When the concept for Design Star was originally announced it made me bristle a little. If its one thing I love about true artists and artisans is that they are generous with their time, expertise and materials--exactly contrary to the spirit of the show. And now television programming introduces us to Craft Wars as a way to find the best crafter in America. Here's the reality of this not-so-real world-- while there are 'rules' about scale and color and balance etc, in the end, design--and especially crafts--are largely subjective. Every rule ever established has been broken or replaced with new rules--Black is the new brown, etc. So why make it an Olympic-sized goal to make crafting of all things so competitive? It is contrary to spirit of art, creativity and free-flowing ideas.
One of the reasons I'm creative and crafty is because of the positive feelings I get when using interesting and pretty materials. I like the feel of fabric in my hands as I glide it through the machine, or the feel of wood as I'm sanding it. I like the experimentation with and manipulation of materials to make new and interesting things. If I had someone breathing down my neck, stealing materials and looking to sabotage me, I think the crafting experience might resemble Mozart being swapped for a screaming rocker--peaceful to punk in 3.2 seconds.
So, crafting and war will come together in the newest of competitive reality shows. I have no doubt that good ideas will be displayed--unfortunately it will be directly alongside some horrible behavior. Behavior that is contrary to true artists and artisans. We've made everything else competitive, I guess crafting can't escape the drama. It makes me wonder what's off limits--food, singing, dancing, variety acts, fashion, interior design, chain saw carving, carpentry, dog sled races, and pageants have all had their day. What's next? Competitive parenting? Cut throat gardening? Graphic designers one-upping each other in Font Wars? Why don't networks concentrate on programming that promotes collaboration rather than competition? Or might this suggestion incite a blog war?