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WHY WE MAKE THINGS I’ve always made things. Sometimes they are beau- tiful, sometimes they are useful, sometimes both, and sometimes neither. So I often wonder why do we make things?

learned how to really sew and use patterns. For late bloomers, craftivity almost inevitably begins with knitting, the gateway craft, and ends with something completely different like creating graf- fiti out of moss (see page 192). You begin with bejeweling table linens and end up with a loft bed. That’s why the 40 projects are organized by mate- rial—fabric or glass—rather than a technique— silk screen or etching. Some projects you finish in an hour and others take a weekend. There are great things to wear, to put in your house or apartment, or to do with a partner. Crafters who are passion- ate about reusing items will find plenty of projects that involve recycling things around the house and using environmentally friendly materials.

Out of necessity? Rarely, I think. As a political statement? Well, the kind of agency one gains over their life by making their things is certainly power- ful, heady stuff. But I can’t honestly say that is why I make things. Do I make things for spiritual rea- sons? I wonder if I’m ready to speak of crafting as a form of meditation when I compare the crochet hats I make for my daughter’s stuffed monkey to venera- ble practices like making Tibetan sand mandalas.

We make things for two reasons: pleasure and because we can. The pleasure is in the process and the end result is just a byproduct of this joy. This book can help you with the “because we can” part of the craftivity equation. It is for butterfly craft- ers, who flit from project to project, medium to medium, driven by some internal engine. Maybe you started as a kid by mending clothes, then

People often think of crafting as the application of surface decoration—hot gluing gew gaws with abandon. Or following instructions for a project so that in the end it is about as inspired as color- ing within the lines. Instead, I hope that you will consider these projects as a jumping off point for your own craftivity. Here are my tips, both practi- cal and theoretical, before you begin.

10 introduc tion


Craftivity is a small window into the incredibly large and vital postmodern crafting community. It represents the creativity of its many contributors, people I have been friends with since I was a teenager and those I have met more recently by running an alternative DIY website called SuperNaturale. com. Every Craftivity project was made either by me or one of these individuals, not by professionals in some office park. The crafts are fun to make, eccentric, immediate, and occasionally profound. They often originated as gifts for friends, made for people, by people. They speak to the heart of craftivity.

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