The Days of Do-It-Yourself Are Over

BlogHer Original Post

As an avid crafter and maker, I sometimes have to stop myself from attempting every.single. craft project that comes my way. I like to do things myself because I like to see and feel all the steps that go into making something. Armed with that attitude I've made it to 36 years with a fair amount of DIY skills tucked under my hot pink sparkly hello kitty belt (made from upcycled thrifted Hot Topic shirt).

Tailor's tools hanging on wooden panel, close-up

I have a very, very full craft studio. Recently I realized that I never go in there because it just stresses me out; it's too messy and too full of half done projects. Why do I have so many craft supplies? Many of them not touched for years? It's because I take some classes or get a bug up my shirt about trying something new, and because I'm craft supply whore I go out and buy all the necessary items. In my last craft post I mentioned the idea that having to buy a ton of craft supplies all the time is just a waste of money, money going to big chain supply stores like Michael's and Joann's. I don't like that DIY has become a massive consumer endeavor, and it has been niggling in the back of my mind for a while now. 

Three years ago I was into making stained glass, but now I'm obsessed with Urban homesteading with all of its chickens and canning and homemade clothing. I am absolutely glad I've done all the things I have. If ever there is a need to make a stained glass window I will whip out my soldering iron and go to town. Or will I? At this point I think I am moving to a different thought process about all this. What if I sell or donate all my stained glass supplies to a needy artist for whom stained glass is an actual passion? Some one who is trying to further their skills, create art and create an income source or profession out of it. Maybe I could trade my supplies or my more honed skills to such a person in an EXCHANGE of goods and services? Wouldn't that be better for everyone?

This year I was honored to be a part of creating and putting on a new craft conferences for entrepreneurs called Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs (coming to the Bay Area in 2011!).  The keynote was given by Faythe Levine (of Handmade Nation fame), and in it she referenced an article written by  Lisa Anne Auerbach called Don't Do It Yourself . It's really a fantastic crafting manifesto and practically brought me to tears with it's lovely ranting riot grrrl goodness. I love it when some one eloquent rolls up all the ideas in my head and puts them onto paper (or computer screen, whatever).

A few months ago I also wrote a post on Indie CraftGossip  about a crafting tool library. I was just speculating about what a good idea it would be, and lo, I found someone who was attempting to start a snail mail craft tool lending library. I actually think it's a bad idea (even though I gave it a positive review) to do it over mail and the whole weird points/monthly membership thing, that is. Oakland and Berkeley both have tool lending libraries attached to the local library branches that lend out home improvement tools. Wouldn't it be awesome if they also had crafting tools? I'm planning on looking into donating some things to them to see if they would be interested.

I don't really want to quash anyone's dreams of doing things themselves, but before you do, stop and consider hiring a skilled friend or someone from your community who might be able to do it better. If your local library doesn't have a tool lending library, approach them and ask if it's something they would be interested in starting.

Read more about tool lending libraries and get ideas on how to share tools and skills in Beth Terry's 2009 post Ditch the Clutter: Why Buy When You Can Borrow?

Read more about Lisa Ann Auerbach  and Faythe Levine. The title of this post is a quote from Lisa Anne Auerbach's article Don't Do It Yourself.


Love, Minnie
Parenting and Crafting: Thank You For Not Being Perky
Fin DIY picks: Indie CraftGossip


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