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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Craft + War? Really?

The words craft and war seem to be mismatched.  Apparently the American appetite for competitive reality programming isn't satiated enough with Ninja Warriors, The Amazing Race or the Olympics for that matter.  We now need crafting to be a cut throat competitive world?!?

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?

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