Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Homemade Home

I meant to write this post yesterday but had one of the strangest days I've had in a very long time, filled with all kinds of distractions and consequently managed to get very little work done! Luckily today was a bit more normal :)

Anyway... You might have noticed that there is a bit of a media buzz happening around crafting these days. It started with the sudden popularity of knitting, and then the increasing visibility of the UK craft scene and the arrival of the "credit crunch" has kicked it into overdrive. The papers are full of articles about the joys of cheap do-it-yourself hobbies, ideas for homemade gifts, pieces on how your crafty hobby can become a vital second income, and columnists like India Knight singing the praises of sites like Etsy.

Very much in tune with all this "craft-chic", is Channel 4's new show Kirstie's Homemade Home. It follows presenter Kirstie Allsopp (previously better known for helping people buy houses on telly during the property boom) as she renovates a holiday cottage, focusing on a different type of room each week.

The program is trying to sell that whole "make your house a home" thing, advertising handmade things as a way of adding character and a truly personal touch, which is aesthetically very refreshing after so many years of being sold clean, white, modern, chic and also a welcome change after a decade of "quick fix" DIY shows packed with MDF and stapleguns.

Each episode is a mix of visits to inspirational spaces, meetings with creative types like Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett, a bit of junkshop / reclamation yard / antique shop rummaging plus - oh so importantly - segments where Kirstie visits craftspeople (potters, glassblowers, knitters, etc) who teach her how to make an item for her home.

These bits are completely amazing. Craftspeople! On the telly! Making things! You get to see how much work and real skill goes into making handmade things, and their value and specialness is prized. This isn't a show that says "and you can make one at home for 50p!" but recommends serious workshops and craft courses and suggests commissioning pieces from craftspeople in your area.

I've heard the word "smug" used about this show and it kind of is - in a middle-class "I've got the time and money to make floral arrangements for my giant kitchen table while my children scamper about in Boden and snacking on organic focaccia bread" sort of a way - but I for one am delighted to see this sort of thing on the telly!

17 comments:

nifty thrifty said...

hear hear I agree - I love the programme as it's bringing the concept of cool, well-made, creative, hand-made goods to the wider public. I love that she completely adored the bonkers draught thingy made up of knitted beach huts, fish and lego.

The Rainbow Room said...

It sounds fab! I hope i can get it on s4c!!!

lacer said...

I love it to, I thought it was lovely that she was so choked up about the fire poker she made, going to show that yes, making something you're proud of can actually be really emotional.

Yes, I would like her budget, obviously years of her encouraging us to buy bigger and better houses has done her well but there's nothing really that she's done in her holiday home that can't be done on a smaller scale.

miss aine said...

Everytime I watch that show I just want to make stuff for the house and trawl through markets looking for cool antique deals.
Fab show for sure!

sweetmyrtle said...

i agree wiht you... i too am delighted that british craftpeople are having a wee spotlight on prime time tv... it will be interesting to see whether this is the start of more craft on tv.. i do hope so.

...it has also made me want to try some glass blowing.

beadsyjools said...

I really like it, it's a respectful look at crafting rather than a do-it-on-the-cheap type of show.

I've always liked Kirsty Alsop, you can tell that she actually did work in property before Location rather than being chosen for other attributes.

lacer said...

Did you know you can actually rent the cottage now? The details are here http://www.helpfulholidays.com/property.asp?ref=K22&year=2009#K22_HO PIC_1_Living Room , from the photos it looks exactly like the TV programme, so it's not like she's glammed it up for the TV show and then taken all the nice pieces home with her.

Now if only I had a spare £2000.

blackberrycrafts said...

Agreed! Couldn't have put it better myself. Really inspirational, and it is so great to see craftspeople being advocated with such warmth, and respect for their skills. I too particularly like that it isn't about doing things for cheap, the show emphasises the work that goes into handmade things.

Rhiannon said...

Definately agree - I got v. excited watching the first episode, as it was so nice to see someone who was A) going "Look! People make stuff that's nicer than things you get elsewhere" and B) telling us to do crafty things

Hurrah for thinking-man's crumpet (as the lovely refers to her!)

xx

jane said...

Kirstys homemade home is the best programme on the telly. i want to be her!!

crafting is definately becoming a phenomenon recently and i'm just proud that i've been at it for years. we're trend setters!!

in light of kirstys homemade home, my boyfriend has arranged for me to do a stained glass course and then the next day i'm doing a glass blowing course in Bath city centre. i'm so excited!!

The Dotty One said...

I totally agree with you - I love this programme. What other prgramme lets you have a look at Cath Kidston's kitchen and learn about salvaging things from skips? I don't always have the same taste as Kirsty but I love the way this programme gets you thinking about the things you could do for yourself in your own home. The Channel 4 website has loads of extra bit and tutorials too. And my favourite quote: BE a slob with colour :o)

Knit Sew City Girl said...

Hiya! I really want to watch that programme, but I keep missing it. I must catch up on the internet or find out whether there are repeats.

I do like Kirsty despite what people have been saying about her. She's lovely.

Mary

Zetta Brown said...

I think Kirsty's great. She reminds me of one of my friends in America. Considering I've only lived in the UK for less than 4yrs, I'm enjoying learning about the craftspeople.

Flora said...

I haven't watched it yet....but I was asked to be on it as the stained glass person...only to be cast aside in favour of somebody else in a more convenient location! [sulks]

You have inspired me to start my accounts, erm, soon...probably...

domestikated said...

I have been really wanting to watch this (although the husband isn't too keen, hence the delay!) - and your post has just made me want to see it even more! I love Kirsty and her heels and full skirts and posh voice!

louise35flower said...

We love Kirsty in our house and my 15 year old knitting daughter has adopted her knitting method "poke it,strangle it,poke it again and rip its head off!"

winnibriggs said...

What a fabulous, interesting and informative post! You have so summed up the recent trends in 'crafting'. The TV company should thank you for such a great piece of PR. Watched all the first series, but wasn't able to see the first one of this, but will definitely look for it on catchup now.

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