The handmade movement now permeates nearly every aspect of marketplace. From the renaissance in craft beer brewing to the rise of Pinterest, people now prize the personal story behind the object they’re about to buy or make as much as they prize the thing itself. What does it mean to take a homemade mug or blanket and mass produce it at scale for people all around the world? As part of the Two5Six Festival in Brooklyn, a day of dialogues bringing games into conversation with other aspects of culture, Randy Hunt and Katherine Bidwell will discuss “craft” and what that idea means in a world where “maker” is a viable job description.
Hunt is the creative director at Etsy, where he oversees the development of the site’s web and mobile platforms. “If handmade were a religion, Etsy would be a Texas mega-church,” said Wired writer Liz Stinson last year. But for Hunt, the key is intimacy. As part of a Q&A with AIGA, Hunt explained what drives him: “From a business standpoint, the most exciting realization is that we enable people to connect their creative impulse with an audience and to economically benefit from their creative abilities.”
Earlier this month, Etsy filed for its IPO, and is currently in the process of raising $100 million for its first round of funding. Launched in 2005, the company faces more challenges than ever in keeping the focus on individual people as it tries to, in the words of its CEO, Chad Dickerson, “change the face of manufacturing and make it more local and sustainable.”
Bidwell, on the other hand, is a co-founder of the small, interactive media company State of Play. Its most recent project, an experimental game called Lumino City, won the award for artistic achievement at this year’s BAFTA. That’s because Lumino City was created using real-life architectural models that the game’s characters and action could later be added to. Writing for Kill Screen last December, David Wolinsky explained how working from a world built by real people from real materials gave the game a special theatricality, “You have to make sure things like your shot compositions and framing are solid when you’re using real cameras on real scenery and sets.”
On May 16th, both Hunt and Bidwell will talk to Two5Six Festival goers about how crafting has informed their own background as designers as well as how the concept as evolved in recent years. The entire Two5Six Festival runs from May 15th through May 17th. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.