Stand Up and Tell ’em You’re from Detroit

My name is Lish and I love Detroit, Michigan. I’m proud of it, but it wasn’t so long ago that a statement like that got me a lot of questions along the lines of, “Ugh, why?”
I’m a lifelong Michigander. I grew up here, I went to college here, and I’ve chosen to make my career, but crafty and non-crafty, here. A few years ago I wasn’t so sure if Michigan was going to keep me around. (And this was before recessions, before corporate bankruptcies, before holding the nation’s highest unemployment rate.) What kept me here? Crafting and the innovative spirit that rings true in Detroit.
I don’t know about you, but it definitely seems like the nation’s eyes are on my favorite city these days. Some for good reasons (Did you see “Youth in Revolt” this weekend? That’s Michigan!), some for not-so-good reasons (Thanks, underwear bomber). Living in the heart of the world’s automotive hub, the attention wasn’t so hot in 2009. But somewhere around the holidays and new year I noticed more positive blog posts and TV reports about the little guy trying to make a difference in Detroit.

  • The TIME Detroit blog is focusing on all aspects of Detroit
  • Just this past weekend The New York Times wrote about small-business owners making a difference in our tough economy

Slowly but surely, it’s starting to feel like the rest of the country is realizing, or at least listening to, what us Michigan folks have known for years: Detroit won’t be defeated, creative community included.
Crafting definitely kept me here five years ago when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I met a group of people looking to give crafters and artists a voice in Detroit and across our state. A few meetings lead to an idea, and that idea lead to bigger ideas. Slowly but surely a craft group formed (Handmade Detroit) and a series of regular craft fairs, along with renewed crafty mindsets, were born.
I think it’s safe to say crafters think Detroit and Michigan are pretty crafty. But to those unfamiliar with with our shared passions, people usually assume that craft fairs and successful crafters are reserved only for the east and west coasts. I’m here to say, “Not so fast!” Whether it’s picking up crafty supplies or wanting to support local businesses, Detroit is on track to be a bigger and better crafty city.
As a new blogger here at CRAFT, I’ll report in on all-things DIY, but I’ll give you a firsthand look at what’s going on here in the Motor City. We’ve got Maker Faire Detroit on the calendar for this summer in Dearborn (wahoo!) and I couldn’t be more excited. Michigan houses some of the most innovative minds around, so I can’t wait to see what the Maker weekend brings to the Mitten.
Remember, Detroit, and especially its crafters, won’t be defeated.
…But if you ask any of us here, we already knew that.