Exploring crafting culture on campus

Clara Bartlett

Everyone is a secret crafter. Whether it’s giving a simple Valentine’s Day note to a loved one, tacking up favorite posters in an artful display or bejeweling a pair of your favorite True Religion jeans, we’ve all crafted at one point or another. You may be quick to deny your craftiness, but let’s face it, there is an inner crafter in all of us––or is there?

This week, The Pioneer found crafters and non-admitted crafters alike. We polled them on their thoughts concerning the resurgence of craft culture as it relates to the popularity of websites like Etsy and Pinterest, marking a new hybrid of social media and crafting.

Sophomore Annabelle Marcovici, having recently sold her Whitman t-shirt design to the student bookstore, discussed this hybrid.

Crafts decorate housing across campus.

“Crafting’s pretty trendy right now, especially with the rise of Pinterest,” she said. “One trend within the crafting world is making your own versions of designer things. It’s related to self-sufficiency. Beyond just crafting, I think being able to make things yourself as opposed to having to buy everything is a really useful skill.”

Senior Ryann Savino, who manages her own Etsy vintage store, further explored this idea.

“Sometimes, I get a little overwhelmed with Etsy … because the quality of some items on there are just out of this world,” said Savino. “I think the popularity issue is fine for me personally because I like to remind myself that crafting is so unique and one shouldn’t compare what they love and enjoy doing to what others are making.”

But oddly enough, when asked whether she would consider herself a “crafter,” Annabelle Marcovici said, “No, I’m interested in crafts but I don’t do it often enough.”

Recycling materials is a cost-minimizing crafting technique.

Additionally, when asked about her artistic habits, including card-making and collaging, sophomore Evelyn Levine said, “I don’t consider myself a ‘crafter’ because I have no dependence on crafting. To me, ‘crafter’ implies an addiction and not occasional dalliance. It communicates turkeys made of hand prints and neon oven mitts.”

However, Savino disagrees.

Having spent much time and energy re-vamping old vintage pieces and marketing them via Etsy, she said, “I think everyone is a ‘crafter.’ For me, being crafty is so personal to the individual. Someone may like to build bookshelves, another may like to make sculptures out of old plywood and wine barrels, and then there is someone who likes to make mix tapes and decorate the covers. All three are crafty in their own way, and that is so RAD!”

But regardless of one’s self-admitted “crafter” title, the propensity to craft or to simply be creative should not be hindered by the somewhat negative connotations of “crafting.”

“I think so long as you allow your imagination and creativity to take over every once in a while, we all are creative crafters,” said Savino.