I picked this book up at the library, because I was intrigued by the title, and was soon staying up late to read it. Kaya Oakes‘ enthusiastic respect for the do-it-yourself process was energizing. Oakes herself is a poet, and an editor with Kitchen Sink Magazine. I can’t help but love the tagline, “For people who think too Much.” (Be sure to check out her About page, for a cool double bio–one in Third Person and one in First Person.)
I have crossed paths with different aspects of Indie culture, starting with going to an Allen Ginsberg poetry reading in-utero, through publishing my own poetry chapbook with a couple of friends, to making mosaics and selling them at craft shows, and on Etsy.
One of the last chapters, following music, comics, and zines, is on The Crafting and Indie Design Movement. It is interesting to take the wider view, and see my craft as part of a larger cultural movement toward “hands on” and handmade. There is something immensely hopeful about the idea that we can do things ourselves, be creative, learn as we go. Punk was an expression of creativity in the here and now–not part of a series of hurdles to get recorded, promoted, played on the radio and fill stadiums.
Oakes talks about the film Handmade Nation, directed by Faythe Levine, and though I’ve heard of it, I have not gotten my hands on a copy yet. There is a quote by Levine about the nature of the crafting community, “The important thing is that it’s a powerful creative movement that’s mostly women, and I don’t know if that’s ever existed before.” Oakes delineates an Indie world that has had women on the periphery, but DIY crafting is different and women are central, and in fact some critics dismiss it for this very reason, as unimportant or trivial. Slanted and Enchanted was a useful reminder that the community is real, no matter what permutations Indie Culture goes through.
I have been participating in the SITS Girls ProBlogger Blog Challenge, and I can vouch that discovering a community of creative women is invigorating! I suspect the explosion of blogging will someday be part of the Indie history, and I’m glad to be part of it. If you want to know more about the context of this community, be sure to check out Kaya Oakes’ book.