Sunday, March 31, 2013

Where Are The Male Craftsmen?

The other day I received a very nice note on Etsy from the ESR Team captain (the Etsy Senior's Rock Team) that told me that an item of mine that was included in a treasury she created. (For those that don't know, a treasury is a grouping under some theme that highlights others work.) I thanked her and noted that there were so few men on Etsy. The team captain replied: "I've been wanting to do something about that for quite some time. I will continue to seek ways to promote the men's shops, and their unique products and handy work. Should you happen to know any senior gentlemen who are crafters and have shared interest in selling online, please help direct them toward Etsy and the Etsy Seniors Rock Team."
Men of Etsy Logo
Suddenly, her reply made me aware of the fact that there were far fewer men on Etsy than they should have been. When I looked The Men of Etsy team up I discovered there were 904 members. I was surprised. It seems that they were not as active as the women, team or not. On further investigation though, I discovered that less than 4% of the sellers on Etsy were men, of any age, let alone seniors.

I was stunned. I grew up with a father who was always making something in his shop. He wanted me to work with him and for whatever reason I resisted. I did learn though how to use his tools and he made me many wonderful things, mostly for my bedroom. Tables, shelfs and such. He created a playroom complete with bar in our basement that all my friends and I would use on the rainy, wintry days of Portland. My grandfather was even busier. He, with my dad's help built a house on the property next door in Roseburg, OR and he had quite a wood shop I was allowed to use. His specialty was making things out of Myrtle Wood, a wood that only grows in Oregon and Lebanon. My mom and her siblings were each given beautiful desks and chairs of that wood. He made us a snooker table that went in the basement playroom where many an hour was spent playing with friends when it rained outdoors!

I really didn't realize how much I had learned until after my father passed away between my junior and senior years of high school. As a senior I had to design and make pieces of furniture for my architecture class and was one of only a few that knew what to do. It was both a proud and sad moment.

Even my father-in-law had a shop and was always tinkering with something. I used his shop more than a few times and he helped me set up my own when we got a house. So, when I started my craft painting and such, I just assumed that everyone did these things. All the men in my life did!

I can't even begin to describe the shock of attending my first Las Vegas Painting Convention and finding that in 11 classes, I was the only man in about 6 of them. It wasn't any better the second or the third times either. There were men teachers and assistants (usually husbands for the women teachers) but well over 99% of the attendees were women.

I can't begin to express the joy my crafting brings to me. Its something I wanted to do my whole life and now I have the opportunity to do it. When I was ill last month and couldn't teach my first classes the sorrow left a deep hole in my heart. I viewed that as a opportunity to grow and expand my talents and skills. Hopefully I will be given another chance.

So, where are you men? I know you are out there. Come on board...somewhere. Let more than just your spouse and your family see your work. It isn't always easy but the waters fine and there are many out there that are willing to help! And for those lady readers forward this to the crafter men in your life. There are more than 4% of all crafters.

Happy Easter to all!

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