Written by Pixie Stardust
Etsy is an online marketplace of handmade and vintage craft, clothing, furniture and accessories and can be considered the biggest flea market in the world. All new products on the site must be handmade, resulting in an amazing blend of the beautiful, the original, the creative and the weird. Started in 2005 by Rob Kalin, who makes his own furniture and underwear, Etsy has now grown to have over 7 million registered members in 150 countries. Selling over 8 million items from more than 400,000 vendors, and offering a range of search and shop options, it is nearly impossible to find nothing that piques you.
The success of Etsy is symptomatic of a wider cultural revolution in regards to DIY, crafting, vintage, local and handmade. This is evident in the popularity of farmers markets, vintage fairs, zines, cooking and magazines such as Frankie and Peppermint. Many young people have become disillusioned with the mass market, brand name consumerism that dominates society. They want to reflect their values in the choices they make about what they buy, wear, eat and do. The GFC has encouraged people to be more creative with their shopping and become makers, rather than just consumers.
Yarnbombing has also become popular. This form of knitted street art aims to reclaim the streets by adding beauty and whimsy through knitted decorations. Even the RiAus, Adelaide’s science institute has joined the movement with their recent Adelaide reef, part of the worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project. This stunning installation featured a room filled with coral, entirely crocheted from wool, cassette tape reels and plastic bags.
The popularity of crafting and homemade is evident in Adelaide as well. Venues such as Format and The Reading room highlight and support local DIY creativity in arts, craft, and media. At a recent Format exhibition, Adelaide hacker group, hackerspace showed off the amazing flashing lantern they had created out of circuit boards and LED’s. Groups like hackerspace, the Adelaide Brown Owls and Radical Craft Adelaide bring creative people together to share their skills and ideas, learn techniques and plan big projects. Lonely crafters in Adelaide, be lonely no more.