In 2006, filmmaker Faythe Levine traveled 19,000+ miles visiting over 15 cities, and interviewing more than 50 indie artists, crafters, and designers. The result is a fun, fabulous documentary that recently came out on DVD, Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design.
I watched it a couple nights ago, and *loved* it. Levine not only captures artists like Jenine Bressner, Nikki McClure, and Jenny Hart working in their studios, but also profiles the owners of independent stores, galleries and online distributors, like Little Otsu, Beehive Co-op, and buyolympia.com. She also has lots of footage from events, like the Renegade Craft Fair (which I'm hoping to report back from later this month).
You can watch a 10-minute trailer on YouTube. The film is still being screened across the country. Look in the right sidebar of the Handmade Nation blog for upcoming screening dates. It is also available on DVD from buyolympia.com and Amazon.
Whether you identify with the people profiled in the film's desire to create, be independent, work sustainably, make a living as an artist, preserve a craft, or find community, I think you'll be inspired by the film's end. I was.
I received a review copy of the DVD, which I'd be happy to send off to a lucky someone. To enter in the raffle to receive the DVD, post a comment on the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship blog, where this post is cross-posted from, with your DIY/handmade holiday gift idea, and a way to contact you if you win, by December 21st.
Images: Jenine Bressner, Providence RI 2006. Nikki McClure, Olympia WA 2006. Jenny Hart's desk, Austin TX 2006.