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Is Cuteness Bad for Craft?

Aug 21, 2012

by Chappell Ellison handmade and vintage goods

Architecture writer and critic Alexandra Lange’s recent New Yorker article, “Don’t Put a Bird On It: Saving ‘Craft’ from Cuteness,” seems to have caused a rift in the craft community. In the piece, Lange writes a response to her first viewing of Craft Wars, the “ultimate crafting competition” reality TV show. Contestants on the show decorate birdhouses and refashion sports equipment into bags — activities that left Lange feeling empty. “What ‘craft’ mostly means on Craft Wars is the act of making things cuter,” explains Lange. While cute isn’t necessarily a bad word, by arguing that craft is backing itself into a corner of cuteness, Lange inspired angry comments from those who painted her as a snob.

For Lange, Craft Wars panders to a stereotype, portraying crafters and makers as shallow and wasteful hobbyists; she feels craft, as well as the slew of websites espousing it, deserves some consideration. “This is culture, it is not a hobby, and it deserves serious analysis, criticism and thought,” says Lange.

We’ve come a long way since the days of William Morris, the designer and leader who fostered the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 1800s. For Morris, craft was a serious endeavor that focused on putting handmade, functional objects in homes. “Rather than three sets of elaborately decorated transferware china, you would have one set of handmade and glazed plates,” explains Lange. The movement was consciously putting its foot down against the introduction of impersonal mass production.

Since Morris’s time, craft has lost its heady undertones, but we’re now seeing a return to the original tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement. Lange cites blogs like Unconsumption and Make It Do, which echo the founding sentiment of the Arts and Craft movement that Lange summarizes as “make it yourself, buy better quality items, think about each purchase, keep it for a long time.”

“I wonder if we are not in the dawn of another reform era,” says Lange. “William Morris felt that the products of the industrial revolution were wasteful and excessive, and that we should respect making and buy fewer, better things. To me, Morris’s ideas resonates with the sustainability agenda, and many other communities all along the socio-economic and political spectrums.” Craft can be cute, but it can be (and mean) so much more.

5 Featured Comments

  • OldSpoolVintage

    Carmen Iris from OldSpoolVintage said 5 years ago Featured

    This and the referenced New Yorker article are very interesting. In the realm of handmade items shouldn't everyone have a place at the table? I have seen a similar argument applied to various styles of art over the years and I just don't think it sticks because there is really no way to invalidate another persons taste, style or preferred aesthetic. You don't have to like every form of craft but they all have a right to exist and even flourish. All that having been said Craft Wars makes me cringe because that show just seems wasteful to me.

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture said 5 years ago Featured

    I think this has always been a struggle for crafters. Just the term craft tends to envoke visions of grannys sitting in circles filling their days with yarn and glue. Thing is, crafting is much more than what most people understand. At the end of the day, the product speaks for itself. I figure if you've got a product that people want, they'll buy it either way.

  • onelonelyapricot

    Kristen from onelonelyapricot said 5 years ago Featured

    I love William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. I'm inspired by the ideals that the movement stood for. That being said, I think a beautiful, well-crafted item can also have a sense of cute. Something cheap and wasteful could also be labeled as cute, but I don't think it has to be one way or the other. Many design patterns from the Arts and Crafts movement were elaborate florals and such. They weren't strictly about items being plain, for example, the mission style furniture from the same era. I think there is room for all kinds of styles under the label of "good craft." The colors, patterns, and symbols we choose to adorn our objects with are simply markers of our individual style preferences, not the quality of the items themselves.

  • rbgcolor

    Rebecca Bird Grigsby from ColorBirdStudio said 5 years ago Featured

    Wherever you stand on the cuteness spectrum, the fact that a show like Craft Wars is being discussed not only on the Etsy blog (a fitting venue, obviously) but in the New Yorker is a very good thing for the craft and handmade movements. Coming from a fine art and design background, I've always felt like it's thoughtful and critical dialogue like this that's been a bit lacking in the craft world. This is good stuff and there's a lot of digging to do.

  • teerexteeth

    Sarah May said 5 years ago Featured

    It feels like cuteness has supplanted depth/skill in the value of craft . There are continual images and comments of "adorable" circling the web without much discussion on the usability, technical consideration or expertise that goes into what crafters create. I agree that aesthetic is important, but it's not all there is. "Cute" is such a dismissive phrase for a movement that continues to have resounding strength and importance. It's a bummer that people will watch things like "Craft Wars" and honestly believe that that is the whole face of Craft.


  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    Love this post!

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 5 years ago

    Hmmm, surely there's room for all flavours of craft, from serious through to cute. The key thing for me is that - whatever the handcrafted item - it should be made with the best quality materials to the highest standard of workmanship ;)

  • littlepancakes

    Melissa Pancakes from littlepancakes said 5 years ago

    I'd say no. Atttitudes like Lange's seem much worse for 'craft' than cuteness.

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams said 5 years ago

    Nice post, the article by Alexandra Lange is interesting. Have to agree that "Craft Wars" was a big disappointment to me. Trying to follow the same format as "Chopped" on the Food Network, but with crafters trying to throw something together in ridiculously short times and produce a craft of any value, seems to be a very flawed premise to begin with. I don't see what they expect to accomplish this way. It only reinforces the idea that 'craft' means something amateur and cheap, as opposed to those of us trying to hand make individual items of beauty and usefulness. 'Craft Wars' does nothing to enhance the image of the craft artist, in my opinion.

  • yonderpine

    Amber from Yonderpine said 5 years ago

    I have definitely become more conscious of my decisions as a consumer and hope to carry that through to the materials I select when crafting. I value quality items that will last and I try to support others who do the same. I think it comes down to quality more than cute or not cute.

  • Lilithskyblue

    Crystal Bernard from OrendaDoll said 5 years ago

    I have always believed in buying just one beautiful well made sweater rather then three lesser quality ones. This goes for other items as well. As for cuteness, well, sometimes you feel like having cuteness, sometimes you don't. There is certainly lots to choose from on etsy. :)

  • HappyLittleCottage

    Debbie from HappyLittleCottage said 5 years ago

    I spend my days making the world a cuter place, one stitch at at time!

  • thehappycouple

    Brianna from thehappycouple said 5 years ago

    I think cuteness is just fine, it's when ideas get constantly regurgitated and just seem rushed and unoriginal that bothers me. Not everything has to be sophisticated or artsy to have value.

  • littleinsect

    LittleInsect from LittleInsect said 5 years ago

    I agree with some of what she says - craft can, and should be, much more than 'cute' However, 'cute' is trendy, especially among the young, at the moment, and I see nothing wrong with making cute items, if that's what the market demands. I wholeheartedly agree with Erika - it's the quality of a handcrafted item that marks its' value - not whether it's cute or not. If you wanted a cat, and someone offered you an adorable little kitten, would you refuse it a home just because it's cute?

  • beautyuncut

    Harriet Bedford from beautyuncut said 5 years ago

    The idea that craft can be undermined at all rather furiously undervalues what it is. For me, craft is the process of giving an idea a form. Boogly eyes are not going to render an afternoon of design less worthy. Open mindedness demands forgiveness and deviation... Even odd and rubbishy materials can become valuable... It takes heart.

  • silviaberrios1

    Silvia Berrios from DesignsbySilvia said 5 years ago

    In my opinion, crafts must be cute, at least to the maker and buyer. I try to make the cutest craft to sell on Etsy, and I make them to last, using good quality materials.

  • craftiecutie

    Craftie Cutie from craftiecutie said 5 years ago

    Obviously from my name and my Craftie Cutie Collection I'm not against cute however, I do believe Alexandra Lange has a point. I have banned roosters from my crafts and when I teach crafts they do not include gluing macaroni to a box even for kids. Just as some people prefer to be called artists or designers vs. crafters everyone preferences. And they have to know their audience I think you can have a balance.The kitchy cake keychain is beautiful to me and has a specific audience. While Steampunk jewelry is also kitch, but has a darker side to it, which would attract a different buyer. The point is crafts isn't cookie cutter. It's not meant to be cute or not cute. It's meant to please the eye and stir the imagination...cute or not.

  • LoveYourBling

    Ruthie from LoveYourBling said 5 years ago

    Its true craft wars is disappointing, but there is plenty of cuteness in crafting. Does all handmade crafts have to be something functional? Why can't it just be for fun?

  • MaidOfClay

    Handmade Ceramics from MaidOfClay said 5 years ago

    If loving cute is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom said 5 years ago

    Craft Wars sounds like a pretty bad show. Cuteness, however, is good, even better if the product is functional or holds some type of meaning.

  • fitzroyandcole

    Mirjam Cole from fitzroyandcole said 5 years ago

    A thought provoking post... I like cute but that means different things to different people. As others have said crafting any item takes soul, heart, time and quality, all severely lacking in today's mass market. For me it is a willingness to surround myself with things that are just a little different.

  • MaJentaDesigns

    MaJentaDesigns from MaJentaDesigns said 5 years ago

    Interesting article, I've only seen the "Craft Wars" show once, and found it pretty impressive what the contestants could do in a short period of time, and thought it showcased how creative people can be with the materials given to them to "craft." I agree with what the OP Erika said, just like there are many forms of art genres, artisans can choose how they want to craft, be in cute or not.

  • loopyboopy

    loopy from loopyboopy said 5 years ago

    Call me a snob but I agree with Lange

  • ChicKitsch

    Kathleen from ChicKitsch said 5 years ago

    Crafting is self expression and there sure are a lot of us expressing ourselves. How dull would crafting be for us if there were rules like "no cuteness - serious stuff only"?

  • CharleneSevier

    Charlene Sevier from CharleneSevier said 5 years ago

    Craft Wars is horrible, I was so disappointed in it. I would prefer to see something more in the vein of Project Runway. The show is TVP for Michael's Craft Stores. As to Morris' ideas about selecting items based on their usefulness, beauty, and not being mass produced, those ideas are also part of what today's handmade movement is about as well.

  • AlwaysAMemory

    Kitty Phillips from AlwaysAMemory said 5 years ago

    I love all the cute things found here on Etsy but I like lots of different styles! Anything that someone took the time to make well is welcome in crafting! They all have a place here!

  • SparxsDesigns

    Peggy Eldridge from SparxsDesigns said 5 years ago

    There is room for all form of crafting. I personally dont like cute stuff, I prefer Victorian/Edwardian but try to appeal to everyone in my shop. <3 I believe in the FREEDOM of artists to create what they feel.

  • bittersweetz

    Karly West from RepublicOfCuteCustom said 5 years ago

    Maybe I'm linguistically splitting hairs or not understanding this correctly....but to suggest that "cuteness" could be bad for craft doesn't make much sense to me. It is definitely possible to make something interesting and well made AND "cute" at the same time. More "serious" art can be just as "bad for craft" if it is thoughtless, unoriginal or just poorly made. I think there can be a big difference between making to satisfy a creative/artistic need and making art as a commodity to sell....I've never seen "Craft Wars," but my feeling is that a television show made for entertainment has a different agenda entirely! That being said, I would be interested to see it, though! :p

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 5 years ago

    Thought provoking!

  • loopyboopy

    loopy from loopyboopy said 5 years ago

    I don't really understand where "cute" comes into the conversation for Lange. I agree with her thoughts on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement in the 1800's. The point was to reduce buying and make purchases that we value rather than the blandness and waste of mass produced items. I don't know if 'cute' is the problem as much as the understanding of the type craft items we buy and if they are things of value or are they things bought on a whim to be thrown away next month without much long term value.

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux said 5 years ago

    that looks yummy

  • EmiliaFaith

    Edie Ann from OhHoneyHush said 5 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • DressyDollsCompany

    Leila from DressyDollsCompany said 5 years ago

    I used to teach my little art students that, " there are no wrong answers in art!." It's all subject to individual taste and style. I like to think that we ARE moving toward an awareness of handmade and craftsmanship again. It's a good thing on so many levels. :)

  • bosquecarpentry

    Gabriel Montes from bosquecarpentry said 5 years ago

    I think about Morris often when I make furniture and smaller pieces. I agree with loopy and her insightful comment that the word "cute" is the wrong word. Many forms that came from the arts and crafts movement are cute along with being extremely well made out of the best materials. It is not just a style that most associate with Stickely, but principles of quality that require a craftsperson rather than mass production. People would spend more for quality, save in the long run, and help the economy by keeping skilled workers employed. It is not one or the other.

  • spacefem

    spacefem from spacefem said 5 years ago

    Anyone remember jean teasdale's column on The Onion where she mused that little puffballs with googly eyes were practically her highest ambition? It was a joke, but it is the kind of thing that yes, kills the craft world! "Cute" can mean a lot of different things, I think the author meant the "pointless and overdone" definition in her column, not the "makes us happy" definition, because that can definitely be art. or craft.

  • everythingok

    everythingok from everythingok said 5 years ago

    It really doesn't seem to be an issue of cute versus not-cute at all to me either; rather, I can see where the author is coming from with regard to championing works of quality craftsmanship and lasting value over the cheap and ephemeral. But whose to say there can't - and shouldn't - be as much of a spectrum of quality and value in the handmade world as we see in the world of mass-produced goods? Sometimes you want or need an investment piece that will last until your great-grandchildren's retirement, and sometimes you need something to make do until your next paycheque. Who cares? Isn't diversity awesome? And if we're talking about "cuteness" from an aesthetic standpoint, it's a bit too huge a category to dismiss altogether. Some cute things I like, some I don't, just as some "serious" things I like, and some I don't. Cuteness and quality aren't mutually exclusive either. I'm told I do cute things, and while that's as may be, I can also say that I take my art and my craft very seriously indeed.

  • SBuss

    Sherri from BurninLoveJewelry said 5 years ago

    I never really thought much about this until I saw it on one of the Teams Discussions just the other day. Somebody had made a mean spirited Treasury featuring all the different sellers that had strung a charm on a chain and were listing it as handmade jewelry. The Treasury had the jist of mocking the originality of the pieces. Some hand crafted jewelry sellers feel that the people selling the quick charm pieces are saturating the jewelry market and are able to sell their pieces for so cheap. I haven't been around that long to have an opinion one way or another yet.

  • CandyCollection

    CandyCollection from ArtsnCandies said 5 years ago

    Reading Alexandra's article is very insightful. I haven't seen craft wars so I don't know what happened but I can very well imagine it being very much as Alexandra described it. She states: "But in the final judgment, they took a big step back, assessing the playhouses for their visual execution, rather than whether they could withstand child’s play or the elements." That says it all really. Crafting means creating handmade items, whatever those items happen to be. If you're gonna craft a playhouse for your children, its sole purpose should not be to look cute. Its sole purpose should be to withstand the elements, etc. Cuteness can be added later.

  • AmandaThonMetalsmith

    Amanda Thon from AmandaThonMetalsmith said 5 years ago

    I think that poorly made craft objects are "bad" for the genre. Cuteness is not the enemy - but build it as if you wanted the item to outlive it's owner. It is up to craftspeople who value well made objects to educate the general public - it's not all googly eyes and mod podge. Aesthetic is an argument for the customer.

