Monday, August 20, 2007

Craft2.0Camp. Describing a Dream.

Life seems to be pushing me in a direction I haven't anticipated. A direction I'm not completely certain about. A direction that's a little bit scary. Come along with me, if you dare. I think it will be worth it.

I get these small pushes from LIFE, more like nudges or pokes. They are hard enough that I can't ignore them when they occur. Gentle enough that with the passage of time I can let them pass. Until the next nudge comes along and reminds me: this is not the first time you've felt this. When are you going to pay attention?

A year ago this past spring, I came home from WoolfCamp excited with the idea of someday holding (or merely attend) a similar type of camp organized specifically for the modern web 2.0 crafter. The passion for the idea passed with the seasons, going dormant in my mind until last month.

First, BlogHer07 held a wonderful session on The Art of Craft. It was standing room only. It was quite delightful. (If you missed the session, Jennifer Ackerman-Hewitt has the podcast.) Then
BlogHer07 ended with an unconference where the energy of sharing ideas and passions scratched at that craft camp idea again. It worked it's way to a warm fertile spot in my mind and sat there waiting for something more.

Last Saturday that "something more" showed up again. I drove down to Palo Alto and attended my first BarCamp. While most of the day really above my head, and introvert that I am, I spent much time sitting quietly and watching the passionate exchange of ideas, there was one half hour that made the day worthwhile. It was an early morning session on Craft and Web 2.0.

There were about 10 of us, crammed into an airless little room to discuss the whys, wherefores and implications of the explosion of craft on the web. For that one session, I was as deeply involved in the process as the developers and venture capitalists seriously discussing what to do when Web 2.0 collapses. I was hip-deep in sharing thoughts and observations. I was in heaven.

The discussion began with the "why?" Why are so many young people (excuse me for this, but I am a member of the over 50 crowd... and most of the crafters are the other side of 35. Young, to me)... anyway, why are so many young people passionately involved in DIY CRAFTING, and eager to share their passion online?

My theory (just mine) goes back to John Naisbett's work on the idea of "high tech/high touch." He argues that the more our work moves into a high tech mode the more the individual would seek out "high touch" activities in their free time. Each generation tends to develop their own focus for these "high touch" activities, from the entertaining of the 50s, through the DIY home rehabbing of the 70s, to the current trends of fashion repurposing and recycled craft.

Many people who enjoy these activities will not necessarily find friends who share thier passion living down the block or around the corner. Rather than "playing in isolation" we go online, find group websites like "Craftster" and start our own blogs.

The implications of these globally shared activities move in both directions. While ideas can be shared with like-minded souls regardless of geography, there is also the implication that regionally recognized crafts may lose thier geographic uniqueness. Amish-styled quilts can be made in large cities; Appalachian wood carving might disappear from a lack of local students, but thrive through practicioners elsewhere.

The individual can "opt in to a community of knowledge instead of existing within given regional influences." I'm sorry, this quote should be attributed to another attendee of the session, but I failed to correctly note his name except as David.

I walked out of that session, sat in the shade on a warm California afternoon and watched passion all around me. Passion I wasn't sharing in, but passion I wanted. I WANT there to be a Craft 2.0 Camp. I want it strongly enough I can almost see it.

There would a zokolo, a central space where individuals could share or sell some of their wares. There would sessions talking about blogging the process, photographing the process, sharing the process without giving away your soul. There would be discussions about Etsy and bookkeeping and pricing and maybe how to use Social Media tools to both network and market.

I know I am not the person to create this entire vision. There are others with better contacts to potential sponsors, with understanding of venues, with more cachet to motivate people to attend. Today I am sending this intention to the Universe. Asking for that thing that I truly want to see happen.

The next move is up to Universe.

How would you envision Craft2.0Camp?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays, where this was cross-posted.

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