Post-meetup – Crafty: DIY and Gender
Yup, it was small. And a little awkward. I’m having growing pains stepping into’s Magda’s big shoes as organizer, y’all. But it was good, too. Four of us got together at Tequila Bookworm and busted out our crafting projects (2 knitters: scarf and a sock, 1 pasty maker and one non-crafter but art history major), shared crafting books and recipes, riffed on the theme, and just generally had a pleasant little social.
There were some interesting things that I thought I’d remark on, and the first one won’t be a surprise if you’ve been following our mailing list posts. Christopher, male feminist and master crafter, didn’t make it, and we were mighty sad. We were all really excited about a guy who felts an ipod case while watching hockey championships. And we talked about guys we know who’ve expressed an interest in girly crafts. Nicole’s ex asked to for knitting instruction, seemingly to satisfy a mechanical curiosity about how loops form a structure like that. My partner got way more into making bath bombs for Christmas gifts than I did, because it was kin to his interest in cooking. Katherine’s brothers, too, were encouraged to experiment with women’s crafts, and she with men’s, to make them more proficient at their own pursuits.
One of the interesting comments about men crafting was about a kind of resentment that it generates. Don’t stop making those buttons, Christopher, but know that one of the things that we love about crafting being a traditionally female domain is that we have ownership over it, and we enjoy that and the experience of sharing that with other women. We talked about stitch n’ bitches and how we treasure them as places to enjoy the company of women. We want to spend time in those special women’s spaces. I thought it was a little contentious, and I had to ask whether, in an ideal world, we would want those spaces. I’ll let you generate your own answer to that one.
Some of us have had the ‘women’s space’ experiences of being taught our crafts by older generations of aunts, mothers, omas (sp?). A lot of feminine values around relationships between people came to the fore in our discussion. We prize the drive to make things for people who are important to us that express something about ourselves, themselves and our relationships to them. We relish the collaboration that’s embedded in the culture of stitch n’ bitches and the ‘inheritance’ knowledge of crafts. And of course, at the end of the evening, we noted how the conversation just flows when you’ve got a piece of work in your hand.