In this day and age, many of us are searching for community–a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity, a desire to share our passions with others. As a sense of community becomes ever more elusive, we look for ways to build our own. A community of makers–those who find joy in creating with their hands, minds, and hearts–gives us a chance to share and celebrate our ideas and passions. Today, there are clusters of creativity – locations around the country that have developed their own unique “maker communities,” where people who love to make, love to learn to make, and love to support makers have found a common sense of purpose. Each of these geographic “clusters” has its own unique characteristics, and those characteristics influence the artists who live and work there.
Thus we have “making communities” – areas around the country where makers with a common ethos work and, in turn, are inspired by each other – and we are “making communities,” even where physical proximity isn’t possible, by sharing our stories and journeys and images with each other.
This, I thought, was the basis for a book – or maybe, a series of books – for those of us who love to make, to learn, and to celebrate others’ talents. Each book is a place-based celebration of these communities of makers, focused primarily on the fiber and fabric industry, as well as highlighting artists in other media who share the same philosophy as fiber and fabric artists of functional beauty. Each issue of By Hand will also include photo essays, day trips, foodie excursions, and other write-ups of aspects unique to the featured city or region. And, each issue of By Hand will always include patterns, projects, classes, and opportunities to purchase the featured makers’ art.