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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A War Where Nobody's a Winner (editorial)

Hi Bloggers!
Some of the nicest benefits about being a crafter are the relationships we build with one another.  I have always been impressed by how helpful and supportive my crafter friends are.  Even people I have never met.  I have watched how-to videos on You Tube, and other sites such as Split Coast Stampers, and crafters are always ready and willing to share a technique and a trick or two.  We are nice to each other!

So you can imagine my shock to turn on the TV and see a side of crafting I never saw before!  I'm talking about a new show on TLC called "Craft Wars". I couldn't wait to see a new show that featured crafters, being one myself.  As I watched, I could see that the contestants were positive and hard working crafters, but the judges and the host,  (people calling themselves crafters) fought, criticized and sniped at each other.  Maybe it was the editing--the show was taped over a five hour period, but it just didn't hit the mark for me.

Don't get me wrong-I love a television show with a craft theme.  But this new show falls short.  It's debut was last Tuesday, and it featured three crafters, one a teacher, one a stay-at-home mom, and one a professional mixed-media artist.  Great right?  This sounds good so far...but as soon as the first challenge ended, I knew this show was not for me.

The three contestants were asked to craft a sports bag out of all sorts of sporting equipment.  The results varied but all were very clever.  A couple of the contestants did not get quite finished.  And were they publicly humiliated for this sin!  Then, instead of declaring a winner, only the person who lost was singled out.  A mean-spirited comment from Tori Spelling, and that contestant was gone!  I heard one judge say "Rah Rah Rah, sis boom BLAH!  If that was my project it would have really hurt my feelings.

For the final challenge, the two remaining candidates were asked to fashion a play house out of materials that were brought in.  The materials were school supplies, --items such as composition books, paper, pencils and the like.  Each candidate was given a 4-member team to support them and five hours to complete the task.

The "judges" consisting of Jo Pearson, (creative expert for Michael's),  and her fellow judges Erica Domesek (author of the DIY book "P.S. -- I Made This") and Stephen Brown (author and founder of the gift and holiday decor company Glitterville Studios) evaluated the playhouses  while criticizing the contestants and each other with corny and insulting digs. 

The playhouse made by the art teacher was very cute on the outside, but lacked things to do  inside.  Her husband put the house together, and her contribution seemed only to be gluing pencils on the window boxes.  It was neat and tidy and pretty but kind of boring.

The other entry was a school bus, made with about every single type of medium imaginable.  Outside it was bright and cheery, with a whimsical border on top!  Inside it was all fun from a corkboard apple bulletin board, to crayons, paints and all kinds of activities to make this play house full of fun.  This was the obvious winner.  So guess who won?   Yep.  The schoolhouse.

One contestant at the end of the show was heard saying, "It's kind of humbling hearing you're NOT GOOD ENOUGH."  The contestant of whom I am speaking is none other that Christy Tomlinson, one of the nicest and most talented mixed-media artists around.  She is known for her collage techniques, her online workshops such as the She Art Workshop and the Three Heart Workshop,  her Unity stamp line, and her positive and warm demeanor.  
In fact, she just finished hosting a 6-week workshop called "Your Living Canvas" in which students are taught not only how to value their art, but to value themselves as people!  

I have seen a video on the Brave Girls website (women's art community) where Christy and artist Melody Ross, while in Chicago one Thanksgiving, gave out written affirmations to people on the "EL" Train.  It was very sweet and very moving...and very positive.

This Craft Show was the exact opposite.  It was probably one of the worst displays of artists interacting with each other that I have ever seen!  And what made it even worse, was that the bad behavior was coming from the judges and host! What makes good reality television Housewife style does not translate to crafting!

If you want to have a positive arts and crafts experience, get involved in a workshop such as Brave Girls Camp,(  Your Living Canvas, ( or Milliande Art Community for Women. ( and keep the TV turned OFF!

And here's a testament to how positive Christy Tomlinson is, read her blog post after the show aired HERE!  I don't know if I would have been so gracious!  But she is an artist!

So until we meet again, 
HAPPY crafting,


ljrhew said...

I guess I show my age when I refuse to watch "reality" TV. I haven't quite figured out why there is such a fasination with making someone feel like crap in a public setting. And yet we wonder where the younger generation pick up there habits and think that it is ok to act this way. Go figure.

pattyo said...

I tried to watch this show but fell asleep during it both times it has been on. I can see I didn't miss anything worthwhile. What a shame! I guess the powers that be figure it's entertaining to belittle people.

Crabtree-Creations said...

I think the networks see shows like the Real Housewives and others being successful by having friends yell and scream and belittle each other, so they tried to use that same format for a craft competition. I don't talk to my worst enemy like that, and it's a shame we as viewers support such nonsense.

Crabtree-Creations said...

If you fall asleep while reading my blog, let me know so I can change the content! LOL!

violette said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I found the show quite offensive. I think it was created more for entertainment than for artistic/teaching showcasing. It's truly a sad commentary on what the public wants - reality shows where there is a winner and a loser and the judges publicly humiliate the contestants. I can't wait to see the day when REAL craft shows are once again on TV.

Thank you for a great recap and commentary on the show!

Love, Violette