Let’s talk about Kickstarter. Pledge a donation to the project of your choice, whether it be an indie dyer’s studio start-up or the publishing of a book, and get sweet rewards in return. It’s easier and more fun to participate as a donor when you get a taste of what your money is helping to support–fuzzy feelings only go so far! But there is a lot more to be garnered than just goodies. Crowdfunding is currently one of the best tools we can embrace as members of the fiber arts community.
The rise of indie, DIY ethos in our industry has changed everything. We can pick out individual game changers, like Ysolda Teague who really championed the business model of the self-published designer, or Knitty and Ravelry who gave those designers easily accessible venues to showcase their work in. (But that’s not the point, as wonderful as those three are!) We as a community embraced the tide of change and not only went with it, but encouraged it. We flocked to Knitty and Ravelry. We support indie designers without their own yarn lines, who aren’t attached to distributors or publishing houses. In short, our little crafty environment is what it is now because of all of us. Burning Man has a principle of radical inclusion, where everyone is welcome. I see this principle in action on Twitter, in the booth of an up-and-coming dyer at TNNA, in the varied types of customers that come into Webs.
Obviously we’re all creative people. We’re crafters! Which is why I think we have (and should continue) to feel comfortable dictating the trends and terms of the industry. Crowdfunding allows us to all participate in the future of our community in a more direct way that buying an individual pattern or one skein of indie yarn, by supporting the projects we NEED to see come to life. I dearly love and enjoy the products that large yarn companies and well-known publishers put out, so this is not a diss to them. I simply believe that the more resources and ideas we have available as crafters, the better! If we limit our access, aren’t we limiting our creativity?
So next time you see a great idea on Kickstarter, think of what our knitting world will be like with that idea–and what it would be like without it. Participate in some radical inclusion by donating for the ideas you truly believe in. I supported Doomsday Knits when it was first proposed, and I’ve recently contributed to Midwestern Knits (which is still funding!) Make a difference AND get some pretty yarn or something. Wins all around!