DIY Craft Movement

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Massimo Menichinelli:

"There are many people designing and creating handmade product, clothes, bags and accessories, most of them consider it as an hobby, but an increasing number of people are trying to make a living on it, whether alone as an hobby (DIY) or in small groups trying to start small enterprises (microproductions). It’s not a new trend actually: the DIY culture dates back to the ‘60s and ‘70s, and craft has always existed though it was almost replaced by factories and large-scale manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution (at least in the most developed countries).

While at first sight the DIY craft world seems not to be related too much with the Open Culture, at least traditionally, it is now increasingly learning and adopting tools and processes from it, including new technologies into fashion like hardware as well (like the open hardware Lilypad Arduino, for example). As Tim O’Reilly reported in 2008, the Open Source movement underscores how communities can share expertise and build on that knowledge, and the DIY world is adopting this attitude right now. According to him the Maker movement is not just DIY, but the way in which computing is re-engaging with the physical world instead of the virtual, and this is tomorrow’s big business. Open Hardware, DIY craft, fashion microproductions, Open Design are gathering with increasing success into an informal and greater Maker movement, consisting of all the people that learn from doing and share the knowledge about it together in communities. An increasing number of documentaries, books, magazines, tutorials, conferences about managing DIY Crafts projects and businesses has been made available since few years. Maybe one reason of the success of this movement is the recession, that has moved the line between what’s produced at home and what’s purchased in markets. Anyway, selling a consulting or support service or content is the first business model for DIY Craft." (


The role of Sewing Cafes in placemaking and community building

Massimo Menichinelli:

"Just like Fab Labs and Hackerspaces for the Open Hardware (and Design) movement, the DIY and Microproduction Craft movement has its own places for making, experimenting, prototyping, learning and community building: Sewing Cafes. At least since 2006 in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Boston (like Quilter’s Way in West Concord), rent-by-the-hour sewing machine cafes have opened, and now they can be found in many countries across Europe as well. There is the Sweat Shop in Paris, where users can purchase access to a Singer sewing machine (€ 6.00 per hour), the Linkle in Berlin (€ 5.00 per hour). In the UK some examples are Homemade London (£ 10.00 per hour), Make It Glasgow (£ 5.00 for one hour, £ 7.50 for two or £ 10.00 for three) and the Needlebugs sewing café in Manchester, based in a not-for-profit community arts space called Nexus Art Cafe. There is even a Sewing Cafe in Melbourne, Australia (the Thread Den) and a Sewing Café Locator, though still under construction. Even Etsy has a community workspace that provides equipment and donated materials where Labs members gather to make items, take and teach workshops, and attend special events. It is a permanent office called the Etsy Labs in New York. The site’s customer support, marketing/PR, business and communications teams operate out here." (

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