Do you know what I find truly offensive? The lack of diversity in the crafting world. Sure, you’ll find a handful of Crafters of Color (CoC) and male crafters, but the space is largely dominated by white women.
It’s easy to get involved in a hobby when everyone already looks like you – you automatically feel like you fit in and are welcome. But what if you don’t fit that mold?
Men face barriers getting involved in crafting communities – one of the largest being stigma. Men interested in crafts are often looked down on by other men, have their sexuality assumed (and/or mocked), and are subtly excluded (countless posts in crafting groups start with a variant on “Hey ladies!”).
My friend Samantha writes a series highlighting men in crafting (Dudes Craft, Too) and it is wonderful to see that representation being acknowledged.
What about CoC? When almost all the stamps featuring people have stick-straight, white-people hair and all the other crafters color their images to have white skin, how confident can you be in your welcome?
In short, people of color do not see many others who look like them in the community, either in person or on paper.
The good news is that this is something we, as people with certain privileges, can help overcome.
It feels like such a small thing, but we need to color our stamped people in a variety of skin tones. Not just because other, non-white skin tones are beautiful, but because we want CoC to know that there is acceptance and welcome in this community.
Because there is! I’ve never seen anyone turned away from crafting circles (with a minor exception that resulted in the creation of Mildly Offensive Paper Crafting, but that’s more of a preference for foul language rather than dislike of individuals). This is a community that loves to welcome newcomers with open arms and more advice than one person can sift through.
The other area I’d love to see improvement is with more variety in designs by stamp makers. I would love to see more full-bodied curly hair and other natural hairstyles more common in people of color. Ink Road has the adorable Inked Girl Phyllis and Kindred Stamps has their Around the World series. I’d like to encourage designers to keep going! Let’s get a whole array of cultures and human types represented in multiple ways!
Let’s show how welcoming we can be with our designs as well as our attitudes!
Feel free to share your story in the comments or provide other suggestions for how the crafting community can be more actively inclusive!