15 December 2007

Handmade 2.0

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Handmade 2.0
Rob Walker of the New York Times Magazine asks what so many crochet-hook-wielding, papermaking, silversmithing handicrafters are doing online and tries to prove that the future of shopping — and of work — is all about the past.

The article is mostly a profile of Etsy, a company that hosts an online shopping bazaar for all things handmade.

“Only about two years old, the company is not currently profitable but is somewhat unusual among Internet-based start-ups of the so-called Web 2.0 era in having a model that does not depend on advertising revenue. It depends on people buying things, in a manner that the founders position as a throwback to the way consumption ought to be: individuals buying from other individuals. “Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost,” the Handmade Pledge site asserts. “Buying handmade helps us reconnect.” The idea is a digital-age version of artisanal culture — that the future of shopping is all about the past.”

The author is particularly interested in the new technologically enabled “new craft movement” as a social commentary on consumer culture, but has not explored what the possibilities might be if these objects themselves would become carriers of information.

If you want to know more about this, I suggest you to explore the work of Ulla-Maaria Mutanen, whose Thinglink (blog) organisation is all about the Internet of Things, applied to the world of crafts, and whose approach is closely connected to the Spime concept envisioned by Bruce Sterling.

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