Wednesday Thinking – Is there enough diversity in the world of arts and crafts?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv

When I heard there was going to be a new shopping TV channel dedicated to all things sewing and quilting, it almost made my year.

Then I started watching.

Here are some of the main cast of presenters and designers on the new shopping channel, Sewing Quarter.

Group1Edited.jpg

Picture credit/source: Sewing Quarter/https://www.sewingquarter.com/the-sewing-quarter/about-us/

Only 1 male presenter, no male designers, as for ethnic diversity – well here’s the picture, need I say more?

A while ago, I published a piece about the lack of diversity in the music industry, referencing the issues regarding the dominance of a single artist in the UK charts.  Sadly those same themes appear to dominate the world of art and crafts as well.

As much as I enjoyed the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, I was saddened that the range of crafts displayed didn’t reflect the wide diversity of the cratfters, producers and makers in the UK. During my 2 days at the show, I only saw 2 crafter/bloggers of colour at the event – Megan of Pigeon Wishes and Chinelo Bally. There also seemed to be very few male crafters live demonstrating at the show.

When I visit areas such as Goldhawk Road in West London, Walthamstow Fabric Market in East London and areas in-between such as Berwick Street and Portobello Road,  I see a united nations of crafters – beginner hobbyists to professionals, shoppers, shop owners, artists, young and the young at heart. So why is this not reflected in the main stream crafting media, fairs and TV shows?

I know there’s always YouTube, but I also know there is a strong appetite for new challenges, materials and techniques. Chinese jacquards, Indian silks, Nigerian Cottons, Japanese Embroidery, Italian Wools are all highly popular at the moment, but there are few places on the web to inform you how to use these wonderful fabric and techniques. When they are showcased, it is usually by people who are so far removed from the historical and social context of these crafts, the results becomes diluted. An recent example was highlighted during a quilting demonstration on Sewing Quarter where the cultural heritage of quilting was only briefly mentioned.

 

While personally I’m not a huge fan of Colette patterns for various reasons, at least they are attempting to reflect their diverse clientele, featuring models who are diverse in both shape and skin colour. It’s at least a small step the the right direction. Sadly, of all the independant pattern designers, Colette patterns is the only one I know of, who actively do so. None of the top 5 UK independent sewing pattern designers do, as far as I’m aware, which sends out subtle messages of exclusion.

It seems a great pity 2 genres; music and arts & crafts, ideal mediums for bringing people together, appear to be doing the opposite.

What you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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