedingly practical and simple items because they ‘glowed’ or ‘had a presence’. The Shakers embodied the true spirit of Craft – joy in creation, perfection in execution, love in working. The ONLY thing separating art from craft is the Shaker’s last requirement: practicality. By (my very general) definition Art is that which has no purpose, but craft in the physical sense is that which does. Craft skills can certainly be applied to art, and the projects are all the better for it, but I’ve gotten rather far from my initial point that art should not scorn nor mass marketing reduce the value of craft.
Which sort of brings me close enough to introduce this week’s pattern, a Christmas-y little number with double Moose value for your effort. Ugh, sorry, I’m still chafing at the idea any ‘fashionista’ (aaagh, blood boiling) can pop in and purchase something….it’s sort of like seeing nepotism in action, or hearing a trust fund kid complain how Ibiza’s played out- your innate sense of the world’s ‘fairness’ gets tilted royally out of whack. Ugh. Ok, look at the nice pattern…nice moosey pattern.
It’s from Jack Frost, the pattern company who light all their photos like Bergman’s ‘Persona’.