You may be asking yourself, “How does indie music fit into a website about handmade goods?” Well, for some of us it’s obvious; from the songwriting, to the recording of the cd, to the hand-printed posters that are tirelessly placed around town before each and every gig, indie music is all about the DIY. My new column, “Played by Hand”, will be a coast-to-coast look (and listen) at unsigned bands and singer-songwriters who are doing just about everything by hand.
My own interest in indie music came in my late teens, when I became acquainted with several local bands in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada. (Winnipeg is home, incidentally, to Neil Young, The Guess Who, the Crash Test Dummies and other internationally-known bands. It may be cold up here, but our music scene is anything but.) I wanted to get involved, but completely lacking in musical talent, I had to find other ways. I was surprised to discover that these bands didn’t have “people” do their grunt-work for them; they were the people! Eager to help with anything and everything, I was soon pressed into service as a photographer, poster of posters, courier, gear schlepper, costume sewer, cd sleeve designer, merch girl…the list goes on. It was, for the most part, unpaid work (save for a free copy of the cd and admission to all of the gigs), but the pay-back was priceless. I got to see music go from it’s very conception to becoming a walking, talking marketable entity.
My hopes for this column are to explore all facets of the indie music scene and to give you an inside peek at the talented, creative people who have made music their lives, and spend those lives getting their music heard. Along the way, I will be exposing you to some of the best music that you’ve never heard…yet. Hopefully, your appreciation of indie music will grow a little. And, who knows, you might even get inspired to expand your CD collections, as well!
Watch for the first regular installment of this column in two weeks. I’ll be featuring a hometown boy who has an amazing, fresh sound…and I hear he cooks a mean blackened chicken, too.
Photos of Metric, live in Winnipeg, MB by Rebecca k Hadfield.
Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
“Today’s crafters are no longer interested in simply cross-stitching samplers or painting floral scrolls on china. Instead, the contemporary craft movement embraces emerging artists, crafters, and designers working in traditional and nontraditional media. Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching has revolutionized the embroidery industry. Each year Nikki McClure sells thousands of her cut-paper wall calendars. Emily Kircher recycles vintage materials into purses. Stephanie Syjuco manufactures clothing under the tag line “Because Sweatshops Suck.” These are just some of the fascinating makers united in the new wave of craft capturing the attention of the nation, the Handmade Nation.
Faythe Levine traveled 19,000 miles to document what has emerged as a marriage between historical technique, punk culture, and the D.I.Y. ethos. For Handmade Nation (along with the documentary film of the same name, coming in 2009) she and Cortney Heimerl have selected 24 makers and 5 essayists who work within different media and have different methodologies to provide a microcosm of the crafting community. Participants in this community share ideas and encouragement through websites, blogs, boutiques, galleries, and craft fairs. Together they have forged a new economy and lifestyle based on creativity, determination, and networking. Twenty-four artists from Olympia, Washington, to Providence, Rhode Island, and everywhere in between show their work and discuss their lives. Texts by Andrew Wagner of American Craft Magazine, Garth Johnson of Extremecraft.com, Callie Janoff of the Church of Craft, Betsy Greer of Craftivism.com, and Susan Beal, author of Super Crafty, supply a critical view of the tight-knit community where ethics can overlap with creativity and art with community. Handmade Nation features photographs of the makers, their work environment, their process, their work, and discussions of how they got their start and what motivates them. Handmade Nation is a fascinating book for those who are a part of the emerging movement or just interested in sampling its wares.” → more info
It’s fabulous farmers market season and these veggies look good enough to eat, if you could eat something so cute. You could, hover cuddle up to them, though, since they’re crocheted from wool. When Ohioja‘s creator Ylenia became unemployed she filled her free time in various corners of the web and discovered amigurumi and instantly fell in love. So much so that she rushed to the nearest bookshop and picked up a crochet guide so that she could get started immediately.
With some encouragement from her friends and after the success of a DIY festival, she decided to start selling her creations. She’s still learning the ins and outs of selling online. If you happen to be in Italy, you might see Ylenia out with her wares in corner markets, festivals and punk rock gigs.
My favorite item is onion, no doubt. Why? Because, talking about amigurumi, it’s hard to see onions and it’s a pity. They are nice, polite and kinda tender-hearted. What’s more I have to say it’s always funny to create an amigurumi onion.
As you can tell, Ylenia’s biggest influence is the grocer’s, but not all of her creations are vegetable based. All of her creations begin as a simple sketch. Then she studies it for a while, imagining how it will shape up and then she jumps in with her crochet hook. The finishing touch is the expression.
Ylenia lives in Florence and works in a Tattoo studio. She likes music and animals. She’s been a vegetarian since 2004, so you can see why she loves vegetables so much!
You can check out her blog where you can find a lot of photos and some info about her upcoming markets.
What a fun way to get into making felt food!