Originally posted by TheToastmanCometh
I'm not trying it to make it sound that way. Yes, crafting is mainly an indoors things, but during the warmer months, I like to take my projects
outside, or do projects that require outside work. What I was trying to get at was feminists think that sewing/crafting is an archaic artform that
reminds women of how they are chained to domesticity ie be the good June Cleaver housewife, and we should ditch such professions.
Given the recent upsurge in 'crafters' and the numerous stores catering to their needs, I don't think the feminists are doing a very good job if
that is their aim
However, the emancipation of women and the feminist movement generally, have, very successfully, aided in placing a greater value on women's time,
and more importantly, upon their ability to choose for themselves how to use it. If you want to consider such crafts in a historical context, then I
suggest you first remove your rose tinted sunglasses, the needle arts, particularly, have since the dawn of civilisation, had little intrinsic value
to the crafts people, the lion's share always having gone to the middle-man. Since for the most part women were not allowed to market their produce,
they were reliant on such middlemen, who set the price.
My grandmother, when she married, wasn't permitted to work outside the home, and was totally dependent upon my grandfather for 'housekeeping'.
Like many women, that money seldom extended to 'personal' items. In order to have some 'rainy day' or 'pin' money, she did piece work for a
major high street chain, smocking mostly. Piece work meant that you were paid by the finished item, not for your time. Relative to the time she
spent on her work, she was paid a pittance. Nowadays, smocking is done by machine, so she wouldn't be needed anyway...not the fault of feminism, but
industrialist, as was the low return she received for her endeavours.
Going much further back, much praise is laid upon the English for having offered refuge to the Hugenots. Little emphasis is placed upon the fact that
we offered that refuge on the basis that we could then exploit their craft and thereby further our monopoly of the textile trade. Those Hugenots came
to England, were ghettoised in squalor, and spent every waking hour producing the finest and most sought after linens and laces known at that time for
a pittance. No feminists involved there either.
You cannot compete with major manufacturers because you cannot buy in bulk. You skill is not valued, in pecuniary terms, because you do not mass
produce. A machine can make 1000 times more in the time that it takes you to make one. Nothing whatsoever to do with feminism...just industrialised
production, purchasing and import methods.
However, there are still people who will pay premium for hand made, individual items. An acquaintance of mine is a full-time weaver, and she lives
off commissions, not lavishly, admittedly. Bridal wear is niche where people will pay the premium for high quality fabrics and finishing...something
that automation cannot provide them with. But you need to access those customers, and that means producing samples of your work and going to trade
fairs and the such like to reach customers. While people won't pay high prices for items that they can get in the shops for much cheaper, there will
always be a market for items which are individually created for them...but you have to get to those people, and market yourself and your produce.
What I have always done is trawl jumble sales and charity shops for fabrics, or garments which I can disassemble and make into something new, or
customise, or bought remnants and roll-ends. Which, if I was so inclined, would be a good way of building up enough stock to get your own stall or
website started...and whenever you make something, take photos, and display it as an example of your capabilities in terms of custom-made one off
pieces, that can be made to order. Design your own fabrics...batik and tie-dying are both reasonably cheap ways of making something plain, into
something unique. People will pay for unique. In short, it is not about the cost, but about accessing the customers who have the money to spend, and
then producing what they want to spend that money on.
Where there is a will there is a way