Alternative Crafts and Craft Communities - Creating, Sharing, Buying and Selling

Modern Craft is Edgy, Hip, Often Ironic - and All About Self-Expression

Many of us have a need to create. Our grandmothers quilted, knitted, crocheted. Our moms tried decorative painting, stenciling, decoupage. And who hasn't made a popsicle stick box or a macramé friendship bracelet at Girl Scouts or summer camp?

"Arts and crafts" was the genteel label given to all these efforts. But today, crafting has taken on an edgier attitude. "DIY" is the battle cry of those who prefer the uniqueness and personality of handmade items. Modern craft is repurposing, reinventing, remaking and recycling items into brand new art.

See what alt craft is all about at these websites:

Portrait of female potters
[Yagi Studio]/[Digital Vision]/[Getty Images]
"No tea cozies without irony" is the tag line of this hip, off-beat, crafty DIY site. Members show off their current craft projects, ask advice on future projects and get inspiration for new endeavors. Craftster encourages members to post pictures of the steps involved in making a project as well as the final results. Projects that involve recycling, reusing and repurposing existing objects are emphasized. Craftster was started in August 2003 by Leah Kramer - a computer programmer, craft junkie and and indie alt crafts store owner. More »
Getcrafty is "home of the craftistas, " a huge yet well-organized site with forums, crafting advice, photos of projects, blogs, and discussions about domestic bliss, feminism, food and drink, books, you name it. Getcrafty's founder, Jean Railla, sees it as part of the new domesticity, " combining careers and cooking and crafts and family, fashion and home decorating and, of course, politics, books and philosophy. It's about not having to choose between being a feminist or a domestic goddess or an intellectual or an artist. It's about using powertools. Messing things up. Not playing by the rules. Making home ec hip." More »

SuperNaturale is the most sophisticated and streamlined of the alt craft sites, and that's to be expected - it's produced by Flat, a New York City-based design firm. Dedicated to DIY culture in all its forms, SuperNaturale cover simple home improvement to radical lifestyle choices, and celebrates ingenuity, creativity, and the handmade. Their forum is called Glitter, and it's an active one with thousands of topics under the broad headings of Works in Progress, Food Craft, Showing Off and The Business Side. SuperNaturale also incorporates an online magazine covering frugality and living, home and hearth, wearables, and more. More »

Calling itself "The World's Biggest Show and Tell," Instructables only begins with Art and Craft as their two first categories. From there, they branch out into Food, Games, Green, Home, Kids, Life, Offbeat, Pets, Photography, Ride, and Tech. You can browse what they have, filtering by keyword or by category. Their content ranges from traditional (using onion skins for dyeing) to repurposing tech junk (making a wind generator from an old scanner). All user-generated content, this is for the mad scientist crafter/creator in all of us. More »

From the uber alt and hip craft publication Craft comes a website that has how-tos, podcasts, projects, a forum and community. Many of their craft projects and submissions appear to be inspired by Japanese anime and trends, such as amigurumi (Japanese-inspired knitted or crocheted small stuffed toys and animals); and of these, many are tongue-in-cheek or cute with a distinct attitude (like the Moldly Cupcake Crochet Pattern, a mournful toy figure with blue eyes). There's lots to explore here, and if you like the unique and offbeat, here's where you'll find it. More »

What eBay is to auctions, Etsy is to handmade art and craft. And you know it's the place to be when - at craft fairs, bead shows, ceramic guild meetings, you name it - people will tell you, "I'm on Etsy." You can shop within 30 different categories of offerings, including children's and wedding items. You can look for items by color or by locale and focus on Etsy sellers in your own geographic area. If you like an artist, you can heart her/him and find other buyers who share your likes and preferences. Artist/crafters who sell on Etsy say the process is fairly easy and geared more toward individual artist sales than eBay. Buyers can choose from over 70,000 artists selling over a million handmade items, many unique and one of a kind. More »
Shana Logic feels more like a traditional online store than other sites mentioned here, but the emphasis is decidedly specific - independent artists and designers who are showcased in a online shop that appeals to younger buyers. Like many of the modern craft sites, the Japanese influence is strongly felt here, with bright colors and bold graphics on many of the items. The site is owned and organized by one busy woman - Shana Victor - who takes a very personal approach to service, calling it "customer care." More »
Craft Mafia is an organization geared to building community and collaboration between artists in their respective communities across the country and around the globe. Over 40 local Craft Mafia affiliates create opportunities for artists/designers/crafters to promote and sell their items. At Craft Mafia's shopping site, you can find a list of participating artists and shop from their own sites. More »