Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

A Dude's Perspective: Men Who Craft

by artish

May 30, 2008

artish, a female crafter, took some time to chat with men who craft on Etsy. She wanted to hear their thoughts on the marketplace, crafting and gender. Here's the latest from the Dude's Perspective...

I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m one of those people who likes to read your Etsy profile. And I always feel disappointed if there is a yawning blank space at the end where it should say ‘Male/Female, born on…’ And of course while I do applaud all the women who are designing, creating and selling on Etsy, there is some part of me that shouts ‘hoorah!’ when there’s a man behind the store.

Yes, I know it’s 2008 and we are all far too well-educated (aren’t we?) to think that Women’s Work and Men’s Work and the difference between them still exists. But the fact is, some stereotypes still prevail. So here I am celebrating the men of Etsy. They bravely knit, sew, forge, appliqué, cut, sculpt, draw, paint… the list is endless. But the main thing is that they are out there, designing and creating.

Here are some of my favorites:

Beach Burner Portable Bonfire, a 24 inch Recycled Steel Fire Pit, is a stunning piece of functional art. It was drawn and cut by hand, by artist John T Unger aka johntunger. At first glance, you could say that John’s art is a ‘masculine’ one. It’s all about steel, fire, and sharp edges. However, John says, “…I've also done very delicate, subtle work that wouldn't have any obvious gender bias or reference. One of the projects I'd really like to do at some point is glass mosaics of Georgia O'Keefe's flower paintings (because the shading of the glass would equal her subtlety with a brush)…”

John jokingly talks about Etsy as the ultimate dating site — what better place for creative, talented people to find each other? Sorry ladies, he’s taken.

Matte aka matteart has been painting for a living for 13 years. His paintings and prints are original and modern. He has a wonderful illustrative style, and I adore his bear monsters.

He acknowledges there are a lot of both women and men who work in similar mediums — so his focus is on promoting himself and running his shop well.

I love this Time Travel clock! Eric aka IMOTIME proves that you can make a clock out of absolutely anything. I find his clocks really interesting and imaginative. According to Eric, the fact that the majority of people who visit his shop are women does affect what he makes and how he writes his descriptions.

He finds it humorous that some people make assumptions and refer to his store by saying “she makes clocks from..."

Craig aka cubistliterature does a lot of knitting and sewing — and not surprisingly, he has noticed that people have certain ideas about his choice of medium. He says “...certain crafts (e.g. knitting, sewing — even making yarn) are regarded as being either male or female... what I DO care about is the fact that we still think like this, that we still buy into the whole gender roles mindset.”
I find his shirts particularly interesting because of the way he uses language and plays with words. And who can resist red fingerless gloves? Not I.

Craig says “what I'd really like to say is that I want there to be MORE males out there doing those things considered ‘female’. (And the same goes for the women, too! Get out there and do something ‘masculine’!) I don't want to be one of a few guys on Etsy — and I especially don't want to be one of a few guys of THOSE few guys who knows how to knit and sew and spin yarn. It's time to get past these old-school notions of gender roles. Let's move forward! It'd make things so much more interesting.”

For some strange reason there are still stereotypes. Here’s to breaking them down! The desire to create something — isn’t that what it all comes down to? So come on all you Real Men out there... show us what you’re made of!

Further Resources: (men who craft, BLOG) (seven men who craft)