"My prom is coming up and my bf [boyfriend] is in dire need of a skull pin. Crocheting is my thing so please help!"
"Starting my first Stitch and Bitch. Any suggestions?"
"I made sure to take pictures of us knitting and looking like not freaks."
"P.R.I.C.K. (The Punk Rock Institute of the Crafting Kind) is seeking men and women to participate in a monthly art exchange.... Guidelines: . . . Must be made of nonperishable materials (i.e., no food, fresh flowers, menstrual blood, poop)."
"Ugh! Must craft! Have you ever felt the NEED to make something but can't find the time? ... My boyfriend has gotten into making strange little voodoo-esque dolls, maybe I'll make some of those."
"Someone gave me a bunch of test tubes a while ago but I have no idea what to do with them . . . any ideas? Thanks."
"You could have a science party and do shots out of them."
"Put messages in them and send them out to sea. Or put messages in them and hand them out to sad looking strangers."
"[Use] magnets to stick them to the wall for flower vases."
"Test tube mezuzas!"
"Make babies! . . . ha . . . ha."
Elsewhere on Getcrafty.com, a U.K. crafter posted an article on how to make felt out of pet fur. On Supernaturale.com, a girl described how to make a blenderized solution of moss and beer that could be used to paint "moss graffiti." On Craftster.org, another girl shared a photo of a motor-driven yarn winder her boyfriend built for her, entirely out of Legos. Still elsewhere, someone posted a detailed pattern that could be used to knit a (somewhat) anatomically correct human womb: "I've taken a few liberties with the general shape and scale, as well as leaving out the ligaments. . . . And, of course, the human uterus is not normally bubble gum pink." A set of Duran Duran \o7ofrenda \f7altar candles. A battalion of toy army men holding up the glass top of a coffee table. A pillow shaped like a rice cooker. . . .
In the new cottage industry, the world wide web is the cottage. One of the few ways people in the cybercraft movement ever get to know each other in real life is at fairs. By chance, Vickey Jang of Bird In a Skirt and Tracy Bull of Happy Owl Glassworks landed in booths next to each other at last year's Bazaar Bizarre in L.A. Tracy was quiet and serious, and sort of weird, which I was learning could pretty much describe any crafter. For example, she had a thing about teeth. She saved her extracted wisdom molars and her husband's in a small box on a table next to the sofa. At one point, she went to a craft meeting to learn how to encase things in resin. Other people had brought glitter, but Tracy brought human teeth.
Her studio was actually the laundry room of her Silver Lake apartment, with a suitcase-sized kiln squeezed in. Tracy is known for her glass badges and night lights. The badges are squares the size of Scrabble tiles, featuring some sort of animal: a bat, squirrel, doe, snake, porcupine, naked mole rat, sea horse, a slender loris or even a puffer fish.
The images start as glass dust that is wiggled and poked into place with a toothpick or pin, particle by particle, until it resembles a bat or squirrel. "I like carnivorous, weird animals," Tracy was saying, which explained the glass platter in her bedroom depicting a turkey vulture lapping up a piece of road kill surrounded by flies. "Right now the public likes penguins. Sea horses and penguins." Nobody has yet bought the musk ox. "The musk ox," she said, "gets no love."
As she worked, I asked what was inside a small metal Chinese box on her windowsill. "Oh," she said, "I keep my dead bugs in there." She had a dry sense of humor, so I laughed. But then she uncapped the box and there was a dead moth. "I'd been saving this locust for so long," she said, frowning at a dome paperweight with an insect inside. "When I finally encased it, the resin cracked."
On her bedroom wall were prints made by another online crafter, a girl who goes by the name "I'm Smitten." As much as possible, crafters like to buy from each other as a show of support. "I can't believe how many people are on the forums, on Craftster, on Getcrafty, posting everywhere. I feel left out if I'm not in on it, but then I've never met these people anyway, so why should I feel left out? I try not to let it get to me," she said. "Most of the time I'm picturing something completely different from how they are in person. Most of the time, I'm wrong. To have a life and to have a life online is really hard."
She went on to say that she didn't like it much here in Los Angeles, though she'd only moved here two years ago, when she was 26. Like a lot of crafters, she had it bad for nature, to the point that she could see herself escaping into it. "Having a house with a studio in the back, away from the house, would be ideal," Tracy said. "Something deep in the woods or the forest. With lots of wilderness around, where I could work on my stuff at my leisure. I'll probably be moving soon. I don't know."