  • gridjunky

    Jerome Sevilla from gridjunky said 5 years ago

    Alexandra Lange’s article serves as a much needed punch in the face to uninspired whimsy merchants and sales-driven carnival prize producers. Bravo.

  • SecondChanceCeramics

    Antonia from SecondChanceCeramics said 5 years ago

    A return to the sentiments behind the Arts and Crafts movement? Yes, please!

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle said 5 years ago

    I agree with earlier commenters about how there is room for all sorts of crafters. From the people who just want to embellish and add a personal twist to things to the artisans who make a living crafting made-from-scratch handmade things. Developing and supporting appreciation for making stuff is important. I think trying to classify people runs the risk of implying hobbiests are somehow inauthentic when I feel their desire to make something fit their ideals is very real and an authentic desire to be nurtured I think this way of thinking- of dividing the crafters - is doing a disservice in the end. Everyone starts from somewhere - an appreciation of making things, of crafting things starts with, well, making something. Even if it is just painting a birdhouse to look extra cute.

  • noblegnome

    Anna Edwards from noblegnome said 5 years ago

    Great post. There is always room for "cute" if it's done right. There's a time and place for everything although my kids stand for most of the cuteness in my home. I think there are so many more things that are worse for the craft community than cuteness. Things like not taking pride in your work, severely underpricing, not presenting your work right. I am forever pleasantly surprised by all the incredibly well crafted items I find on etsy and the amount of handcrafted items that are now being included in major magazines.

  • homestylemom

    Melissa from HomespunHoneyBee said 5 years ago

    I think that is why it is called "Arts and Crafts" rather than just arts or crafts...the name encompasses both ends of the spectrum. From something cutesy to truly a work of art!

  • kadydesigns

    Denise Vining from kadydesigns said 5 years ago

    I think there's always room for cuteness!!! I think crafting whatever your passion is should be made with the best quality materials and not how many items you can mass produce with cheap materials, and it cuteness is part of what you craft then so be it.

  • pamwishbow

    Pam Wishbow from pamwishbow said 5 years ago

    My biggest fear around gift giving time is that one of my friends will give me something they made that is really adorable and awesome, but completely useless. It makes me feel bad that they spent time, money, and thought to make me something I can't use and will keep around for a little while in a drawer until I throw it away. I'm an artist and like making things that are purely visual, but man, I really don't need that glittered and decoupaged knick-nack.

  • admirerofdreams

    admirerofdreams from admirerofdreams said 5 years ago

    If you have children, you can identify with what Lange is saying on another level. The amount of "crafts" which drift into a family's home can be overwhelming; yes they are cute (there is that word again) and sweet, but you can end up drowning in a sea of cheap foam, ribbons, glitter etc. You save these items for as long as you can because of the true, priceless and sentimental values they have. Grown-up crafts in the cute vein seem to follow this same pattern, and I will guess that is what Lange was attempting to say. Perhaps in the end she is afraid that the skill itself is devalued by the shear mass of these crafts? True creativity is birthed from sweat, tears and many dreams, not just a DIY packet or formula, and we all benefit from being mindful of the things we choose to create. However, there is a place for everyone in the creative community, be they serious artist or sweet crafters, and I hope that it never becomes an environment of "us vs. them."

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv said 5 years ago

    Crafting can be making things cuter. In some situations. There is such a range of crafting though, that you can't really pin all crafting as making things cute. You can be crafty in organizing your house; which is efficient rather than cute. You can be crafty in your cooking, which is tasty rather than cute. You also can be crafty in repairing broken things, which is practical rather than cute...

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 5 years ago

    I think "cute" or "not cute" is pretty much irrelevant as long as an item is well made. It's shoddiness that gives crafts a bad name, relegating it into the "home made" category. That's not to say that most home made items are shoddy, many fine artists & crafters work from home, but the quality difference between someone playing at something to fill up their time & someone working at something they love to make a living is noticeable. Possibly the people who buy "cute" items don't cherish them as they should or for as long as they should, largely because they're often young (and feckless?) but that's not the fault or responsibility of the makers of the items.

  • HeyDollface

    Jen Dollface Macaluso from HeyDollface said 5 years ago

    where would Lisa Frank and Betsey Johnson stand on this? Oddly enough, I tell people all the time-my "cute" items are born from an abundance of macabre. I got into what I do to ease insomnia I had developed in my first administrative job where I was responsible for keeping a lengthy log of the dead for a NY health insurance agency. What happened to art as an escape? The artist chooses their escape, ideas should not have to fit into bland boxes to be classified as "art." I'm not always a girly girl, but sometimes I love a silly necklace to forget how real ish gets sometimes.

  • CreationsbyDJ

    Jeanette Stangland from CreationsbyDJ said 5 years ago

    I would think that our crafting would represent useful, timeless, practical, artistic and yes even cute. We all purchase items for different reasons and different uses. It is fun to think in all the areas. I feel badly when the customer may not recognize the value of a product, because they are not aware of the long hours and time investment that may have been put into something. In today's throw away society, it is nice to have someone appreciate what has been created and can pass it down through the generations. So, the consumer will decide which product fits their fancy.

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 5 years ago

    There's nothing wrong with ultra-cute items, especially if there's a dash of humor thrown in. I often sell hand-illustrated cards that feature a cute, fuzzy caterpillar, and I think my customers enjoy him just as much as the more sophisticated items in my shop. Most people have eclectic taste. Just look at the treasuries we all love to make. Mysterious and moody one day, bright and cheerful the next, elegant and understated later on — it's all part of appreciating the different types of creativity that are out there.

  • hurdyburdy

    Beverley Richmond from hurdyburdy said 5 years ago

    I believe there is a strong argument for sustainability and beautiful, well crafted pieces rather than mass produced 'hand crafted' twee goods. I would think that the majority of those within the Etsy community have very probably chosen to create or buy 'craft' (and vintage of course) for reasons which include the above.

  • ansluasi

    ansluasi from OnceUponABookshop said 5 years ago

    To my mind, "cute" crafted items should be original, quirky and creative. What sets craft aside from mass production is the personal nature of design and execution. Each piece should be a one of a kind with a personality of its own. Even if the same patterns is used over and over, by its very handmade nature, it is impossible to create an exact replica. When I look at some of the creations on Etsy, say stuffed animals for example, I see a totally different "look" than the stuffies for sale at a mall toystore. The Etsy creations look like they have a story and a personality, they use unique materials, and their facial experssions are very individualized and special. Mass market toys look like rubberstamped clones. Crafted items just seem to have "soul," a sort of undefinable yet readily visible difference when compared to machine made items.

  • angodesigns

    Andrea Gonzalez from angodesigns said 5 years ago

    I certainly try to make the world a "cuter" place in the traditional sense, but yes, cuteness is in the eye of the beholder. No doubt about that.

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags said 5 years ago

    Interesting !

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth said 5 years ago

    "cute", "sophisticated", "classy", "eco", "earthy", whatever the craft, there is someone who will appreciate the style. ♥

  • WintergreenDesign

    Christa Cunningham from WintergreenDesign said 5 years ago

    I think cuteness is in the eye of the beholder... what is "cute" to one maybe something else entirely to someone else. In my shop many things are referred to as "cute"... but then the same item will be called 'artistic' and 'detailed' by someone else... I just hope they bring people happiness and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to be apart of peoples holiday traditions and celebrations.

  • MinceCo

    minc eco from KissAndRunStore said 5 years ago

    "We’ve come a long way since the days of William Morris"? hmm, I'm not so sure about that. Craft & craftsmanship.. I others aspire to see both as separate but essential elements

  • themefragrance

    Theme Fragrance from themefragrance said 5 years ago

    I love Kawaii!

  • LolasEtsy

    LolasEtsy said 5 years ago

    It is a matter of semantics, taste, and skill level. One man's "too cute" is another man's art. As much as I love and support all levels of crafts my goal is to buy something I can actually use regardless of style. Thank goodness we have choices here on etsy and no one is sitting behind a desk deciding what is worthy of the name.

  • DeemaRazzaq

    deema razzaq said 5 years ago

    hmmm...she does sound like a snob...why not just let people make crafts that make them happy, and the people that enjoy the cute stuff will buy it, without putting people down for their specific taste. Who cares either way though.

  • xaosart

    Beata Sasik from xaosart said 5 years ago

    Hmmmmm, interesting thoughts on the subject. Almost utopian. I wish etsy would feel this way about the arts and crafts. Perhaps they did once, in the beginning. They have compromised greatly though allowing, just as ebay, to be flooded by mass produced imports from you know where. Sad.

  • LoveYourBling

    Ruthie from LoveYourBling said 5 years ago

    I'm getting tired of people suggesting that reassembled pieces i. e. charm jewelry, or blinging out a pair of shoes is not handmade or should not be considered a worthy craft. The fact is I don't make my plastic kawaii pieces, nor can I create crystal from scratch. What I do know is that I love to sit in my craft room putting pieces together, "crafting" a listing for it and selling it to someone that gifts it or treasures it for themselves. I am a legitimate crafter the aches in my hands from wire wrapping for hours reminds me that my item is handmade.

  • designlab443

    Tracy from designlab443 said 5 years ago

    Something to chew on for sure.

  • roseslacks

    Colleen from EeEeandFriends said 5 years ago

    I think there is beauty in all craft. Even "craft gone wrong" has it's own joy and makes me smile. I think when something that is meant to give people happiness gets taken too seriously, people turn away. Keep the functionality, the quality design AND the tufty bits on the side. It's all subjective anyway.

  • krize

    Kristina Sabaite from krize said 5 years ago

    Cuteness is good for everything! :)

  • OldSpoolVintage

    Carmen Iris from OldSpoolVintage said 5 years ago Featured

    This and the referenced New Yorker article are very interesting. In the realm of handmade items shouldn't everyone have a place at the table? I have seen a similar argument applied to various styles of art over the years and I just don't think it sticks because there is really no way to invalidate another persons taste, style or preferred aesthetic. You don't have to like every form of craft but they all have a right to exist and even flourish. All that having been said Craft Wars makes me cringe because that show just seems wasteful to me.

  • Keansburg

    Karen Cameron said 5 years ago

    If you feel like making something, so make it. Judging peoples' crafts is like judging personalities. Things don't have to appeal to everyone.

  • RavensCrafts

    Jane from RavensCrafts said 5 years ago

    I think there is room for cute and for serious in crafting.

  • EvasKeepers

    Eva from EvasKeepers said 5 years ago

    Being only 12 years old, I thought according to my mom and aunties (who have a shop on etsy too) that it is just like trying to judge people. They disagree all the time on art, what to make, but still have respect for each other. Isnt that what arts and crafts are about-being who you are. Honestly, I am a kid cute sells. I may be different in a few years, but I am what I am. We all have to respect each other.

  • PeonySTBebe

    Bebe from 14PeonyStreet said 5 years ago

    I think there's nothing wrong with cute. Making stuff from macaroni can even be made well. ~ It might even be edible-think about all the times you played with your food when you were little. This may have been the beginnings of your creativity. ~ Anything "crafty" can be elevated into art. I really believe it's all about the makers vision for the finished product, quality of the materials and workmanship. American society has always been wasteful and excessive (as a whole). Not really sure what the complaint is from Lange. Whether something that's crafted as cute or useless object is wasteful or not- does it really matter? And how can someone or anyone have the arrogance or authority to try and direct trends about anything handmade-- even William Morris. Those are lofty goals- trying not to waste money on mass produced --dare I say it?- junk. You can take one or two looks at photos of stuff for sale on Etsy or anywhere- in brick and mortar shops - and tell whether or not it's junk or poorly made. But how can anyone snobbily say no one should be making it- even if it is junk. The reason we play with our food, the reason we make stuff - even if it turns out poorly made, made with macaroni, or looks like junk- is that we ARE creating something out of "nothing"-- that we are learning as we go-- taking the imaginations out of our heads and turning them into something tangible- like little pieces of our brains, all spread out.......It's all about personal development and it's always a journey. All parts of that journey are valid, even if it seems wasteful or excessive, or god forbid- it's cute.

  • DesignsByWho

    Dee from DesignsByWho said 5 years ago

    Hey! I love cute!! Everyone needs a little cuteness now and then!

  • RegalCottage

    Regina Frydman from RegalCottage said 5 years ago

    I am of the opinion that world needs a lot less reality TV and tons more cute!

  • GlassByKat

    Kat Welch from GlassByKat said 5 years ago

    While I use the best materials I can get my hands on and spend a ton of time working and reworking my designs, my favorite purchase on Etsy has been the impossibly cute doll I bought for my daughter. We both treasure it and will keep it forever, hopefully to be passed down to my grandchildren one day.

  • StarrlightJewelry

    Starrlight from StarrlightJewelry said 5 years ago

    "cute" is so subjective, it is not even funny. Certainly, in the eye of the beholder. I think Marilyn Manson is cute.

  • Judalon

    Jessica said 5 years ago

    I can't see why one excludes the other. Then there's the whole idea of culture vs. trashy. If you want culture you go to a gallery opening. I assume that if you don't and head for a craft fair, you are culture-less. To me, the divide between culture and what is not culture is about some degree of know-it-all. And what crafts does Lange deem to be cute-free and therefore a real craft? I do basically everything that comes to mind although. What I do will never end up as something "cultural" but who the h*** cares?

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom said 5 years ago

    "This is culture, it is not a hobby, and it deserves serious analysis, criticism and thought." You know something, maybe I'm weird, but I interpret the word "culture" from an anthropological standpoint, not from whatever that other use of the word comes from. I have spent my whole life contending with a world that does not bat an eyelash at the destruction of my people's language and way of life, but wets itself at the notion that Shakespeare might ever go out of style. I don't care whether something is cute. I care whether its maker got something valuable out of making it. That other definition of culture (the non-anthropological one) only seeks to rarify created things such that only the elite can access them. Well, 99 percent of the world is not elite. You have plenty of room to climb down out of your ivory tower and come out here and live with us. We do not share a similar privilege or amount of space in the other direction. So I hope that we may be pardoned in being quite content in where we presently live. Cute crafts and all.

  • Judalon

    Jessica said 5 years ago

    and human creativity seems endless, sometimes a bit too endless, but creativity is creativity now matter if it manifests itself in cake-decorating or making miniatures for dollhouses or painting or doing whatever in mixed media. The world would be a very dark place sans creativity.

  • shulamite

    Mandi Apple Collingridge from shulamite said 5 years ago

    That attitude annoys the hell out of me. It's elitist, snobby and stupid. What on earth could be wrong with cute things? Blimey, some people need to remove the stick from their backside!

  • bittersweetz

    Karly West from RepublicOfCuteCustom said 5 years ago

    I think it's very interesting to have a discussion about the validity of "cute" or simple crafting when so many people on Etsy are making a living off of doing it! (which *almost* makes me want to join in on some of the simple trends because it would save me a TON of studio time....) It's also funny to me that the photo on the cover of this article questioning "cuteness" probably took a bit more technical skill to make than some of the items I see every day on the FP or sometimes even in the featured shops. That really shows that everyone perceives value in very different ways. And that's cool! To each his own! In the end that perception shouldn't do anyone any harm. Just surround yourself with things you love, do things you love and don't worry about the rest. Side note: cute rules (totally biased here, obviously....)

