As I was listening to NPR (as usual) and a story came on about a twenty something tailor's apprentice, the small but mighty push towards craftivism and not being a mass consumer. The story got me thinking, thinking about my life, my work, and my place within a bigger movement. What is my place in all of this craftivism?
The Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th and 20th centuries was a push towards beautiful high quality, handmade, pieces furniture and decorative arts. I'm sure at the time the original people involved were thought of as nuts for their push for handmade in a time of industrial revolution. Just as right now craftivists are looked as subversive, anti-establishment feminists by people who can easily purchase cheap mass-produced goods made in our new global economy.
The difference now- with the advent of the Internet you can read all about the lives and musings of artists and craftspeople, find ones that have the same politics as you, ones with your worldview. You can easily be informed about where and how your goods are produced. As and informed consumer it is much harder (for me) to purchase anything without questioning it's origin, sustainability and larger impact.
I find myself asking all the hard questions when I shop now. Where was this made? Was the person who made it payed a living wage? Is this cup of coffee fairly traded, does the barista have health insurance? Did these eggs and this milk come from animals who were pinned up and pumped full of hormones? I'm sure my life would be much simpler if I didn't ask these questions. I know my grocery bill would be lower. but would I be happier? I doubt it, and besides, my life would be so boring and predictable without wonderful handmade goods.