Kitschdesigns

HELLO, MY NAME IS: Old School Crafter

May 13, 2008 10:15 by ehouston

I was a child of the 70’s and 80’s, and I am an Old School Crafter.  I use this term to distinguish those of us out there that grew up doing craft projects using random items and tools from around the house and yard.  Craft paper cut into shapes, glued to another full sheet of craft paper; squares turned into houses with a triangle for the roof; homemade play dough rolled into big-headed sculptures of family members and later found embedded in the carpet.  My mom was always coming up with ways to occupy my time and keep me out of her hair.  Being an Old School Crafter is a distinction I am making because, and I am going to sound so old when I say this, I find the new craft supply stores completely overwhelming.  Don’t get me wrong, when I am working on a sewing project the plethora of fabrics can be a joy to dig through (I am a completely textile-obsessed) and sometimes I will just walk through the aisles to get some crafty inspiration, but it is all a bit much these days.

I can remember when the first Michael’s Craft store opened up near our home and it was like the Wal-mart of the crafter’s world.  Originally, it seemed this was a place to purchase supplies and source those odd things, like hardcore fabric dyes that worked better than the grocery store Rit, jewelry clasps and Indian beads, creamy canvas and wooden stretchers, print-making linoleum blocks and inks.  Sometimes they would have a kit of all the tools and supplies needed for a specific project, but most of the time you went there to get the missing piece or tool you needed to help complete a task you had started.  At this time you could not go in and find aisle after aisle of creativity, well, already created.  You had to figure out what you wanted to make, scrap, paint, sew, weave, etc, and this store was a source for the pieces and tools to get you to your end product.  Now, when you go in to shop just about everything you can think of is already created, packaged and hanging on a shelf ready to be purchased.  All you have to do is take it home and glue it to whatever you want to embellish, fill in the color to “paint” the painting, iron it on to finish the T-shirt, slap it on a glossy 4 X6 and you have scrapbooked a picture.  I could go on and on, but I will spare you the drama.  It just seems that the thinking part of the process has been lost along the way.  The time spent mulling over an idea or design and trying to figure out the execution is no longer needed.  You can buy a product for that now.  I get a little sad every time I go to the craft store and see something I thought was my idea, pre-packaged next to the check-out… 

I miss those good ol’ days of the Old School Crafter.   Like the time you almost cut off your finger tips because you used a razorblade for that straight edge since the perfect cutting contraption did not yet exist.  Or, the time Barbie had to wear dresses reminiscent of a potato sack because your machine could only barely run a straight stitch and there were no classes to show you how to cut or fit a pattern.  And, oh yes, when you finally broke down and bought a glue gun…all the hilarity that ensued with the third degree burns, endured just to get that hand-tied, grosgrain ribbon bow to stay on the Godforsaken banana clip!  Ahhhh, those are the days…..

Yep, bringin' back, Old-School-Style!

http://www.craftzine.com/


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How this all started....

May 8, 2008 04:27 by ehouston

So, I have been creating since I was a little kid.  Sometimes with the aid of a parent or teacher and other times on my own with stolen, make that acquired tools from said parents or teachers.  The idea of making something not only from my heart, but through the use of my mind always fascinated me and held my attention for hours.  I would often deconstruct something just to figure it all out.  I could not always reconstruct the item, or if I did it might not look exactly the same and there could be some extra parts left over, but I would at least get the gist of it all.  Throughout the years, I have created, collected, refurbished and reinvented everything from junk parts, to clothing, furniture and other odd castoffs.  To make something new and useful out of something that is, well, technically trash in someone else’s eyes is a very rewarding task.  The business of doing so, even more rewarding and I have attempted it, as a way to support my hobbies, many times over the last 10-15 years or so.  Part of my desire to recreate from the old and unused was due in part to being raised by thrifty recyclers and re-inventors.  It also came from a love of being surrounded by items with a past and a story.  Once on my own, I also discovered that making that cool, newly acquired (bought this time, not stolen) piece of furniture or other home décor item meant trying to fit it into a palate built for a more modern era.  The average suburban track home leaves much to be desired when trying to outfit the interior with vintage pieces and retro found objects.  Then there was the issue with needing new items to cozy up a home with an older aesthetic; a concern a good friend brought to me when attempting to merge a nursery into her vintage bungalow.  None of the items that were readily available were a fit and everything screamed, THIS IS THE KID’S ROOM, rather than blending in nicely with the rest of her Arts & Crafts furnishings.  All these experiences came together a one point and made me realize there is opportunity here to create not only what people want, but what they need.  That is how KitschDesigns.com was born.  Over the years this little made by one woman, cottage industry has taken on many different projects to infuse retro chic into apparel, accessories and home décor.  Most recently, it has become a moniker for any and all of my creative passions and this site is just another outlet for me to express my love of the old, the new, the once loved and the recently reborn.  I hope you enjoy! -E


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