  • Mooosy

    Lucy Mortlock from LucyRoseTreasures said 5 years ago

    It's a good discussion starter. Personally I do kind of get what she's saying. It's like how I'm a major foodie, but Iron Chef really turns me off. Each to their own! I'm an easy-going fence-sitter like that.

  • wrightsan

    Sandra Wright from wrightsan said 5 years ago

    For me the key to quality of any craft is in the quality of the materials and the innovation. Unfortunately the yougest crafts people (the under 12 set) are being inundated with "cute" craft kits and supplies made with mass produced, poor quality materials. It's not the "cute" that's the problem, it's the really junk materials that bring it all down!

  • WendyWanderer

    WendyWanderer said 5 years ago

    The first comment I see on that article in the New Yorker is brilliant These struggles to educate others on 'what is art' or 'art vs. craft' takes a lot of energy that could be used in a much more satisfying and productive way. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks or says. Do what you do because you love it, it's cathartic, because you need to. Your audience will find you. Read more

  • SylviaNevistic

    Sylvia Nevistic from SylviaNevistic said 5 years ago

    I don't necessarily have a problem with cute in craft. I do however have an aversion to pieces that are badly made. The title of the The Yorker article "Don't put a bird on it: saving "craft" from cuteness" maybe should read "Saving craft from unskilled hands". By unskilled hands, I don't mean you need to study for years, or that you need to perfect your craft. What I DO mean is that whatever you put your hands to, whether that is making a knitted tea-cosy or crafting a diamond ring, learn to make it well and with heart.

  • windleblou

    Jeannie B from windleblou said 5 years ago

    What if you "crafted" items from the best quality materials and produced something timelessly styled that would last forever, and I wanted to buy it because I thought it was "cute"? Like Starrlight said, Cuteness is in the eye of the beholder.

  • prettystardesigns
  • KateandCarroll

    Kate Carroll from TheDesignStudioTi said 5 years ago

    Beautifully crafted, handmade items are a joy to own. I think the article is really supporting and nurturing the idea of 'craft' being about skill and technique which i think is a wonderful statement to make.

  • PomDecors

    ElleJay from 20thCenturyKitchen said 5 years ago

    I've watched CRAFT WARS a couple of times, and saw nothing "cute" about the projects. Taking perfectly good manufactured products and destroying them to make nonfunctional (or barely functional) -- and often hideous! -- assemblages is not about crafting, or about cute. A decadent celebration of wastefulness and bad taste.

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 5 years ago

    For me, there has always been a difference between crafts and art. Crafts tend be easier to make so that every age group can participate, and usually have more prefabricated components. Art is an original piece and most of the components are created by the artist. I think both art and crafts can be cute. I don't find anything wrong with cute.

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 5 years ago

    For me, there has always been a difference between crafts and art. Crafts tend be easier to make so that every age group can participate, and usually have more prefabricated components. Art is an original piece and most of the components are created by the artist. I think both art and crafts can be cute. I don't find anything wrong with cute.

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture said 5 years ago Featured

    I think this has always been a struggle for crafters. Just the term craft tends to envoke visions of grannys sitting in circles filling their days with yarn and glue. Thing is, crafting is much more than what most people understand. At the end of the day, the product speaks for itself. I figure if you've got a product that people want, they'll buy it either way.

  • jacobswoodentoys

    Tim and Brigita Cornwell from jacobswoodentoys said 5 years ago

    Many times the word "cute" is used when it comes to products for children. We hear it a lot and don't mind it at all;) It brings out thoughts of childhood, happy memories...Etsy is great place because of diversity, if someone does not care for cute, they can find something that appeals to them.

  • PlaguedByCreativity

    Kristen Peters from PlaguedbyCreativity said 5 years ago

    Love this. Hate craft wars. I love beautiful inspiring useful items...but sometimes there is a place for cute..

  • Diannasdiapercakes

    Dianna Stewart from Diannasdiapercakes said 5 years ago

    I adore "cute" but I also appreciate great design.

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 5 years ago

    Cute has its place as long as there's quality to go with it. Not everything has to be dark and edgy to be considered art.

  • debrakallen

    debra kallen from debrakallen said 5 years ago

    I am all about the cute and sweetness though I do understand what she is saying.

  • bosquecarpentry

    Gabriel Montes from bosquecarpentry said 5 years ago

    A big part of this discussion beyond the article is quality against cheap. It can be frustrating that my work does not get the attention that a brightly colored piece of plastic does; but that's not the fault of the person making stuff out of plastic. Wouldn't it be great if Etsy found a way to highlight higher quality items?

  • BeadingByJenn

    jenn from BeadingByJenn said 5 years ago

    i dont think cute has anything to do with it. you can have handmade and cute. its the craftmanship is what counts. i havent seem "craft wars", but if its anything like the way 20thCenturyKitchen describes it i have no plans of watching it. i do love how she explained the history of "arts and crafts". and i also agree with Kate Carroll's comment as well. im totally proud to be a part of the A+C community and that handmade has made a comeback by people choosing handcrafted items over store bought. i love it!!

  • PthaloAzul

    Rachel Anne Jones from PthaloAzul said 5 years ago

    I agree with Lange that "craft" isn't defined by a style, and that "craft" doesn't mean the same that it meant when the word first came out with William Morris. Now the word craft has, for most non-artist people, become synonymous with "lazyman's art" when it used to mean that you did an incredible trade incredibly well. People think "craft" and they do think of that cutesy papercut thing you buy from Micheals. Craft was a movement of art, not a style separated from art like it is today. Now there's this division of art vs craft. It gets on my nerves because, to me, there is no thin line between the two--you'll see "craft" in museums you'll see "art" in crafting shows. There's no line. They're the same. Some "craft" is worth millions. Some "art" is worth millions. The only different thing is the name. If you call it art, people will treat it as sacred, but calling it a craft leads to a very different reaction because of that stereotype that's been glued to it. People will think it's Eco-friendly. They think it's local. They think it's cultural. Unfortunately a lot of people also think it's lazy and cheap, but I think we can do a lot to battle that negative stereotype if we remind everyone that craft is always art, too and that crafters are also artists as well.

  • Namaz

    Nazima Banka from nazimabanka said 5 years ago

    very thought provoking article..

  • patriciadecresce

    Patricia Decresce from CreatedbyTrishD said 5 years ago

    I like cuteness, but I like it for other people. I'm not a cuteness type of person and therefore won't make cuteness, won't buy cuteness, or even suggest cuteness. Cuteness belongs with little children who are always, in my opinion cute. I know a lot of artists who specialize in cute projects which are simply wonderful, gorgeous, magical, whimsical, and down right fabulous. For me, my style is unique and different. But in any event, since I am a female, I could change my mind about cuteness tomorrow, as I just might see or find something so cute tonight that I will have no choice but to change my mind. All crafters are wizards of their own spirit and express their inner strengths through their crafting and so I applaud all of us who have the courage to display our wares and no matter what style it is, its an art which needs to be recognized......(and purchased.)

  • shannonaileen2

    Shannon Aileen from ShannonAileenPhoto said 5 years ago

    I think that a well made craft can also be cute. In fact, the item in the photo that accompanies this article is very cute, but it also looks very, very well crafted.

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 5 years ago

    So much of what undermines how seriously a craft (or crafted object) is considered art depends on quality, both of materials and handwork. I have seen what passes for craft in my own field and don't have to look that far to find inferior materials glued together and posing as a handmade item. It's important to remember that handmade and homemade are miles apart.

  • gulliver62

    Rebecca said 5 years ago

    This reminds me of the extremely heated discussion I had with some artist friends many years ago about "what is art?" At the time, there was some controversy in the "art" world about untrained/unskilled types, meaning those without fine arts degrees and family money. I was furious that a degree (and money) was the differentiator--it all sounded damned elitist and privileged. Untaught/primitive/folk art especially appeals to me. After a lot of years, I do have a more 3-dimensional view; there should be room for everyone at this table, and FORGET the stupid labels. This argument has been co-oped by the world of advertising, and used to create a rift where none should exist. Advertisers/marketers have saturated our brains with the idea of "art" really being code for expensive and out of the reach of normal mortals. (Not saying expensive isn't great art--just sayin'.) When we try to define "art" or "craft" we begin to exclude others. That's wrong. I've always created things, whether you want to call it art or craft or crap. And I've always competed with people who string a bead or two and call it handmade. Although I see a great deal of crap on Etsy (my viewpoint only), I see a lot of unbelievably wonderful things by talented/quirky/untrained/highly schooled people and I'm grateful for it, even when I'm stunned they make a living from it. And, honestly, for every horrific train wreck of a piece that I see, there's someone else who thinks it's the most wonderful thing ever. I can't disrespect that opinion, even if I disagree. Maybe we should stop taking the bait of defining, and just enjoy whatever makes us happy and fulfilled.

  • AlissaDarville

    Alissa Darville from PeachGraphics said 5 years ago

    That little cake thing is cute as heck AND functional. It looks like it is good quality and took a lot of time. This article is about censoring what people make.

  • BowsBeforeHose

    Lucy Xingu from BowsBeforeHose said 5 years ago

    I think her perspective is very interesting. I love "cute" things, but I would have to very much agree with what she is saying about skilled work and sustainability. How many times in the past year have I bought something (handmade or not) that didn't last? I no longer shop for clothing at target, opting for high quality thrift store finds and my own sewing machine instead. As a new mother I am constantly downsizing to the "useful". Less clutter is less cleaning and less chasing after a newly mobile 7 month old. My husband is in college, so I have grown accustomed to saving money in the long term. Why buy something I'm just going to have to replace somewhere along the road? I buy what can be fixed easily and will last me 5 or more years. In comparison, I am always looking for ways to make the items in my shop longer lasting. Anything else is a waste of materials. I don't buy anything I can easily make myself, including on Etsy. If 15000 other people are making it then why can't I give it a try? I always look elsewhere for a better price vs better quality. I cannot pretend that "cute" doesn't play a role in my decisions. I'm not going to buy something I find ugly just because it is functional. And sometimes, indulging in something completely useless (like a pair of 6 inch leopard print platform shoes) is fun! On a different yet related note: her advice to include the unconsumption movement in craft is very inspiring. I would like to experiment more with that, personally!

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 5 years ago

    Crafting does seem to have two seperate meanings. I am really a fan of the handmade meaning, where it is about quality and the feel of a hand doing it, not machine. However, the crafty, cutesty, feel like your preschooler made it, is not. But there is that medium as well with odd things, like painted wood, that I am not sure if I like or not as well. It is an interesting topic.

  • Wildmonster9

    Alicia Wildman from CraftLikeWild said 5 years ago

    It all depends on your prospective buyer. If you're serious about your work and you're proud of it others will understand that. I think it's unfair to put down the styles that don't appeal to you the way Lange has. And to be honest I've seen plenty of shops that are extremely successful with "cute crafts" just as I have seen the shops with "useful crafts" fail.

  • BowsBeforeHose

    Lucy Xingu from BowsBeforeHose said 5 years ago

    Rebecca, your comment reminds me of Marcel Duchamp and his "readymades," which challenged the meaning of the word "art."

  • CatShyCrafts

    Cathy Pascual from CatshyCrafts said 5 years ago

    I have two daughters under the age of 7. Cute rules in my house. I myself love cute things. I still get giddy at a Sanrio store. I consider it a compliment if someone calls the items in my shop cute. I definitely do not think cuteness is bad for craft. Craft Wars, on the other hand......

  • shannonaileen2

    Shannon Aileen from ShannonAileenPhoto said 5 years ago

    Rebecca! I completely agree with your comment. I feel the exact same way. Everything created is art. The rest is in the eye of the beholder!

  • angielembo

    Angie Ledbetter said 5 years ago

    Craft Wars is fun. So is cute. Is Snobbery Bad for Craft? I (don't) like at the end where this implies that cute crafts don't mean anything.

  • tammiejewels

    Tammie S from alwayssummerinside said 5 years ago

    When cuteness = mundane, then I can see the point of wanting to do without, but when it is whimsical and unique, it can be sublime. I don't think "cute" should automatically have a negative connotation. Now excuse me while I go pet my pastel unicorn collection.

  • vickshirley

    Shirley Vick and Mary Gary from byRickMarsh said 5 years ago

    I agree with William Morris. We but too much instead of making it (me included). What art is to one person is not to another. Picasso is not artwork to me. Others do not agree with me. It is what it is to each person. Shirley V.

  • HazelnutDesigns

    Cristin Wilson from PearTreeStitching said 5 years ago

    I think there's room for "cuteness" ...even among more serious handmade objects, like pottery, painting, and weaving. Cute is one of those niche areas where there is ALWAYS someone who likes cute fuzzy glittery etc. etc. Nothing wrong with that! I am also of the opinion that I'd rather have 1 well-made hand-made sweater (or quilt, or jacket) than 3 cheapie equivalents. Very good article, gets us all thinking!

  • onelonelyapricot

    Kristen from onelonelyapricot said 5 years ago Featured

    I love William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. I'm inspired by the ideals that the movement stood for. That being said, I think a beautiful, well-crafted item can also have a sense of cute. Something cheap and wasteful could also be labeled as cute, but I don't think it has to be one way or the other. Many design patterns from the Arts and Crafts movement were elaborate florals and such. They weren't strictly about items being plain, for example, the mission style furniture from the same era. I think there is room for all kinds of styles under the label of "good craft." The colors, patterns, and symbols we choose to adorn our objects with are simply markers of our individual style preferences, not the quality of the items themselves.

  • monkiki62

    monica brooks from VesperiasVariety said 5 years ago

    That is simply a reality show it does not define crafting. So in other words if we handmake a cute necklace then its not considered a craft? Simply put the show is for d.i.y s they just put craft in the name because it sounds a whole lot better than d.i.y. I cannot stand this womans view on this. If you took the time to make it from scratch it is crafted wether it is cute, steampunk, etc.

  • SunnyDayVintage

    Sunny Day from SunnyDayVintage said 5 years ago

    You simply can't compare life in the time of Wm Morris with life as we know it now. Is craft a movement? I tend to think it's not, since people have been crafting since ancient times.

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations said 5 years ago

    Let the market decide if cuteness is bad for craft. If people clearly like something "cute," enough to put their hard-earned money down for it, then there's your answer about how bad it could be.

  • Wishingwellportraits

    Alisa Statham from WishingwellArt said 5 years ago

    I agree with everythingok that the issue isn't about cuteness as much as it is about quality and remembering the old adage "anything worth doing is worth doing right"; even if the thing your doing is making adorable slice of cake key chains. I love it that this idea is being discussed because I place a high value on one of a kind things that are made with care and thoughtfulness. Bravo to all Etsians who take the time and effort to make wonderful things.

