By Claire O'Neill
Carol Sauvion, the mastermind behind the PBS series Craft In America, says that the crafting climate in America is "stronger now than it ever was." This may seem surprising, considering the increasing number of us glued to iPhones and BlackBerrys. But this past weekend, even in a city addicted to mobile technology, D.C.'s annual "Crafty Bastards" arts and craft fair was brimming with people of all ages -- possibly more packed than ever. Perhaps it's because more and more of us, after hours in front of the computer, are suddenly recognizing the need to unplug.
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The second season of Craft In America, which airs on PBS this Wednesday, illustrates Sauvion's point. The traditional spirit of crafting in America is alive and well -- and infectious. Sauvion described the satisfaction that comes with creating something from start to finish, like turning a block of wood into a working violin. The greatest thing about it, she said over the phone, is that "you can lose yourself in something. And time has no meaning. ... and in your in your own world, just working." The photos in this gallery are just a few examples of creations from this season.
Another great thing about crafting is that anyone can do it. You don't have to be a great "artist" to build a pot from clay, or sew a quilt, or hammer wrought iron. You just need a desire to work with your hands. Cliff Lee, for example, an artist featured on the program's Web site, was a brain surgeon before he discovered his love for pottery. After a sabbatical of art classes he returned to the hospital and said, "Every time I take care of patients, I look at their skulls, I think about pots -- how to make a pot like it." He's now on his second sabbatical and doesn't plan to go back.
"That's my hope," said Sauvion. "That people will see this as an alternative to other careers, that they will want to express themselves in this way, and they will be making a contribution to our national culture." Even I was inspired to find a community art center where I can now spend my Tuesday nights in a darkroom. Perhaps you'll be inspired to do the same. Here's a preview of this week's premiere, but you can watch episodes from last season online, and see more people like Lee on the Craft In America Web site. Or you can just turn off your computer.
categories: Daily Picture Show