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Friday, February 04, 2011

CHA Report...the Etsy Generation!

Last month I had the opportunity to go to CHA (Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show) in Los Angeles. As always it was a smorgasbord of delicious new trends, and exciting new products. One trend I saw come through strong was catering to the "Etsy Generation." If you haven't heard of Etsy, then you haven't been on the internet lately. Etsy is the non-auction equivalent to e-bay for home-crafters and indie (independent) artists to sell their wares. Etsy is also a trend seekers hot spot. Etsy has it's finger on the pulse of the younger generation.  And what is cool to them? Well, in one word, Vintage...but really, it's more than that! This generation is revisiting Grandma's crafts and many other lost hand-arts. That makes me so happy! Hallelujah!

What exactly draws these women to these lost crafts, retro color schemes, and kitschy themes? One thing I am learning, is that many of these crafters are young.  They are 20 somethings to mid 30 somethings.  That means the majority of these crafters are post 70's babies...women who were born in the 1980's.  It dawned on me, that this group of ladies totally missed the living through the colorful 1960's and 1970's! So in order to reflect the essence of a more carefree and simple period of time, I believe they are drawn to recreating that colorful past by reincarnating the crafts of those eras with uber-cool twists.

They literally want to live through those decades, so they are doing it vicariously through their crafts. It makes sense to me that in this complicated decade, with our current trials and hardships around us, and particularly the recession; these artist with their resourcefulness and creativity, have invented a way to make an extra buck or two by using their hands to make useful works of art. Some of these crafters are more than supplementing their incomes and have built a loyal customer base and big businesses. I think it's marvelous! Long live the lost arts, crafts...and folk-arts!

One of the biggest trends in crafts that I see is the resurgence of yarn and needle crafts. Yarn is hot!  In fact...Yarn gets my vote for "product of the show." They were by far some of my favorite booths at the show...with decadent displays of knitted capes and shawls, cozy hats and fuzzy sweaters.  One of the manufacturer's had a chic fashion show going on with gorgeous designs. The textures and colors were so wearable, and bundled my heart with warmth. It's not just clothing or afghans that are being created with yarn these days, but also crocheted flowers and cute cuddly creatures, bags, soft jewelry, cup warmers to finger puppets and so much more!  Yarn reminds me of my Grandma's house laden with bright-random colored afghans with flower-centered "granny squares." These afghans were crocheted with whatever skeen of yarn was available at the time.

The eclectic mish-mash of colors also seems to be embraced by this young "etsy-generation." Yet, it seems to be a mish-mash with skilled purpose.  Color schemes seem to flow, then have that one pop of spunky unexpected color that Hot Pink juxtaposed with Olive and brown and orange. I love the innocence of such combinations. They make me smile!

Yarn can be Sophisticated...
Photo From Mojospastyle. Link to her etsy shop.

To Fun and Funky...
Photo from Evalinen. Link to her etsy shop.

To absolutely adorably cute! (it's a baby sweet!)
Photo from FidlestyxStudios. Link to her etsy shop.

Beyond the yarn...the etsy generation has inspired designers of fabric, paper and stickers to look at kitschy themes. Retro Rockets, woodland critters, vintage nursery rhymes, ephemera from the past, flamingos, gnomes, lace, doilies, flowers, flowers and more flowers. And beyond paper and yarn, I even saw an entire booth dedicated to paint by numbers on black velvet...though I don't think many of us are ready for another slew of "Velvet Elvis" paintings. Though I do think the idea of crafts from the past are definitely what is motoring the craft industry today. The future of the craft industry is bright in our past!

1 comment:

  1. Samantha, just wanted to share a "boy" story with you. this generation we all only have boys/ tough handsome young men. some one made a disparaging word about my sons ridiculous hand-knitted hat, My tough son got all up in his face and dared him to say AnyTHing about his mom's art. She has a brain tumor and is doing the best she can. They aren't friends but they understand one another. Ugly story ...I made 6 hats that winter all from the same exact pattern and no two alike. I don't know how I do it...sigh {Walk a mile in someones shoes before a judgement is made}


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