  • lindyjean

    Linda from bitsokits said 5 years ago

    cute has its place....steampunk has its place....obscene needlework depicting sex acts has its place (like Regretsy)....there's room for every kind of taste, and if you don't like something, don't buy it. but don't denigrate the person who made it, or dismiss what they were moved to create. children need cute. teenage girls need cute. girly-girls like my 30-year-old daughter need cute else can you explain the juggernaut known as Hello Kitty???? i hate that some people think crafts is a dirty word that it i may not be the most talented person in the world, but what i do brings me satisfaction, and in this day and age, feeding the soul is more vital than ever. if making cute fuzzy things makes you happy, then you go right on and knock yourself out! Shirley V----i agree with you about picasso 100%.....

  • SewOeno

    SewOeno from SewOeno said 5 years ago

    who cares? get rid of cable tv and carry on.

  • isewcute

    June from isewcute said 5 years ago

    Like ice cream flavors... there are crafts to suit every taste. I'm tickled that some folks like the crafts I make because I cannot stop making cute things. Even if nobody wanted it, I just couldn't's part of who I am & what I enjoy doing. You've got to do what you love & enjoy the process as much as the end product.

  • somacouture

    Soma D'Ilusión said 5 years ago

    There's a market for pet psychologists, for riverdancing, for chocolate covered cockroaches... there's a market for everything, so of course there's a market for cute things. :)

  • miyourself

    paula from makeityoursen said 5 years ago

    Cute keeps me young, I like to embarrass my 8 year old daughter when I loan her ice cream necklace, although the amount of plastic cute rubbish that is made for girls mags is disgraceful and should be stopped, anything that is re-used is a good thing. Love and Light x

  • LuLins

    Luciana said 5 years ago

    cute is why craft is not called art

  • waywardtraders

    waywardtraders from WaywardTraders said 5 years ago

    I think the word choice was poor for this argument. Saying things are made to be 'cute' and then comparing it to the quality and functionality of the item feels forced. I think the broader problem is the growing vagueness between hand crafted things and hand refurbished things. I have noticed a rise in 'crafters' who clean up old things and sell them like they made them all by hand. I am not saying this is a bad thing to do (refurbishing, that is) : But, I think we can all agree that there needs to be more distinction between different 'crafting' skills in the marketplace. It is for the benefit of all (makers and buyers) that every shop owner educates themselves to a common standard in fair crafting and refurbishing, and that we can distinguish the two.

  • supsarap

    supsarap said 5 years ago

    Deny no one any artistic expression they might muster just because it isn't the one you would choose. The word "cute" is as variable as the word "aesthetic".

  • andrewkonkle

    Andrew Konkle from Theteepeeguy said 5 years ago The two aren't exclusive. The english language sure is complex. I think you craft using the skills you have to make something you love and hope others will also love. Some items are just a little geared closer to the kid inside or actual children.

  • marjorieanns

    Marjorie Ann from marjorieanns said 5 years ago

    Artists use brushes, needles, cameras, words, and their hands. If you make something someone else desires; if you make something really good, you are a crafter of a form of art. Cute, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. This discussion has been so refreshing! Grandmother taught me the art of crochet at age 12, but I did not begin crafting with a passion until age 40. This changed my lifestyle! I love to give my family artisticly made gifts found at craft shows, and now Etsy! And sometimes, I make, and/or buy "cute".

  • tinasway

    Christina Cassidy from tinaswaycrochet said 5 years ago

    I think that if you look at most shops on etsy you will see variety even if the idea is the same. I know i make differt styles to reach different buyers...and I do also include cute...;)

  • rbgcolor

    Rebecca Bird Grigsby from ColorBirdStudio said 5 years ago Featured

    Wherever you stand on the cuteness spectrum, the fact that a show like Craft Wars is being discussed not only on the Etsy blog (a fitting venue, obviously) but in the New Yorker is a very good thing for the craft and handmade movements. Coming from a fine art and design background, I've always felt like it's thoughtful and critical dialogue like this that's been a bit lacking in the craft world. This is good stuff and there's a lot of digging to do.

  • trishmedici

    Trish Medici from KitschyCatLady said 5 years ago

    Kitsch, kawaii, cute - whatever you want to call it - to each their own. Who am I to judge the value of what someone else creates? Something may not be my taste, but that doesn't mean it has no value. It just means I don't like it, end of story. Life is serious enough, sometimes 'cute' gives a much needed break from the reality of life.

  • GoddessOfJewelry

    GoddessOfJewelry from GoddessOfJewelry said 5 years ago

    I don't understand how an article with the title "Is Cuteness bad for craft?" went on to, instead, discuss the intent behind the Arts and Crafts movement and its current reemergence as an anti-consumerist movement of seeking out better quality products, fixing what you own, etc.... the title of this article may need to be reworded a little.

  • TheTealBoutique

    Samantha from TheTealBoutique said 5 years ago

    I love cute items, in fact I can only seem to find them from sellers who hand make items so I usually look at places like etsy right off

  • elleestpetite

    Donna Thai from PetiteCuisine said 5 years ago

    I don't think that just because a craft is considered cute that it isn't a quality item. I spend hours crafting "cute" things, making sure that the items are made to the best of my abilities. I suppose it's easy to look at cute crafts and pass judgment when you have no idea what it took for those things to be made.

  • misskatc

    misskatc from PleiadesVintage said 5 years ago

    bad taste is bad taste.......and if I want a to buy or make a doily doll for my toilet paper with rhinestones on it it's my prerogative.;)X P.S. does any one know where I can get one?

  • misskatc

    misskatc from PleiadesVintage said 5 years ago

    on another note. I would like to eat that key chain

  • HandmadeIsAllAround

    HandmadeIsAllAround from iammieOWLshop said 5 years ago

    Cuteness is cool for craft! :)

  • epicstitching

    Mel Ladner from epicstitching said 5 years ago

    There is definitely space for cute, mod, deco, kitsch and a whole lot more! I don't believe that there is a boundary in which crafted art or items cannot transcend. That's the beauty of making items by hand is that we can create for each and every genre, taste, talent and style. As each of us is a unique, individual person so too are the items we make. Thus allowing any person to find at the very least 1 item that is "them" on Etsy. People are drawn to this idea and it will only get bigger in my opinion.

  • Cutetreats

    Jany from Cutetreats said 5 years ago

    "Donna Thai from PetiteCuisine says: I don't think that just because a craft is considered cute that it isn't a quality item. I spend hours crafting "cute" things, making sure that the items are made to the best of my abilities. I suppose it's easy to look at cute crafts and pass judgment when you have no idea what it took for those things to be made." ******************************************************************************* Completely agree with Donna :) I got scared when I saw my picture in here! Cute is bad? Then I'm the worst!! Haha But then I read the article :) Nothing bad about being cute just that people have distorted what "craft" means I try to make all my items look cute but my main focus is the quality and craftsmanship that goes into every piece. I spend hours to hand make my pieces as realistic and with as much detail as possible.

  • theroyal

    elm the person from elmtheperson said 5 years ago

    it is an interesting question. but what people have valued or devalued has always fascinated me.

  • kmnoggle

    athenasgrrl from BohemianBlues said 5 years ago

    I love cute. I have no room for it in my house, but I love it. The problem that I see with this article is one that several people have already pointed put. The author equates cute with hastily/cheaply made. I think the whole quicky-craft thing started in the 80's with those Aileen's craft shows. They were great products, but in an attempt to sell more stuff, they kind of turned crafting from a creative endeavor into a way to kill 15 minutes. My mom taught me that you might as well NOT do something, than do it in a shoddy manner. The whole point of crafting, true crafting, is to learn and grow while creating a work of art or whimsy that leaves the world (and you) better off than it was just a minute ago.

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier said 5 years ago

    Gosh, I never thought I'd see an article devoted to a word that is one of my pet peeves.....CUTE! We have seen in the past 30 or so years, the "cute-ification" of absolutely though made by and for children! I also no longer refer to what artisans do as "crafts" because even that word has become "cute-ified". Every American "craft" magazine is geared to the cutesy and feature too many gaudy items. Somehow they never seem to jump to more intricate, detailed and sophisticated projects as are found in the foreign magazines or in vintage items. Many homes are plastered with the cute....cute magnets all over the fridge, cute stuffed toys, cute outdoor items, etc. I certainly though - as the article mentions - do not want to be referred to as a snob, but when you are overwhelmed with it, it becomes difficult to wade through all the cute to find the artisans with fresh new quality ideas that create items of beauty and uniqueness. I think that this is one of the reasons that so many people are into vintage today....some of the skill that created much of those beautiful items is lost forever as there is very little interest on the part of most people today to learn it!

  • pampamantiques

    Pam from pampamtreasures said 5 years ago

    I want to eat it lol

  • fieldtrip

    Amy from fieldtrip said 5 years ago

    @mel ladner says: There is definitely space for cute, mod, deco, kitsch and a whole lot more! I don't believe that there is a boundary in which crafted art or items cannot transcend. That's the beauty of making items by hand is that we can create for each and every genre, taste, talent and style. As each of us is a unique, individual person so too are the items we make. Thus allowing any person to find at the very least 1 item that is "them" on Etsy. People are drawn to this idea and it will only get bigger in my opinion. *** Agreed! There is nothing wrong with *cute*. For me it is all a matter of conscious consumption. One can consciously consume cute or kitsch and there is no reason it can't be made to a very high standard and cannot become a possession one treasures for a very long time and later passes on. Today's cute quality handmade items may be tomorrow's vintage treasures. It's a matter or mindset for me, not a matter of taste. Industrial or utilitarian items can be as much a disposable trend as cute can.

  • redemptionart

    Connie Haskell from redemptionart said 5 years ago

    Thank goodness human kind is so diverse, especially in the hand made world, wouldn't want it any other way! Aloha!

  • CollectibleEclectics

    Karen L. Albl from CollectibleEclectics said 5 years ago

    WOW! So many comments. I love cute! Thats why I love Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, Hello Kitty, Garfield,.........

  • MelsCreativeWishes

    Mel from MelsCreativeWishes said 5 years ago

    There is definately room fo cute! Cute too can be well crafted, unique and there is definately a place for it!

  • AllThatJazzbyJAZ

    Helen from AllThatJazzbyJAZ said 5 years ago

    I dont have an issue with cute, its the items made by sticking something purchased (like a flower) onto something else that is purchased (like a hairclip) and calling it craft. To me craft involves some sort of creativity.

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight said 5 years ago

    I'm likely never going to watch an episode of Craft Wars, but the thing that seems to rankle the writer of the blog article referenced in this post is that the contestants aren't aiming for quality, but just winning mostly on aesthetics. It's commercialism and competition and likely the contestants aren't lifelong students of arts and crafts, they're people who had the spare time to show up at a taping of a tv show because they're not busy with their full time jobs or careers and have time to slap stencils on a pre-constructed playhouse or glue crap to a birdhouse. It's the lowest common denominator, but it's also the thing to expect on a commercial television endeavor about crafting. I went to art school, I have an appreciation for a lot of things, including Duchamp signing a urinal. I have my own experiences with hoarders, and admittedly have lost a lot of appreciation for the notion that anything can be remade into something and everything is a god damned art or craft supply. Sometimes garbage is just garbage, and everything under the sun doesn't need to be recycled or upcycled. There is an element of "to each their own" and it seems that the author of the blog article would be better served and more enriched by watching PBS or the discovery channel, or visiting an art museum. I don't watch Snooki and J-Woww for a reason, and I haven't done jack sh** in terms of Keeping up w/ any of the Kardashians. I skim through people, but honestly, I don't care if Jennifer Annistan ever has a freaking baby, and really, who cares? Commercialism is the name of the game, particularly when a craft competition show is sponsored by a craft store. In modernity "craft" does imply paintsets and glitter and glue and Modge Podge more than hand hewn, artistry or labor. So it comes back to wistful semantics.

  • sunkissedhighways

    Noel Tambour from sunkissedhighways said 5 years ago

    the world can take the cute and the high minded in Craft or in anything

  • HopeAndGracePens

    Bryce Piper from HopeAndGracePens said 5 years ago

    Enjoyed reading this and agree about the Craft Wars show. My work is definately a "craft" and nothing I make is "cute." My work is serious, professional products for adults.

  • nodsu

    nodsu from nodsu said 5 years ago

    There's definity meaningful quality items here that can be considered "cute" - why insult them with such ignorance?

  • TheEarthShop

    Kiki Jane from TheOldForestCottage said 5 years ago

    That's why I am a member of the dark and haunted treasuries because THAT is underestimated I feel like everything has to be cute to be on Etsy frontpage sometimes I wonder where it all goes to... the shallowness that mimick the perfect life the idealistic world where in real life is much war inside out.. Please Etsy promote the dark! Glad you guys can see!

  • MySweetieBean

    Ivy T from MySweetieBean said 5 years ago

    I think most of us can agree that "cuteness" was a poor choice of words and meant to be provocative. I had a lot to say, but then I saw SarahKnight's comment and she took the words right out of my mouth.

  • rdeloresb

    rdeloresb said 5 years ago

    Maybe it's the TV show that leaves one "empty" and not necessarily what's cute or not. So someone thinks something is cute, and purchases it or makes it. I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is "stuff." It's the amount of stuff that's getting out of control. And a lot of stuff turns into garbage which is accumulating far too fast and taking up too much space. An example is Halloween stuff. 50 years ago, my parents didn't buy anything for Halloween except some bags of candy. They would help us kids find something fun to wear with clothing or things we had in the house. Look around now as Halloween approaches. Everywhere it's dripping with deco, costumes, toys, junk and Halloween stuff. I suppose it's cute, but really it's just too much. And that's what scares me. I say to myself, where do we go from here? More stuff? I'm not preaching here, I'm confessing. I've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years (cute, pretty, cool, beautiful stuff), and now we don't have enough space in our house. We are planning on getting rid of a lot of stuff to make more room. So what if we're talking about the planet? How do we get rid of the stuff then?

  • JewelleryByJora

    Jora from JewelleryByJora said 5 years ago

    I've not seen this Craft Wars but I think I know what the writer means. I think 'cute' was perhaps the wrong word though - many of my items are cute. They're also very well made with top quality components & designed to last.

  • julianne

    Julianne Anderson from julianne said 5 years ago

    My mother was young during the Great Depression. I was raised to place value in even the most simple items. Throw away only items that have zero value to anyone. Our landfills are probably screaming the same sentiments today. With 'cheaply made' imported from China everything......there is little value placed in anything. We are, out of sheer necessity based on the marketplace, raising a generation of children that believe in disposable everything. My mother raised me to be a 'crafter'; which in her eyes was the ability to take something less useful, less valued, or broken and transform it into something useful, handy, cute, or beautiful. And Cute.......well, some folks just don't want anything Cute in their lives. But in a world where everything is being made disposable, I value uniqueness and creativity. And I have heard out of the mouths of all three of my children at one point or another "Mom, don't throw that away! I can make something out of it." And when any kind of school project is due (usally, the next day).....I almost always have the supplies needed to 'craft' something together. In this case, craft being the cheapo quickly made definition. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.........and my eyes behold much beauty on ETSY. I simply love this site.

  • hurdyburdy

    Beverley Richmond from hurdyburdy said 5 years ago

    Ditto Ivy T / SarahKnight.

  • coalchild

    coalchild from coalchild said 5 years ago

    I think craft wars is a neat idea...but unfortunately it seems the winner is the one with the most glitter and not the one that is most creative. I think the craft that is made whether cute, dark, artful, labourous or quick is an expression of a persons creativity and hopefully should never be suppressed but brought out into this world where there can never be enough creative energy...get those hands and heads

  • lauracostello2

    Laura Costello from KireinaJewellery said 5 years ago

    There's a community on youtube, who make cute polymer clay figures and charms. They have a pretty big contest called "craft wars", which is really fun. What they make is not high quality, but they try their best, they're creative and only in their teens. l don't have problems with these shows - l taught kindergarten kids and we had crafts time at school events. It's harmless fun and l don't think it puts handmade crafted items integrity down whatsoever. l see a lot of talent on Etsy, but l also see a lot of "arts and crafts" stuff that has zero originality or quality to boot. l see that divide on Etsy as more of a threat to handcrafted goods integrity than a well meaning T.V show. There have been mend and do style shows on T.V since forever - all they have done is rename it "craft wars" to sound more contemporary with a snazzy title to catch people's attention.

  • lizhutnick

    Liz Hutnick from LizHutnick said 5 years ago

    I haven't watched the show though I will say that sometimes people just want to have fun and craft...with no lofty intentions or fine art leanings.

  • sweedishxbunnies
  • BluebirdAndRobin

    Flora Pick from MiniKawauso said 5 years ago

    Cuteness is art- it takes just as much skill as any other art form. Just because its not serious art doesn't mean they're not serious artists. By writing this Chappel is destroying the whole premises of art, its about creating what you want to. Just because some teenagers are rubbish at creating polymer clay creations doesn't mean that everyone who does polymer isn't proffesional. I don't like the word 'cute' I prefer the japenise version kawaii- avoid artists with the word cute kawaii is good

  • EventDesignShop

    Gabrielle from EventDesignShop said 5 years ago

    I think that cute hobby craftiness and the kind of handmade functional craft that William Morris and his peers were advocating are two separate things. In this sense the word 'craft' has two distinct meanings, and it will only prove exhausting, frustrating, and futile to expect all crafts to fit one particular definition. Surely Lange, an apparently intelligent woman, realizes that there will always exist a group of people who simply enjoy working with puffy paints. To expect these women to convert to her philosophy of what it means to craft seems a bit egocentric and idealistic. Let them decorate birdhouses. For me, craft is about handmade. It's about making it myself, and it's about quality. I prefer to buy handmade because I wish to support the culture. However, I'm not anti-cute. I don't discount the crafts others have made for their lack of functionality and adorableness because I don't compare the two.

  • photokitty

    Kelly McCullough from Ceaberrys said 5 years ago

    I think there is room for both serious and fun crafting. In the eye of the beholder is common for crafts. While some think Kawaii is cute (and a hard balance to get right), others may see cuteness in a lamp work heart in a glass jar or a steampunk owl ect. What is 'cute' may be a polymer clay dragon or knitted monster. In my community there is a guy who uses old lumber from lumber mills in the 1930s to make bird houses and bends spoons and other found materials to make GORGEOUS birdhouses. The craft community is for everyone, its called a niche or a unique selling point. If it didn't sell, it wouldn't be made.

  • herethereandhome

    Alyssa Marie said 5 years ago

    As long as the piece is loved by whoever it goes to, that is enough.

  • EventDesignShop

    Gabrielle from EventDesignShop said 5 years ago

    In all honesty I don't own a TV, so I'm not familiar with Craft Wars, but it sounds every bit as unsavory as Unconsumption and Make It Do. I do make every attempt to make things myself, to recycle, to upcycle, to buy handmade, and to be grateful for it all because these things come naturally to me, and that's how I want to live. However, I felt somewhat stifled by the idea of conforming to a philosophy. Unconsumption claims that there are no rules, but I felt a little boxed in reading about their non-rules and "invisible badges." Lange, like Unconsumption and Make It Do, seems caught up by conformity to the philosophy. Craft to me truly only thrives in open environments. Skill and upcycling are wonderful components of craft, or Craft, as I may now call it, but so is glitter. Cute craft and functional craft may bear two distinct definitions (for me at least), but I also see potential and freedom in mixing mediums.

  • elsewares

    Rachel Hine from elsewares said 5 years ago

    I have had similar conversations about this kind of thing before...on Etsy forums. Now, if you want to get a whole lot of people off side really quickly talk about Copying copyright and cute People guilty of any of the above will fight you, and/or make fun of you for bringing the subject up. My opinion is, do what you do with as much personal integrity as you can. If your aesthetic is cute, do it, stand behind it.

  • TARDISinmymind

    Melinda from TheBlackEmporium said 5 years ago

    You don't have to like or understand what other people do. But you should always respect that they've made their own decision instead of kowtowing to some idea of what 'art' and 'crafts' really means. It's pure snobbery and elitism. Funny thing about humans, that no matter what the playing field, we always need to boil it down into some kind of caste system. Some animals are better than others, some art is more artistic than others...

  • cberez

    CB DESIGN'S from CBDesignsPR said 5 years ago

    If the keychain is cute continues to be art... Looks very nice and yummy!!!

  • kristincreations22

    Kristin Keller from ViridisLuxDesign said 5 years ago

    I find it so amazing that people can be so torn by the definition of one word. As a crafter, maker, artist, whatever you want to call me, I enjoy doing things and enjoy when the things I do have a function. But that is not to say that I don't make things without a function. I am making a beautiful wall mural which will serve no other purpose then to beauty up my dull house walls. Does that mean it is not a craft? I think we as a crafting community, as makers and creates need to stop worrying so much about labels and instead focus on making the things we enjoy. A wreath really serves no purpose, but is still classified as a. Craft, so with such mixed up And criss crossed lines, how can anyone be so fanatic about a definition. I do agree that shows like craft wars are wasteful and it would be nice to see a show where they took used items and made them into new. I like the idea of buying less which is higher quality and I do make a lot of my own items.  Someday I hope to be able to make everything, which is my goal in life, to have the skill set to make everything from furniture to clothing, to build my own house and grow my own food.  But advancing from making cute little polymer clay items, to make my own dream house does not change how I feel about myself. I enjoy what I do, people can call me whatever they want,  am no less and no more a crafter, maker, artist, then I was 10 years ago, what I make has just advanced.

  • LuckyCatHandmade

    Mafalda from LuckyCatHandmade said 5 years ago

    I really don't think "cute" is the point. There is room for all kinds of aesthetic. An object can be cute AND very well made, useful and one that will last a long time. Those are some of my goals making my items: usefulness, quality, durability and (sorry...) cuteness. The rest is a matter of taste... :D

  • atelierfleurdelis

    jeanine from atelierfleurdelis said 5 years ago

    I am old enough to remember the struggle of artists, during the 1960's and 1970's, working in traditional "craft" media, struggle to gain the acceptance of the critics and museums. Many of these artists were woman for obvious reasons, but men were also part of the movement. These artists and craftsmen and women brought "craft" to a position where a marketplace like Etsy was commercially viable and craft a possible way to earn a living. "Cute" undermines this achievement.

  • PoleStar

    Jennifer Juniper from PoleStar said 5 years ago

    I don't watch the show, I don't care. I like artisan and I like cute. I don't want either type of craft taken away from me as a shopper. There are so many people in this world, we can afford to have some fun with cute. Cute can still be well made and original.

  • WordArtStudio

    Sarah from WordArtStudio said 5 years ago

    Very thoughtful viewpoints throughout the posts. I agree with those who've pointed out that the term "craft" is used to describe the painted macaroni creations our pre-schoolers make. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Makes no difference if the guy selling twisted beer bottles with strange faces that I think are hideous (!) is selling his stuff (yup, selling!) next to an artisan who spends countless hours of time, intricately stitching a handmade quilt that I could only wish to afford- BOTH of those people are crafters. Different categories, different styles, different levels of "crafts". Cute or sophisticated... Who cares??? So grab your glitter, your fine art brushes, bottlecaps, knitting supplies, pinecones, and your oil paints or your tempera paints... and get your CRAFT ON, Etsy people! :)

  • LeslieDeRose

    Leslie DeRose from OffTheMapArt said 5 years ago

    I think everyone likes some cute in their life, especially if you have children. I love buying my daughter cute things. But there is well thought out cute items and then there is "put a bird on it" craft items. Go to any craft show and the difference is obvious. I think customers know the difference and are excited by genuine unique ideas not the flavor of the week craft. Copied ideas, cheap materials, and reselling is the issue I have, not the item cuteness.

  • isabelgreetings

    diane billeaud from isabelgreetings said 5 years ago

    The article struck me as being about the quality of an item, not really the cute factor. When I still hear people discussing the merits of something created as being 'art' (good) or 'craft' (bad) with the word 'craft' so often said in a slightly disparaging tone, it's nice to see someone looking at it in such a thoughtful manner. I loved the article. Oh, and you mean you CAN'T eat that keychain?

  • artbyheather

    Heather Alexander from artbyheather said 5 years ago

    There's definitely a place for every genre of craft AND art...isn't it up to each person what they see as beautiful...artistic...cute? Craft has always meant exploration and expression and creativity...the definition of art isn't that much different except for the way the word makes you feel...slightly more sophisticated.

  • stitchedbymoonflower

    Julia Kelly from stitchedbymoonflower said 5 years ago

    Cute or not, I am sure that there were plenty of unmemorable crafts being made along side the furniture, lamps, stainglass and pottery from the arts and crafts movement now sitting in museums. One can only hope we are on the edge of of another "arts and craft" movement!!

  • Artnv

    Yvonne Roshong from Artnv said 5 years ago

    I have to agree that "cute" is in the eye of the beholder, however, cute can be timeless, functional, and of great craftmanship and design! What I am hoping the article is trying to say is that craft should be meaningful, well thought out and designed, and of the highest quality one can imagine and create. There is a fine line anymore when it comes to craft or art - it can be both, cute or not. I think what Lange was trying to express is that the craft of today is too commercially based when it comes to including cuteness. It might be cute to add a Michael's bought foam bird to a vintage found velvet hat, but just because you glued on a pom pom or google eyes to a found object it doesnt necessarily make that a quality "craft" whether cute or not. When I make crafts with kids at work we make the "process over outcome" approach to such projects that are quick and most often cute in the time span I have. Most use recycled goods and found objects from around the house. They might even be functional, but they are craft in a sense of process over quality that is not meant to be sold, museum pieces, or last the tests of time. Even though I have a few school "crafts" my kids made me that I will cherish forever and they are displayed on my tree each year at Christmas - its all VERY subjective! We on Etsy have taken the Arts and Crafts Movement to a new level as technology has moved us forward, but I believe the quality of craft sold HERE is mostly top notch and Mr. Morris would be proud :)

  • skincraft1

    Lisa Braun from SkinCraftOrganics said 5 years ago

    We humans really get caught up in labels, definitions & trends don't we? Create because it makes you feel good - don't worry about what category it falls into... who cares?

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 5 years ago

    I agree with Lisa (above) sometimes I create something I think is sooo cute but it doesnt sell very well, then again I can create something that I think "what was I thinking?" and it becomes one of my best sellers.. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

  • silke5763

    Silke Jordan from howcroftjordanwork said 5 years ago

    MANY thanks for the article and growing awareness of the question: What does craft stand for today'? We see ourselves exactly in that area, but finding it difficult. to use the term in UK, because people often expect cuteness rather than usefulness. Very interesting to see when the love for it will come back ... Thanks !!!

  • chrislovesbunky

    Marianne Hill from chrislovesbunky said 5 years ago

    There are as many different opinions as there are individuals, aren't there? In handmade, NoOne should be judge of anyone's item, idea, or style. If there is an audience and a market for cute, then it deserves it's place. I love that Anything can be found on Etsy. Does every item I've seen appeal to me, No. Every artist / artisan / designer / crafter or whatever one prefers to be called brings a bit of oneself to his or her "craft". That gives the shopper the opportunity to explore and choose from so many options. We all have our niche.

  • ifrogcrafts

    Karalee from ifrogcrafts said 5 years ago

    Personally i like cute & i like "Craft Wars". Art/Creating is a matter of taste. Some don't care for cute, others do. My personal taste is "Country Eclectic" & that includes cute. I guess in a world where too many take things WAY to seriously, we all need to smile at something. I don't think cute will ever disappear. <>

  • importeyedea

    KatrinaJayKay from ImportEyedea said 5 years ago

    Sign of the Etsy times.... we're divvying up who's who in the group, just like high school hieracrchy. (Crafters vs artists vs designers vs "the cute"). I say you wanna separate yourself from people who think produce a less worthy product than you- go for it. I'm sure you won't be missed. But with every person we dismiss or discount, we dismiss their opportunity to be something better with our help. It also stands to reason if the show is sponsored by a craft store, the projects may feature, current and on trend craft products. Perhaps had Home Depot, or even a local art supply story had beeen factor, the end result could've been more "aaaaartsy".

  • CathySantarsiero

    Cathy Santarsiero from CathySantarsiero said 5 years ago

    I remember 20 + years ago buying 200 tiny plastic mice just because they were so damn cute and on sale, thinking 'oh, I'll do something with them." Ha! between the cats swatting them all over the house, and the kids attacking Barbie's Dream House with them, I never used a single one. The mice brigade did teach me a lesson however, to buy smarter and never act on impulse in a craft store. The experience also helped me to zero in on the way I like to create. While painting is my main focus and first love, there are so many things I enjoy doing, and looking at. I don't give a flying fig newton what they are called, craft, art, whatever. If it made a girl scout happy to glue googly eyes & pipe cleaners to a candy cane to make a reindeer, is it not a craft? Who is to say that the feeling she had creating it isn't the one that inspired her life long love of art and crafts of all types? Art is from the heart, and to judge whether a craft is 'worthy' to be called art or a craft is a waste of time, in my opinion. I believe there are different levels of expertise and different types of art and craft and that most people with and artist's soul spend their whole life growing and changing, as do their styles of art and what speaks to them. Will I buy the exquisite hand blown glass bowl at the juried art fair? Absolutely. But I will also buy that candy cane reindeer from the girl scout. I love a gorgeous french macaroon. But sometimes, I just want a pop tart.

  • creativepigpen

    gigi from creativepigpen said 5 years ago

    I love cute! In fact, I tried to click on the photo that headed this article to see the crafter's shop!

  • creativepigpen

    gigi from creativepigpen said 5 years ago

    Oh, found it! Visiting now!

  • KimberlyHutt

    KimberlyHutt from KimberlyHutt said 5 years ago

    What great insight. She's not denying that craft can display cute qualities, but she's pressing for a more meaningful definition of the word that goes beyond just appearance.

  • Icklebabe

    Icklebabe from Icklebabe said 5 years ago

    Fabulous post, and one that resonates so deeply in me. I love cute things, but really resent that being all that craft means. I saw a documentary on william Morris a few years ago and was completely inspired by his simple, yet careful aprouch. I think if we all take a more considered aprouch to what we buy and create where we can, the world would be a more happy , individual place to be. The craft geeks will inherit the earth ( maybe ;D) X

  • NEdaydreams

    Day Dreams from DayDreamsGifts said 5 years ago

    I'm going out on a limb here being a newcomer; however, I have to agree. Crafts are not what they once were but they can be made well, cute and useful. Useful does not mean ugly nor plain. BUT...I have a real problem with some crafts that are just plain overboard dust collecting nuisances (i.e., Cinnamon Brooms made into dolls from the 90's, etc.). Personally I prefer to make something useful, sustainable and attractive. Cutesy has never been much of my style. I'll leave that to the others who are better at that :)

  • smallmatters

    Sugaree from smallmatters said 5 years ago

    Cute is childlike. A lot of us are crafting to hold onto the most precious days of our lives, or to re-create a childhood we never had. I think cute with excellence should be the goal. =)

  • kgpaintings

    Kirsten Gilmore from PaintingsByKEGilmore said 5 years ago

    I think it isn't the cuteness that is a concern, but, as you mentioned, the denigration of craft as just a hobby. Michael's sponsors Craft wars. It is in their best self-interest that craft be presented as a hobby experience. They sell pre-cut, pre-fab collage items for scrapbooks, cross stitch with the fabric guide pre-printed: a pre-fab experience full of items for those fearful of doing something original or risky. Hobbies are fine, but craft in terms of craftsmanship requires more than that. It requires dedication to honing skill. That said, I don't dislike Michaels---their art supply section is fine. It's the conditioning of consumers to believe they need to buy more things to get a better art/craft result that bothers me.

  • woodenaht

    alex from woodenaht said 5 years ago

    to me, cutesy is trendy and disposable. Like the mustaches which etsy is so fond of. The day always comes when it is no longer cute, and gets thrown into the landfill, though its condition is unchanged. Fine craft is forever.

  • HestiaHandKnits

    Connie Powers from HestiaHandKnits said 5 years ago

    I am SO glad to read this post, knowing I'm not the only one who feels the world is becoming too cute! I mean, I can fall for cute sometimes too, (photos of kittens almost always get me) and there's room for that. But, as an adult now and not a child, I look for beauty in the world, not simply cute, and my aim is to make the world a more beautiful place. To me the word "craft" implies a certain dedication to excellence and love of the process, creating something that is the best it can be.

  • bannerandsail

    stephanie callsen from bannerandsail said 5 years ago

    Very interesting post and comments!

  • HestiaHandKnits

    Connie Powers from HestiaHandKnits said 5 years ago

    PS - I haven't seen the show, but I think it smart marketing on the part of Michaels.

  • LoucheLab

    Aya Rosen from LoucheLab said 5 years ago

    What's wrong with cute? it's not insulting or demeaning or hurtful. In cultures like Japan or China "cute" is very much admired both esthetically and as a big money maker. Not to throw too much feminist sh*t about but the only thing "cute" isn't is masculin. I think that the more advertising agencies, art galleries and fashion trends companies realize what a huge buying force women are, the more "cute" we'll see in fashion, art and commerce.

  • SoapForYourSoul

    Emily from SoapForYourSoul said 5 years ago

    Love this. Gotta have some handmade cute!

  • sadiedesignsca

    Sarah from CAMPandQUARRY said 5 years ago

    “This is culture, it is not a hobby, and it deserves serious analysis, criticism and thought,” says Lange. THIS! Thank you, Etsy, for adding to the conversation and giving others a place to express themselves. This thread is a great read.

  • amandagilbar

    Amanda and Dennis from designden said 5 years ago

    Big, small, fat, clean, messy, chaotic, minimalist, chic, CUTE, vintage. There's a place for everyone on Etsy, that's the great thing about this site! Cheers to cute and all in between. <3.

  • KittysCreation

    Amanda from TheLaughingWall said 5 years ago

    I like cute and functional, also I watch craft wars every week, and love it. The aspect of it I love is the out of the box thinking that the contestants have to do, now does that mean I'm willing to make my Thanksgiving centerpiece out of stuff found in a bathroom (last night’s episode) no, and may I say EWWWW to the concept, however some of the stuff the contestants come up with are awesome, even if they are just thrown together as fast as possible, to me the creativeness of the projects for a show like that are what count, now again would I sell any of the stuff that they make... no simply because it is thrown together and mostly cheap looking.

  • mulch

    mulch from mulch said 5 years ago

    Cute is cute. Love the article.

  • bettylabamba

    Betty LaBamba from TheDecoratedShed said 5 years ago

    Does this mean no more owls or mustaches on the front page???!!!!!??!!

  • chrissynilsen

    Chrissy Nilsen said 5 years ago

    Can I eat it?

  • TossedTreasures

    Amber Lee from TossedTreasures said 5 years ago

    You can not please everyone. I can see someone coming in and saying the opposite. Is there room for boring. Define cute. Define boring. Individual uniqueness is what makes humans so fascinating. We are all different. We have all different cultures, likes, dislikes... there will always be room for new ideas, new handmade items, new "cute" trends. As humans we crave it. As buyers we demand it. Cute is just one of the many facets of handmade creations. Loved this article!

  • crookedsmilecreation

    Ally from CrookedSmileCreation said 5 years ago

    I think Lange is on to something. "They don't make 'em like they used to" meant that things were made well and lasted a long long time, and didn't necessarily fit into a country or eclectic style. It simply meant that it was stylish, unique and was in a different category than the mass produced world, as we see coming out of China these days. I'm glad someone said it.

  • catcancrochet

    Cat Tatsch from CatCanCrochet said 5 years ago

    I think the real issue here is that Alexandra Lange decided to substitute the word "cute" for "non-functional" and/or "durable", which are much more accurate terms for what she appears to be upset about. It's not necessarily that the projects were glittery (although she does seem to have a strangely intense aversion to glitter) or even that most of these projects were kitschy to the extreme. If the contestants had made their finished product in a way that was functional AND made to last, yet looked exactly the same, half of her post would be irrelevant. I was also shocked that Lange seemed to believe that every single person who crafts or shops at Michaels is an art-based entrepreneur. My great-grandmother learned to knit when she was a child and did it most of her life, spending months working on gifts for friends or baby hats she would then donate to the NICU ward at her hospital. She was extremely talented and achieved a level of meticulous detail that is rarely seen anymore. Not once did she ever think about selling her pieces or desire to make a career out of knitting. It was something she did to keep her hands busy during quiet evenings. I understand that Lange may be upset by certain stereotypes being continued with this show, but ultimately, she just needs to calm down and acknowledge that she can't control what people think about her or her career choices. Some people will always hear the word "craft" and their minds will conjure up bottles of Elmer's glue, colored construction paper and stickers of baby animals. That's their mind, not ours.

  • draxton

    Cheryl Draxton from DraxtonDesigns said 5 years ago

    I think we need to understand the difference between ART and CRAFT. Craft is fun and cute. Something anyone can do. Some better than others but still something fun to do with the kids. When you cross over into something more challenging and "serious", something that takes some level of talent to accomplish you are no longer a "crafter" you are an "artist".

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm from baconsquarefarm said 5 years ago

    Great article~ this will be debated forever~ until the end of time as we know it.

  • BossysFeltworks

    BossysFeltworks from BossysFeltworks said 5 years ago

    Two discussions here, really: one about mindful purchasing and sustainability, and one about cuteness. My 2 cents about cuteness.... Once at our farmer's market booth, we had a customer roll her eyes and say "but what's it FOR???" I totally get that need for utilitarian objects. But we get far more people at our booth who smile and gasp and rub our little sheep against their cheeks. It can well have provided them a bright spot for their day... and for all I know, the best day of the week. That feels very good to me. I also write songs, and have appreciated that art genre for connecting with people about the hard things in life. It is also nice to have a creative outlet to foster "cuteness" and joy!

  • TamedRavenDesigns

    Kristina Veres from TamedRavenDesigns said 5 years ago

    I think the only thing hurting 'crafts' is people that try to contain it and fit it into a certain box. Isn't that what handmade is against? Going with everything else instead of going against the grain?

  • TheStitchAndFold

    Stitch from TheStitchAndFold said 5 years ago

    I think there should be room for all kinds of styles in craft, including cute. Cute things need not be limited to being purely ornamental, and can be functional as well. The same goes for handmade items of other styles.

  • DewyMorningVintage

    DewyMorningVintage from DewyMorningVintage said 5 years ago

    I don't think 'craft' can be defined in one way any more than 'art' can be, it is just individuals expressing themselves, be it cute or not. Isn't something that makes you smile and happy, useful? I guess I just don't like the idea that something has to be just one way, serious and utilitarian. Of course, buying high quality items that last is wonderful but lets not make crafting only that. There is so much joy in crafting...I can't tell you how many times I see something cute on Etsy...and I just smile from ear to evokes feelings of joy to see those cute little needle felted animals(for example). I don't want that to ever go away.

  • muddywaterscc

    Diane Waters from muddywaterscc said 5 years ago

    Very interesting article. The skill and workmanship of the Arts and Crafts movement is inspirational and enduring. The decorative motifs, just like colors, change from movement to movement, era to era. Human beings get tired of the same old thing. So, birds or woodland creatures may be "in" now. Later it is something else. That doesn't make it less relevant. I think the important point to take from William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, is that having fewer hand-crafted, high-quality, thoughtfully created items is far superior to buying mass produced, cheap, throw-away stuff. It is better for the planet, of course. But, it is also better for the consumer. There is a time and a place for cute, just like there is a time and place for serious. So, I wouldn’t discount art or crafts just because it is cute or whimsical.

  • NaviWing

    NaviWing from NaviWing said 5 years ago

    The idea of "cute" isn't detrimental to me. As mentioned earlier, Japan's culture is centered around cute, like America's is centered around cool. Even guys can take on the cute factor without criticism. That being said, I don't think this is really about cute, but about functionality, purpose, and longevity. Especially in an eco-conscious world, crafters are becoming more aware of how their creations impact the environment and want to know what the point really is. What ends up damaging the craft world's credibility are the artists/crafters who take labels like "steampunk" or "goth" and slap them on to their products without understanding the crowd who mindfully searches for them or what those labels mean. Embarrassing moments like that make artists/crafters seem more desperate to sell and come up in Google searches rather than do their research. Or they end up on Regretsy, where we all point and laugh and go "wow that's really not steampunk." Crafters also need to understand that upcycling and recycling are only good things when you create something that's just as useful or even more useful than the previous product. I've seen way too many awkward crafts born from the desire to reuse and recycle, bringing us back to the idea that whatever you do, do it well. Overall, it's pretty subjective. I might look at a clothespin reindeer and think it useless while another crafter sees a family tradition handed down through generations. In the proverbial end, it should be well-made and have a purpose.

  • cginnyc

    Ginny from SilverTongueJewelry said 5 years ago

    As with all my sisters, my father made me a birdhouse. However, unlike my sisters, I asked him not to paint mine. I wanted to do it myself. I painted it in primary colors. It is erected on a turned pole painted in primary colors. I love it. The birds love it. No one has one like it. It has withstood over 10 years of monsoons, bird poop, and 100+ degree summers. No wood has split or come paint has peeled. It is functional and durable in every sense that Morris intended from its construction to its finish...and its cute.

  • Fubuki

    Fubuki from Fubuki said 5 years ago

    Some of my work is unashamedly cute, but I also stock more 'serious' pieces as well. This is so that my products can be appreciated by as wide a customer base as possible. What is certain, however, is that I hand pick every component material and ensure it is of the best quality I can find. They are not designed to be disposable and I hope that the greeting cards will be kept by their recipients as a piece of work to admire, maybe in a frame or recycled as bookmarks. Good quality cute stuff is still very hard to make and does require skill and patience. However, I can see the author's point when you browse the listings and see thirty different versions of the same bird pendant or octopus hairclip. That lacks originality, and when the 'craft' is merely sticking a plastic prefab octopus onto a prefab metal clip, then yes, it lacks technical skill as well.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 5 years ago

    Cuteness is fine as long as the quality is great!

  • WritingPlaces

    Lisa Gossman-Steeves from WritingPlaces said 5 years ago

    I watched Craft Wars last night after reading this article, and I think Lange has the wrong definition of "cute." I think what she should have said was "kitsch," which means "sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts", according to the FreeOnlineDictionary. Craft Wars also had a bad definition of sophisticated since they wanted the crafters to create a sophisticated Thanksgiving table setting out of bathroom accessories.

  • spunkyrooster

    Amanda from doodledewdesigns said 5 years ago

    Craft is different for each and every person, and each craft will appeal to someone different. Everyone should just keep making what they love, no matter if it's considered 'hip' or 'popular'.

  • lovinffhmusic

    Emily said 5 years ago

    Yes, craft IS a culture, but it can and should also be a hobby. For many people, it is just that, and if you take away the ability of it to BE a hobby, you take a way a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people. People do crafting as an escape, as a bit of fun when they are not dealing with the grudging work days. If you make it all about seriousness, you take away the fun. A lot of people don't even have the talent or time to do crafts like that. No, I do not agree with Lange.

  • HandmadeHandsome

    Tryntsje from HandmadeHandsome said 5 years ago

    Interesting post. Makes you think again.

  • etsyusername87

    Jenni Cabezas said 5 years ago

    Just making something by hand and making it one of a kind is a serious political statement. Having it be cutesy is just a style and does not undermine the craft!

  • tana2banana

    Tana Mitchell said 5 years ago

    Cute is cute. But it isn't art. I have many art pieces in my home. Some are whimsical, some beautiful, some convey an outright funny message. But not even one of them could be called "cute". That is a word reserved for crafts (as opposed to "craft") which could utilize doiles or plastic canvas. Indulge in those items if you like. But don't expect that they will ever be mistaken for art.

  • AcrylicPixie

    AcrylicPixie from StitchingPixie said 5 years ago

    If I've had to say it once, I've had to say it a thousand times----don't be a humorless son of a bitch. Several of my more recent purchases on Etsy have been Deborah Villereal's (FourBeesDesigns) treasure Cakes keepsake boxes. When completed, they look nice and can hold a few things. In fact, I was thinking of reopening my Etsy store with more light-hearted stock because I sold one scarf, and no hats or arm warmers earlier. I don't care for "cutesy' (overdone and sugary) but I am open to "cute" (a more honest sweetness). Just don't try to send me back to the "Violent and Vulgar" school that thrived under George Bush and John Major. And yes, "Craft wars" is lame.

  • FauxFoxShop

    Amanda Whitehead from FauxFoxShop said 5 years ago

    There is room for all kinds of art, no? People who take their art "seriously" will always be disappointed by what appears on TV. Many dancers are dismayed by "So You Think You Can Dance" and many singers cringe at "American Idol." Any art form has a spectrum of styles, skill levels, and expressions, and the ones packaged for the mass media are on only one end of that spectrum. But I agree with Erika at ErikaPrice - the important thing is for crafters/dancers/singers to work with integrity and quality, and there is room for all styles.

  • wheatleypaperworks

    M Wheatley from wheatleypaperworks said 5 years ago

    Make what you want how you want. And one other thing...There's just as much, (if not more) crappy art out there as crappy craft. Just say'n.

  • lizhutnick

    Liz Hutnick from LizHutnick said 5 years ago

    I love googly eyes, pipe cleaners and sequins...the more the better.

  • slacey152

    Stacy from HappiestCrafts said 5 years ago

    Cute, my crafts are cute :) There is a place for all kinds of crafts, "cute" crafts are only one small portion of endless kinds of amazing crafts!!

  • misskatc

    misskatc from PleiadesVintage said 5 years ago

    Actually there's a more interesting Video on TED that relates to this topic. In short "Good" design can be solely for yourself or to make people happy by looking at it and that's it's function.

  • CrossExtreme

    Lindsay Niles from CrossExtreme said 5 years ago

    As a cute crafter, I say no. "Cute" is no different than any other style or label to be tacked onto a craft. That's like asking if Shabby Chic is bad for crafting, or Americana. You'll find some who think they are, of course, but one person's opinion (regardless of who they write for or where their articles are posted) doesn't make a thing true.

  • canoto

    can o to said 5 years ago

    thanks you for this post..i like it can san

  • NoteNotingNoted

    Jo S from NoteNotingNoted said 5 years ago

    Interesting post as well as comments. I can see valid points on both sides. Looks like there needs to be room for all opinions and the general public will be informed as much as they desire to be.

  • StrawberryBoho

    Cheryl Muir from StrawberryBoho said 5 years ago

    I'm good with cute, I still love the "bird" theme on many things. I was so excited to watch Craft Wars, and then really disappointed. I gave it a chance, watched a few episodes, but really they take junk and quickly try to make it into something functional within a theme. But it just ends up kitschy looking, not so cute, or appealing. So disappointed...

  • LaMeowVintage

    Regan from LaMeowVintage said 5 years ago

    Cuteness is not bad for craft. I do not think it is even relevant to the argument. Handmade objects can be cute, well made, functional and non wasteful.

  • pasin

    pasin from Pasin said 5 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • AMSkrafts

    AMSkrafts from AMSkrafts said 5 years ago

    Interesting indeed. It is hard to tell some customers prices of "cute" crafts, because some crafts don't look like they took as long as they did to create. Yet many times cuteness brings more people interested in your craft. There are pros and cons to cuteness for craft.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    Great article I've been a fan of William Morris since I was at school, I've always loved his artwork in the attention to detail and his ideology.

  • vingmarker

    tanja said 5 years ago

    Who care about my taste, who cares about yours? It´s all about taste. Both in art, handcraft as in music and other arty things we think, feel different about it. Not the "best" singer is most listen to, the most arty art sell the most because it is not important - to any other than ourselves. Buy what you like, cute or not, and listen to the singer that goes to your heart. All about - taste.

  • nicolawardlow

    Nicola Wardlow from fawnanddeershop said 5 years ago

    For me 'crafting' is about enjoyment - whether it be cute or sonething more thought provoking.

  • SkiDoodle

    Skidoodle from Skidoodle said 5 years ago

    There are all levels of "craft" some more artistic than others. I don't like the idea of excluding anybody. That fits more under the heading of "snob". TV is entertainment and so, some good- some bad. From grandma's plastic canvas fridge magnets to some of the more serious crafts, there is room for everybody. That is one of the things that has always drawn me to crafts as a form of artistic expression- the inclusiveness. No juried shows for me!

  • jewelryrage

    Aaron Kish from JewelryRage said 5 years ago

    Awesome article!

  • silviaberrios1

    Silvia Berrios from DesignsbySilvia said 5 years ago

    For the quantity of comments, this article has hit a cord in a lot of us: crafters, makers, artist, etc. whatever "title" we take. I strongly believe my crafts should be "cute", at least to the buyer. Who wants to buy ugly things???

  • reflectionsjewelry

    Emily Delfin from reflectionsjewelry said 5 years ago

    Thought provoking..............

  • BrazenNest

    Rachel Moreau from LessisMoreau said 5 years ago

    "Cute" is just a style option- I think it's more the quality of the piece that is in debate. I'm making a quilt for my nephew, and it's pretty darn cute, but it's my "craft" because of the time, intention, and quality I put into it. I think she is confusing "cute" with cheap and disposable. But I saw Craft Wars and it made me giggle :) Was it the BEST representation? No. But I feel like most people can understand the difference between trying to use tin pans to make a wine rack and investing in handmade heirloom pieces for their home. As for the rest, everyone has a different taste level, and that's true of every industry. Just because Forever 21 isn't Vera Wang, doesn't mean that they both don't sell fashion.

  • teerexteeth

    Sarah May said 5 years ago Featured

    It feels like cuteness has supplanted depth/skill in the value of craft . There are continual images and comments of "adorable" circling the web without much discussion on the usability, technical consideration or expertise that goes into what crafters create. I agree that aesthetic is important, but it's not all there is. "Cute" is such a dismissive phrase for a movement that continues to have resounding strength and importance. It's a bummer that people will watch things like "Craft Wars" and honestly believe that that is the whole face of Craft.

  • bellabiondinella

    Dana Marie from BellasBoutiqueDesign said 5 years ago

    Cute inspires me as well as others and makes us happy. Isn't that worth something?

  • sparklecityjewelry

    Cathy from sparklecityjewelry said 5 years ago

    I'm all about the cute! It's my middle name!!!! ;-)

  • deconstructika

    Rosie Rose from RosieRoseDesigner said 5 years ago

    I had to laugh when I read that title "Don't put a bird on it". While I love birds, there is a lot of "idea-sharing" that goes on on Etsy and the craft world in general- especially birds and owls. So many owls.............

  • USJade

    Jade Walker from StaRvinCoLLeGeKid said 5 years ago

    I can see the abuse cuteness has dumbed down crafts....I am one of the main culprits because I refer to everything I admire as cute...I will try to explain things in more of a imagist perspective.

  • queenofqueens

    Michelley QueenofQueens from TheMagicArtShop said 5 years ago

    Apathy Owl says, "Whooooo Cares?".

  • LavenderField

    Victoria Letemendia Koupparis from LavenderField said 5 years ago

    Interesting article. A craft is a form of art. You build it with your hands and your imagination. It should not be hurried, and it doesn't matter if it's cute or ugly or anything in between. The final product has to show the passion put into it.

  • OzscapeDesignsArt

    Lesley Edgar from OzscapeDesigns said 5 years ago

    Is decoration a true craft? Anyone can do that, cute or not. True craft to me is invention and creation of something unique. I have never seen the show "Craft wars" but what a missed opportunity to not bring in true craftsmen and women to show off their craft and show us what is a true craft. Unfortunately it is shows like this (apparently) that gives 'Craft' a bad name and makes people think of grandmas knitting coat hanger covers when someone mentions "craft".

  • teabeyond

    Jane London from TeaBeyond said 5 years ago

    i'd say, it's soo cute!!!

  • CoreandMantle

    Alayna from CoreandMantle said 5 years ago

    Cute is awesome. I says whatevs to the haters, they're not a part of our fun anyway!

  • PrizewinnersParade

    Jo Grant from PrizewinnersParade said 5 years ago

    It's too easy to dismiss critical thought as snobbery. This attitude is so annoying to me. Don't we all want to get better, be better at what we do? I say bravo to Lange and Chapell for bringing this kind of discussion into the arena. After all, it is just discussion and I don't want to live in a world where this is absent. And beware the 'craft aesthetic' that is creeping in and already here to stay people.

  • haleystudio

    Enid Williams from HaleyStudio said 5 years ago

    Reminds me of this article -- -- totally rubbed me the wrong way with "urban homesteading and 'the home arts' should not be confused with real art-making, which involves challenging the status quo, not feeding it." There will always be "high" and "low" arts and crafts. I'm a huge Morris fan but I also have a 3-yr-old.

  • tweetlbug

    Heather Christiansen from TemptasticTattoo said 5 years ago

    craft is many things, it is cute, it is edgy, it is boho, it is shabby and chic and a million things in between. I don't think that anyone has a right to say something isn't crafts just because it's cutesy. It's not MY aesthetic, but there are differing opinions on what people like, I'm really glad we aren't a utilitarian society with one ideal.

  • RitzeeRebel

    RitzeeRebel from RitzeeRebel said 5 years ago

    I make "cute" things because I love them and if other people do too, that's great! I think there's room for all types of art in the world, if it makes you happy, do it. What a boring world this would be if we all liked and bought the exact same things.

  • WastebasketWhatnots

    Holly Easton from WastebasketWhatnots said 5 years ago

    What I don't like about the show is that it pidgeonhole's the "crafter" into a cookie cutter hole. It promotes that all crafters hide behind the dreaded glue gun and makes us all appear to be amateurs.

  • Saragato

    Sara Schneider from EatWithYourEyes said 5 years ago

    Crafts seem, to me, something that is derived from the thought "I wonder if I could make x from x?" It's a spark of creativity that gets inspired by life or imagination or even both. There's so much store-bought "cute" stuff that it's no wonder someone thought to handmake similar things, whether for personal use or with the knowledge that there was already a market out there. From my avatar you can see I clearly hopped into the "cute" bandwagon and the "fake food" one as well that swept all over with miniatures, jewelry made to look like sweets and dishes and what-have-you. I don't see it as a demeaning side to the craft world or something that should be shunned as a fad or tacky, it's what people want to create and create they do, striving to be more original, more involved in perfecting the craft of what they've chosen. It's also what some people want to buy, and as long as there's a market for it people will continue to create it.

  • TheJuicyFig

    Kath Rimmer from TheJuicyFig said 5 years ago

    Craft has always been HUGE umbrella name or title for hundreds of different activities, interpretations and needs, and is undertaken by group of people as diverse as there are crafts. It is like writing (called a 'craft') there are thousands of different authors writing books of hundreds of genres, magazine articles, essay, blogs, poems newspapers - and every one of those is sub-divided into types and genres appealing to different reader - craft has something for everyone, some people love and embrace one thing and despise another - it would be a tired world where we were all the same. I have not seen the program in question but I can see that I might feel frustrated if it represented craft from a different angle than what my personal crafting style or history or interpretation. It feels like craft is becoming both elitist from some angles and banal from another, but I think that has always been the case since time immemorial. There is a place for them all and ETSY should champion itself as being a huge craft melting pot where everyone and everything is welcome - don't turn it into an unwelcoming place to all but a few.

  • JCWilson07

    JCWilson07 said 5 years ago

    For me, also, Craft Wars is difficult to watch. In order to fit a program into a neatly tied package, I guess you have to cram a lot of activity into a short period of time. But, when you do that - it does seem to poke fun at the art of being an artist and crafter (which personally I think are one in the same). I'm sure the challenge of whipping something up within a strict (short) time-frame is great spark for creativity (some people work great under pressure) - but I personally could not be at my best with a short period of time. I've seen people just 'throw things together' for the sake of simply finishing something - where is the craft in that? Some of my favorite shows discuss the process of making something: Unwrapped, How It's Made, anything with Alton Brown (smile), anything with Martha Stewart... I cannot wait until there is a show with a focus on the craft artist - JUST for the purpose of inspiring other artists. But, I guess those types of shows don't generate revenue. Thank God for ETSY. Really - ETSY has changed my life and the life of so many who craft...

  • monsterkookies

    Kimberly Hart from monsterkookies said 5 years ago

    Cute has its place in the craft world just like any other adjective. :P Leave it alone!

  • TheFishLady

    Ivana Turner said 5 years ago

    I can see where "cute" can be an issue. Crafting is most definitely a lifestyle. When I look at most things, I think either how I could have made it, how I could alter it to look better, how I could repurpose it, etc. Its a mental difference from norm, where they would rather buy exactly or close enough to what they would want instead of formulating or altering to make it fit right. "Cute" has the possibility of watering down the crafting community's efforts that are made. But, sometimes its "cute" that pulls people in. I have always had an interest in crafting, but it wasn't until my best friend bought me a crochet kit to make different cutesy animals that I was thrown into this. I credit not only him, but the allure of making cute animals to me making my own furniture, purse, habitats for my lizards, decor, storage, clothes, etc. Now, Crafting Wars does slightly upset me and my partner in crafting (my mother, of course!) because I feel as though what these people are cranking out is not the best that could be made for those challenges. I also do not like the fact that the people that go on their are famous in their own aspects. I think they should be pulling on regular people, for example a college kid who could could come up with so much better things and could really use that $10,000 towards school and books!

  • lorimittan

    Lori Mittan from MonCheriShop said 5 years ago

    I love this article and totally agree. I feel that the connection between craft and cuteness really does put crafters in a corner. Whenever I tell people I sell on Etsy, I feel like I get put in a class, like it's nothing more than just a little hobby. It's not seen a a "real job". It's hard to stand up to that reaction. On another note, I've been told by fellow Etsy sellers to add embellishments and glitter to my frames to make them stand out more in Etsy searches. Are they suggesting I make my product... *gasp*... cuter??? Even among our own kind we are pushed to throw in the "cuteness factor", convinced that's where sells are. I read somewhere on Etsy to stay true to your your product. If you slip away from that, you won't succeed. I make products that I'd be proud to hang on my daughter's walls, and everybody else's, That's what is true to me. If what is true to you is "cute", by all means, keep doing it. However, If you think making your product "cuter" will increase sells, I think you'll probably find the opposite is true.

  • GemmaBeads

    Misty from Gemmabeads said 5 years ago

    Just be true to your inspiration and personality. Anything else is pandering, false, and not worthy of your precious time.

  • hypsela

    Helen Smith from hypsela said 5 years ago

    Very interesting article, I think she is right that there aren't enough words to describe the act of making. How is creating an object which is both beautiful and useful, from scratch, using raw materials, the same as decorating a bought (or found) object? And yet the word 'craft' is used to describe both.

  • artangel

    Angie from artangel said 5 years ago

    There are different reasons why people create; some are artists driven by the need to express themselves through their work, others just enjoy the process of making something. I think that there's plenty of room under the craft umbrella for both thought-provoking, cutting-edge work and for "cute" crafts. I'd imagine that they appeal to two entirely different markets.

  • SquidWhaleDesigns

    Elizabeth McTear from HonestAlchemyCo said 5 years ago

    The argument here isn't about putting a moratorium on "cute" in craft. It's asking if "craft" as we currently use it in pop-culture is missing the point, causing people to perhaps dismiss what a lot of us are doing as some sort of cheesy hot-glue-&-sparkles piece of junk. William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement was the pursuit of craftsmanship: where functionality, quality, and aesthetics come together to create something of lasting utilitarian beauty. Whimsy and fun and cuteness can be just as much a part of the aforementioned qualities, but the pursuit of craft, of honing one's skill with their tools and materials, is what's at stake here. It's a difference between Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham's string picking and a hobbyist guitar player in their living room. So the real question is: Are we all a bunch of hobbyists slapping together whatever & only thinking of the "cute factor" or are we aiming high to be the best at what we do and getting paid and recognized properly for it? In our pursuit of our best, are we addressing the needs and desires of our clientele?

  • tammybetson

    Tammy Betson from TandMArtsandCrafts said 5 years ago

    Here, here, as far as I am concerned if you can make some thing, cute (or not cute), love doing it and be lucky enough to make a living out of it, then surely that's the best reward no matter what anyone thinks.

  • EvesLittleEarthlings

    Eve Geisler from EvesLittleEarthlings said 5 years ago

    Once upon a time, not that long ago, everything was handmade. Mass production has given crafters and artists many choices and made artistic endeavours more accessible for all of us. I don't know where I would be without mass produced thread, sewing machines and sweaters. Cute is beside the point. Does the item please the eye? Is it well constructed? Does it serve its purpose well to the user? Whether or not something is cute is a judgment call and a matter of taste.

  • Popogirl

    Mary Dixon from Popogirl said 5 years ago

    I happen to personally know one of the Craft Wars winners and she was a high ranking graduate of one of the most prestigious art colleges in the country, which was founded by Mary Chase Stratton, one of the first Arts and Crafts movement's artists/supporters. This CW winner has always produced artwork in a respectable and thought out manner, such as would befit any true artist. The fact that this CW winner was a contestant on the show was testament to the fact that given the limited time frame and the pressure of TV Drama and cheaper materials than (CW winner) is typically users to using in her real art life, that a real and true "artist" can be ASSumed to be a mere "crafter with no higher education."

  • MinaMinette

    Jan Penn from MinaMinette said 5 years ago

    I haven't read all the posts, but it's clear that there are lots of differing opinions on this subject! I'm just wondering...why is it that when you put an "s" on art and craft--"arts and crafts"--it suddenly sounds like something you do at camp? There is "cute" in art as well as craft, just as there is "modern art" and "modern craft". How do you assign worthiness to art or craft? It's worth can only be judged by the artist whose work it is. Everyone else's judgment is only their opinion.

  • cuddlyheartscrochet

    rebecca seipp from Rebeccaseippcrochet said 5 years ago

    i've been on etsy for about 5 years and have never responded to a post before now. there shouldn't be a distinction between what is cute or not. who cares? what's cute to one may not be to another. who are you to judge what can be art based on your definition of cute or dramatic or glitzy or dark? everyone on here makes things ranging from the hobbyist (myself) to the ones who make their living with etsy. why are we judging each other based on cute? i think sometimes etsy loves to promote the "real artists" (who probably don't do 'cute') and dismiss the others. for those of you who feel cute somehow diminishes the quality, passion, love, intelligence, joy in an item then you have missed the point and have truly become a craft snob. shouldnt we all respect what the other makes and enjoy the diversity of everything on etsy? i am proud to say i craft and (horror of horrors), i do use yarn and have even used glue in the past. some of my things have even been cute. guess i'm not relevant to the "real artists".

  • cuddlyheartscrochet

    rebecca seipp from Rebeccaseippcrochet said 5 years ago

    wow, just read elizabeth and sarah's comments. are you guys kidding? get off your high horse. i'm a hobbyist and have been crocheting for over 30 years. i choose not to make my living doing this but it doesn't make my work less important or well made than anyone else's and for you to sugest otherwise is snobbery at the highest level. it's comments like that that will continue to divide crafters- yup, i said it. we're all crafters of one sort or another so get over yourself. i spend hours a week on my craft as i'm sure many, many others do on etsy. my work is excellent quality. i have never just "slapped" something together. to assume that the hobbyist takes less time or pride in their work is ridiculous. i'd rather be plucking guitar strings in my living room any day if it means i can stay a real person who appreciates all the things that are shown and sold on this site.

  • staciejay123

    Stacie Gebroe said 5 years ago

    The problem with a lot of craft today is cheap mass produced art supplies. You can't make something well if you are using junky supplies. Which is what Michaels mostly sells. Cuteness has nothing to do with it.

  • iktomi

    Denise from Iktomi said 5 years ago

    Ooh, I have to say I love making something "cute" and sweet that makes someone smile. Nothing wrong with that. I also make serious clay art that evokes emotion and thought. Who's to say which is better? I personally prefer WELL MADE items that are original. Whether or not they are cute is beside the point. Maybe instead of targeting Cute, the author could have come down on shoddy crafting that uses cute as a crutch for poor craftsmanship!

  • denisemattox

    denise mattox from WickedAlterations said 5 years ago

    i have to say, I myself, dislike what most think is "cute" what I think is cute isn't country, early american, anything pink with hearts, my idea of cute is a bad ass skull in black grey and red, so there is a place for cute!!

  • aventurinedream

    Heidi Hardner from aventurinedream said 5 years ago

    My etsy home page is showing some very cute felt critters right now. I see etsy working hard to erode the negative stereotypes that do exist around the word craft. The etsy powers that be appear to me to really work at promoting the value of the handmade from many different angles and I appreciate that. For one thing, I think the aesthetic of the site, which I would call something like "art museum", really shows respect for all of our work.

  • caseysharpe

    Casey Sharpe from caseysharpe said 5 years ago

    I think that a huge part of the argument against cuteness in crafts has to do with classically educated craftspeople, who view craft on par with paintings and sculptures. However, it's hard to get craft taken seriously in the fine arts world when people associate it with cuteness. (Think about it this way: when was the last time you saw something "cute" in an art museum?)

  • 2ndHandMade

    Serena Lee from 2ndHandMade said 5 years ago

    I'm generally of the belief that, like everything else, to each his own. The problem isn't cuteness in craft; the problem is the show, "Craft Wars" being promoted to lead people to believe that this is what craft and creativity are all about. I was really looking forward to the show, but after watching the first episode, I couldn't help but cringe. The show didn't get me excited about crafts at all, (and I'm one of those people who finds those YouTube how-to videos fascinating). It made me want to run out of the room screaming! Leave it to another puffy-lipped, second rate celebrity to push a joke of a show!

  • NancyBukovsky

    Nancy and Frances Bukovsky from ObscureGems said 5 years ago

    Isn't cuteness some people's form of expression? I'm not saying it is all that crafting is about, but who are we to judge what is crafting and what isn't? I'm sure that time is spent to create even the cutest of items. And what about stuffed animals and items for children? Certainly those items could be considered cute, and I am sure that, when made with care, have very high quality. Cuteness also appeals to younger markets, teenagers, children, etc. Sure it might not be top of the line, fine art that could be promoted in say the Metropolitan museum or any other art museum, but I think that it shouldn't be excluded from the crafting realm. Anyone who is exposed to the culture of crafting that envelops all forms of crafts is bound to see the true value of handmade items, because the evidence is there that crafting has evolved into something more than macaroni pictures. The simple fact is that crafting has grown to develop genres and sub-genres, and everyone has their preference, like music.

  • foxpots

    Carole Fox from foxpots said 5 years ago

    To me, the term "craft" implies skilled handwork. A crafted item can be cute, but much of what is cute is not craft, regardless of whether it is handmade. The cuteness trend has definitely been overdone.

  • bookmarksNbangles

    Emily from bookmarksNbangles said 5 years ago

    I really enjoyed this article, especially for the critical thinking that goes on in it. I have a hard time explaining to my friends, or to anyone, the difference between the stereotype of crafting- grandmas knitting, gluing popsicle sticks, or stringing pony beads -and real crafting, like I see here on Etsy. Handmade carved furniture, original knitted sweaters, hand cast fine silver rings- these things are beautifully made by people with a passion for their craft. We are not all shallow and wasteful and silly like the people on Craft Wars.

  • varieti

    varieti from varieti said 5 years ago

    Anticraft book FTW

  • wirelotus

    Megan Knox from WireLotus said 5 years ago

    I don't think there's anything wrong with things that are cute. In this post and The New Yorker article, though, 'cute' seems to have been conflated with cheap, throwaway, lacking any skill or originality... In that context, I think cuteness does undermine craft and the skilled craftspeople who are trying to make a living through their work. I do think it's great that more and more people, including lots of young people, seem to be interested in arts and craft, and that outlets like Etsy enable small-scale producers to sell their work. Saying that, though, it's really difficult to build a customer base in a market that's full of sellers for whom craft is a hobby (many of whom underprice their work), or who produce a high volume of products with little craftsmanship and sell them cheaply. This also makes it difficult for consumers to appreciate the value of - and pay a fair price for - original, skillfully made pieces of art and craft.

  • DebbiesClayBabies

    debbie garrity from DebbiesClayBabies said 5 years ago

    If it weren't for "cute" I'd be looking for a day job.

  • ByDianaDivine

    Diana Gonzalez from DivineCrochetCouture said 5 years ago

    While I appreciate a lot of what this article says, I'm disappointed by the way the word "cute" is used. Cuteness is not a bad thing. A lack of utility, purpose, and quality is a bad thing, bu that's not what cute means. When "cute" (meaning the design aesthetic) is conflated with cute (the euphemism for cheapness and purposelessness) it's hurtful to all the craftspeople who create high quality, purposeful things.

  • leeannasjewerybox

    Leeanna from LeeannasJewelryBox said 5 years ago

    I always thought of arts & crafts as an expression of ones-self. I think the quality and the care put into each item says a lot about who that person is. If they like cute, let them express that.

  • newchip
  • Dwarfsheartmnms

    Abbie Sparks said 5 years ago

    I definitly agree that shows like "Craft Wars" steriotypes all Crafters. Cute isn't a bad word,as has been said many,many times,but when I make something,cute isn't really what I think about. I want the object I'm working on to reflect my skill and make people want to learn more about it. I want people to love what I do as much as I do. I want to make other peoples' lives better through what I do. I don't want to be a steriotype. I get very annoyed from the looks on some peoples' faces when I tell them that i love to sew,knit and crochet. I have gotten the "Isn't that for old people?" comment A LOT. When I make something I AM expressing myself,and I love it! It's part of who I am. I just want the things that I create to speak to toher people and bring them as much joy as I have when I make it.

  • VillagecraftPlanet

    Huong Hoang from VillagecraftPlanet said 5 years ago

    Glad we dont have much Reality TV in Vietnam. But though never saw "craft wars" it sounds like other reality TV I have seen, that is generally taking away human dignity. I do not like stereotypes either, including people who make crafts. The word "craft" is in the name of my company but in my country this word can mean anything including the "craft villages" that are really factories making cheap things with cheap wages. A different issue maybe than this article, the issues of craft stereotype in developing countries. Some of these industrial products are maybe "cute" but pollution and unsustainable craft industry is not so cute to look at. By the way, I do put birds is some of our the Black Thai and other peoples, birds are very meaningful and symbolic, so they use them and other animals in embroidery.

  • unastigsdottir

    Una Stigsdottir from Unaberries said 5 years ago

    So happy about that.

  • Ebrown2503

    Eleanore from FiberBeads said 5 years ago

    I say, please don't take us too seriously because then we would be part of 'your' world.

  • Sillysockmonkeys

    Sillysockmonkeys from TheGiftMonkey said 5 years ago

    Crafts exist on a spectrum from kawaii, cute, kitsch all the way up to fine art.

  • Veel

    Valentina Garza said 5 years ago

    can i eat that?

  • maiveferrando

    maiveferrando from GLOSSYAPPLEDESIGNS said 5 years ago

    I do cute if you want to call it that. If I didn't, I wouldn't be true to myself. No one obliges me, and I don't oblige anyone to do otherwise. We are free to express ourselves, and if you don't like the look of it, then look the other way, right? There's far worse things happening in the world...and there's no point in being concerned about "cute" things, specially when these things bring some people something to smile about...and like Megan Knox said above a lot of young people seem to be interested in arts and crafts, then what could be better? It's not all about being cute, it's about staying true to yourself.

  • tonyadailey

    Tonya D from LuxeModernDesigns said 5 years ago

    There needs to be something for everybody, it would be boring world without "cuteness".

  • NicoleNicoletta2

    Nicole Nicoletta from MintMarbles said 5 years ago

    i love the cuteness i make! if i can make another person smile with something i's worth it...even if others may not agree :)

  • TwitchyWitchy

    Bonnie Waller from TwitchyWitchy said 5 years ago

    I have always wanted to replace all of my kitchen dishes and cups with handmade items. I feel more alive when I use them during meals.

  • beadeddragons

    Brittany from beadeddragons said 5 years ago

    I feel inspired by things that I think are cute, but at the same time I use it as a generic term (i.e. baby animals, things I find ironic, clothing that appeals to me, items in miniature, things that are so ugly that they have reached full circle to become cute, and so on). I think most people are like that, or at least the ones I know. Also, if things can't be cute then what are we left with? bored, ugly, scary, and blah....

  • crewelwhorled

    Kara Laughlin from crewelwhorled said 5 years ago

    I constantly find myself pointing out that no matter how sustainable the products, it's not a "green" product if it falls apart or if you get sick of it and throw it away in six months. I had no idea that point of view was so old-fashioned and in as august company as Morris's.

  • PetrinaCaseStudio

    Petrina Case from PetrinaCaseStudio said 5 years ago

    Chappell is brilliant. The old saying 'waste not, want not.'

  • CASEboutique

    Patricia Harold from CASEboutique said 5 years ago

    There is a market for cute. It cannot be ignored when there is the huge kawaii movement in North America and we have a generation that has discovered Sanrio and Tokidoki. Japanese artists have known this for years. There are a ton of us on Etsy who delight in the cute and the useful But I also understand that cute doesn't mean cheap. The article brings up the small phrase that making things cute is not a business. In the context of"Craft Wars" (which I haven't seen and am grateful that I haven't) then that is understood. Slapping glitter on something or hot gluing buttons on a frame isn't craft. Creating something from the idea to finished product with your bare hands is. But artisan craft isn't the only "classification". For a many Asians (Japanese,Koreans and Chinese) cute in everyday items is a normal thing. It's a cheerful and lively departure from the mundane. Or stuffy traditional. Does it need to be eye blistering pink. No. Does it serve a purpose and make you smile? It should. "Zakka" which is a little different than kawaii offers the beautiful but cute applied to everyday items. But often the materials are high quality and the details are well done with traditional flair. The cuteness is subtle.But it is there. Can there be a fusion of cute and the traditional artisan craft?Maybe not. But there is a fusion of cute and well made. And if we, as artists did our job right, then it's cute,CLASSIC and well made. Oh, yes, and CASE stands for "Cute Adorable Stuff, Eh?" I'm Asian and Canadian.


    VINTAGE NOW from ESTATENOW said 5 years ago

    I think that The Cutes the better :)

  • carlstinevintage

    Kait from snowbeauty said 5 years ago

    I didn't read the article. I just want that cute cake charm. XD Haha.

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas said 5 years ago

    When people tell me they are not crafty like me, I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not?

  • shannonslatts

    Shannon Slattery from shannonslatts said 5 years ago

    I think she makes a good point, but I definitely think it is apparent when an item has been handcrafted and made quality, while others are just made cute. If the stereotype becomes real, I believe it is easy to prove wrong just by showing the accuser the skill, time, and dedication that goes into handmade goods. The result may be cute, but that sure doesn't mean it's easy!

  • Omrythea

    Christine Cervera from SquirrelNap said 5 years ago

    Hmmm.... I consider myself on a life-long handcrafted quest to make the cutest items possible. I enjoy cute items like I myself make as well as many other kinds of items that others make. In this wide world, there is room for us all. :)

  • teeds

    Theresa Warren from WoollyFishWorx said 5 years ago

    Children and animals are cute so that there parents wont abandon them!! How anyone with any idea , could discount the importance and attraction of cuteness in art or craft (as in life) is beyond me! I LOVE cute!!!!!!!!!

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