Visual Arts

Arty Girl: Handmade Nation Screening this Weekend

Alright all you crafty people in town, this is what you've been waiting for...Faythe Levine of "Handmade Nation" fame is in Phoenix this weekend!

I think it's safe to say our nation's love affair with mass production is coming to an end. Sure, we appreciate factory produced goods for all they've done for us. They've provided ease, stability and comfort to our wardrobes and jewelry boxes for years. All in all, it's been a practical partnership.

But, as with any relationship, if your mate doesn't make you feel special, it's only a matter of time before your eye wanders.

Enter the rising Do It Yourself (D.I.Y.) movement. This mistress has been slowly seducing our nation, and Faythe Levine has been taking notes.

Increasingly, American consumers are looking to handmade, unique objects as an outlet for individual expression in dress, decoration and design. But this isn't just a consumer's love affair. Artists and creative types have naturally fallen in love with the practice of making one of a kind wares, enriching and nurturing this new union.

Now, this idea may cause you to conjure images of horrid granny doilies and the crocheted afghans of yesterday.

Not so. This new movement is contemporary, relevant and maintains constantly updated looks and styles, following the whims and creativity of this young school of makers.

Essentially, it's the stuff you want to own, wear or display to make you feel special.

In 2006, Levine traveled to 15 different cities, filming over 50 artists, crafters and designers, trailblazing this movement via shared studios, boutiques, traveling booths and websites. They each offer insights to this reinterpretation of techniques well-ingrained in America's creative history.

Levine's trek resulted in her book, co-authored by Cortney Heimerl, titled "Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y., Art, Craft and Design", released in November, 2008. She's also managed to cull over 80 hours of footage into a 65 minute documentary that shares the title (here's a great clip to give you a sneak peek).

I, for one, am pumped to have Levine in Phoenix this weekend. She's got a book signing at Frances tonight (which also happens to be Frances' 3rd Anniversary) and will screen her documentary on Saturday and Sunday.

Check for more info.

Book signing at Frances takes place Friday, May 1st from 6-9 p.m. at 10 W. Camelback Rd. in Phoenix,, 602-279-5467.

Screening takes place Saturday, May 2nd and Sunday, May 3rd at 2 p.m. at Modified Arts, 407 E. Roosevelt in Phoenix,, 602-462-5516.

Tickets ($10) are available at Stinkweeds, Frances and MADE with limited tickets available at the door.

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Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi