In defence of Kirstie

***EDIT: please read the bottom of the post, I am taking it all back!****

Yes, you read that right and you know who I am talking about.

Ok, now before you either a) snort and delete me from your feed, b) call some sort of mental health professional, or c) text me to make sure my blog hasn't been hacked let me explain. I like many of my crafty friends find Kirstie's handmade series a patronising, unrealistic representation of the work it takes to create hand-crafted good of a high standard, and the recent foray into competitive craft has left me feeling sad that something so central to my life could leave me feeling so angry. 

But that is the rant that I am not having today. Today I am sat on my sofa knitting socks watching Kirstie's Handmade Christmas remembering a time in my life when I would watch this show again and again having recorded it on the digi box. This was back when I was in a job I disliked, filled with a barrel load of late-twenties-life-crisis, wondering what I should do with my life. I would watch the Kirstie shows, and the Mastercrafts shows incessantly, loving to rewatch bits of the weaving episode, or glassblowing and imagine a different life where I wasn't a frustrated administrator by day and crafter by night. And do you know what, that is exactly what I have now. I am training to become a designer/maker, I have grand plans on what BorderlineStraggler, SilverLining and I are going to do when I am done at school, I have products in an actual shop and a lot of that was inspired by the early Kirstie shows. By putting professional craftspeople on primetime television this show made me realise that there were thousands of designer/makers our there who did exactly what I longed to do and it inspired me. Some did intense, amazing processes I had never dreamed of like blacksmithing, others made their living making things using techniques that I used like knitting and baking. They were real people with lives I was jealous of. Sitting here, this repeat is bringing back a whole range of different memories and emotions, not all of them good, but mainly I am remembering the wonder I felt the possibilities out there. 

Now I am certainly not saying that Kirtie's handmade home was the only thing which made me jack in my job and change our lives, that would make my decision seem shallow and impetuous and easy, when in reality it was hard, and scary and took years of lots of little things building up to help me come to college.  But it was one of those little things. So I am happy that this show helped me and even thought the current incarnation makes me shout at the TV like a woman possessed, I hope that there are other people out there who saw this show and were inspired to do something creative.

Even if it was make god awful, ugly PMC jewellery, and hideous cushions with hares on them.


I am very sad to say that I just watched the Christmas edition of the new Kirstie show and it made me so angry and sad. I think the whole thing was summed up when Kirstie admitted to the camera that she didn't want to make things to compete anymore, she just wanted to go to the fair and buy a quilt, not make one but buy one. And that is the problem. The past two series have taken all the gentle joy of crafting out of the show. There is no longer any happiness in Kirstie when she is making things there is fear of being too original, instead it is all about conforming to a 'traditional' aesthetic which is acceptable to the Judges. There shouldn't be judging in craft. People craft to escape the mundane strictures and rules of proper life, if you make even your that a race, what is left to do for fun? Very saddened by the whole thing.

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