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Handmade Nation

The Rise of DIY, Arts, Craft and Design

by: Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl

February 20th, 2009 · post by Fred Goodsell · Make a comment

Handmade books by Deb Dormody

Handmade Nation is an 156 page documentation of the rising DIY scene in North America. It features the work of 24 artists, crafters and makers form across the US. Each artist is given the opportunity to talk about their work and discuss their lives within the DIY community.

There is some magnificent work on show in the pages of Handmade Nation. Highlights come in the form of the colorful and engaging posters of The Little Friends of Printmakers, the handmade books of Deb Dormody, and the always excellent paper cuts of Nikki McClure.

The book is dissected by various articles and personal stories about DIY arts and crafts. It talks about the influences such as punk rock, traditional handiwork, politics, feminism and art. There is even a timeline of notable events in the arts and craft world since 1994.

Even the book it’s self is nicely designed. It’s colourful, well laid out and contains some nice hand drawn typography.

handmadenationMy only criticism would be that despite the books fiercely proclaimed DIY ethos it does feel at times that this is just another coffee table publication that will sit on people’s  bookshelves and enter their dreams but never really cause them to engage with the DIY world. This is in part, due to the relatively un-DIY publisher the book has, its price and its print finish. At times it feels a bit like looking into a world through a window, seeing how beautiful it is but never getting to step foot in it.

In all a good starting point to get to know a bit about the DIY scene but you would be better of popping along to a zine symposium or small publications fair then forking out the money for this title.

There is now also a film documentary of the same name. You can watch the trailer here.

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