Sunday, 8 May 2011

Death to the Steampunk Octopus!

Do you like it? Do you? You want to buy it?


Actually, I agree. It's dire. I don't know what possessed me to buy the kit, but once opened I had to finish it or else it would sit in it's box taunting me whenever I entered the room.

I've since had it framed and will put it up one day.

One day when I have walls to speak of.

And once it is up, it will sit on the wall and taunt me.

Haunt me.

Remind me.

Like some 'Ghost of Handicrafts Past', it will plonk itself in my eyeline and tell me in no uncertain terms not to buy another rug kit again.

I know, I know I get worked up over next to nothing.

What's been troubling me of late is, well, mediocrity, incompetence and ego.

I wouldn't dream of putting that piece of nylon tat up for sale - I know it's rubbish and asking for money for it wouldn't just break copyright law (Alright there, Coats?), it would require the kind of shamelessness that would phase the Gallagher clan.


There is one website called

There was a plan originally for talented crafters, artisans and small businesses to advertise in one place - a bit like
Ebay for handmade stuff.


Etsy has been hijacked. By the kind of talentless, brassnecked, deluded and plain old mercenary shysters that the true craftsmen have been trying to distance themselves from.

Etsy has a listings policy which effectively means that 'resellers' are valuable Etsy clients and people who steal ideas from other artists or otherwise breach copyright go unsanctioned.

But the most nauseating part of the Etsy set-up is that anyone who publicly exposes such merchants (so called 'calling out') are actively sanctioned by the Etsy administrators.

So the really talented but struggling or those trying to sell items for a good cause have to keep quiet or else they'll be punished.
Rune Leather was one such luckless soul.


I honestly don't know why April Winchell got so wound up, but she has created a site called Regretsy.

In her own words

"Regretsy is the fail blog of hand crafts.

Almost everything posted here is collected from the web site, Etsy, though I sometimes feature crafting failures from other sites.

I also will sometimes post things that are just incredibly odd and wonderful.

So while not everything here is awful, it is always WTF."

The site is fairly self explanatory. It's "where DIY meets WTF" and some of the best bits are from her many followers.

April's Army of snark even have a forum following on Etsy. They have raised money for charity, shop for gew-gaws on Etsy and give public support to real artists.


There are a number of 'artistes' who, truly believing they are God's gift to art, have complained, loudly.

Not happy that their masterpieces have been dissed and snarked at, they complain. And bring about a torrent of smart alec, snarky, trouble upon their heads.

One such produced this. She has a whole shopful!

And then this happened.

And suddenly Twitter went nutty. 79,000 members of April's army vs. one not very talented 'artiste'.

If you're interested check out @Regretsy, @Robstenart and @Aprilsarmy or #postsomethingterrible.

If I had that woman's brass neck, I'd be Prime Minister.

She traces pictures and colours them in. She is on a par with most 8 year olds.

The "I only 'do' Twilight" aspect makes her look like an angsty, pouting teen who just won't be told she has no real talent and she really ought to be getting on with something more useful.

This woman is wasting time, money and resources on producing the kind of dross I'd be too embarrassed to throw in my large black wheelie bin (for non recyclable refuse) for fear someone would see it.

And she's marketing it with the kind of deathless prose one would reserve for a work by Van Gogh.

Kill it with fire, I say.

The trouble is, not only is she not alone, she and her fellow 'artistes' now have the likes of Etsy, where the like minded can meet, shore up each other's fragile egos and effectively create an alternate universe where they can compare themselves with the like of Da Vinci and see nothing wrong with overpriced flotsam and jetsam hotglued to pieces of ply.

I have great respect for artisans who, using traditional crafts and/or their own designs, create useful and beautiful pieces.

I can cross stitch. If I want to clutter my house with hamfisted attempts at 'art', I can pick up a pattern and produce my own half-arsed, attempts at decoration without resorting to t'Internet.

I love Regretsy. It has made me laugh out loud and cry at some of the reasons why they do the charitable things they do.

Regretsy is not just a response to the resellers, it's a calling out of the untalented, the pretentious, the idiotic, the deluded, the 'hot glue and crysanthemum' crowd who think they're producing 'art' when in fact they are keeping corporate 'craft' suppliers in the black.

Death to the Steampunk Octopus.

I know, I know. And flock wallpaper too.....

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Another good day to bury bad news

Osama bin Laden is dead.

And while we are all wound up flag waving, celebrating, conspiracy theorising, mourning or vowing vengeance, we aren't concentrating on the things around us that matter just as much, if not more.

Like law and order at home, for example.

The impending closure of the Forensic Science Service has got to be just about the most stupid, short sighted, penny pinching example of short termist thinking that I've ever heard of.

When I was organising my uncle's funeral, last year, the building I used to work in was in darkness. Already closed down in an attempt to cut costs.

I was in shock when I heard the news on the radio last December. That must have been some Christmas present.

At that point, it seemed an abstract idea. A cost cutting "blue sky thinking" sort of a notion which the Con-Dems could U-turn over later.

Like the laughable - "I know! Let's sell the trees!" idea.

Then I started to get letters from Capita Hartshead who deal with the FSS pension funds. Strange letters, admitting they were being told very little, knew very little but were going to keep me informed anyway.

Then this happened.

It was then that it really hit home. This wasn't some proposed idea but a proper working plan to shut down the FSS.

Expecting the government owned FSS to make a profit from the state funded police forces is like passing money from left hand to right hand and expecting to see more money in the right hand after you're done.

It's not going to happen, is it? You would have to be pretty stupid to expect otherwise

As the saying goes "Crime doesn't pay". The entire criminal justice system is one of those 'how-long-is-a-piece-of-string' money pits which won't turn a profit no matter how many consultants, reviews, reports, opinions and rulings that are thrown into the black hole.

But no. The FSS is going to shut down, private companies are more than capable of taking up the slack and there will be no interruption of service.

Yeah, right.

The Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners was wound up years ago with no specific body responsible for the accreditation of forensic scientists left.

UKAS doesn't specifically test each forensic practitioner to see if they are fit to practice but they do provide an accreditation service to show that each laboratory adheres to its own documented 'in-house' methods.

Very reassuring.


Meanwhile, my award winning local Beat Bobby is in the news as well. And it's not good news there either.

That takes some brass neck. To force someone to retire and then ask them to do the same job for free.

Yep. I've finally seen someone come up with ideas worse than that bloody medal.