In my opinion, the UK has a serious lack of craft television shows. Apart from the jewellery making channel which shows repeats of beading techniques and kits to buy, there is not much else out there. And I’m a telly addict, so I know these things.
Since starting this blogging journey, I’ve investigated the differences and similarities between the US and UK craft worlds. I’ve received fantastic support from both my home and overseas readers.
My research led me to discover the most enthusiastic craft reality show which recently started on American TV network TLC. Craft Wars is hosted by Tori Spelling (she’s no Martha), and sees contestants battle it out in teams to create popular craft items in one hour. Dramatic! Watch below and then join me again afterwards for my thoughts.
Contestants use surprise materials from ‘Michael’s Craft Closet’ – which looks like a crafter’s dream. A panel of judges will assess their efforts and eliminate the worst contestant. The final two will compete in ‘The Master Craft’ creating a playhouse out of school supplies for a prize of $10,000.
The contestants are what you would expect for reality TV – over the top craft obsessives. There is a heavy emphasis on DIY and building and no project is complete without some shouting and a glue gun. (I’m not complaining, I’m a craft glue addict). I only wish I had TLC so I didn’t have to rely on summary clips online each week.
The reviews for this show have been highly amusing (just Google Craft Wars and you will see the divided view of Americans) and I noticed that (my favourite website) Craft Fail have picked up on the episodes. Here’s a link to the thoughts of one viewer:
Then we turn to the UK and the most recent of craft TV shows, Kirstie’s Handmade Britain. A quintessentially English presenter, exploring new crafts, embracing UK makers and entering country shows.
There are no glue guns held like a weapon and shouts of ‘GLITTER EMERGENCY!!’ here. Nice, calm, English crafting and machine embroidery lessons…..couldn’t be more of a contrast!
I can’t help but love both. We all love Kirstie. Her posh, approachable persona allowed us to enjoy her craft journey and perhaps inspired us to try new crafts along the way. It was screened at a moment when the general public also cottoned on to the fact that craft is actually awesome. Good timing.
Some of my my UK readers may know that the BBC were scouting the crafting world for contestants for a new show called Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution. I can’t imagine the competition including British people shouting for pipe cleaners or being quite as theatrical as the US competitor. We will do it in our very British manner a la Great British Bake Off.
I’m not sure these shows represent the general craft population of each country. Perhaps they do so in the most stereotypical way possible. I’ll leave that to you to decide. All I know is that Craft Wars makes me want to do a supermarket sweep style trolley dash in Hobbycraft and cover my sewing supply boxes in glitter spray.
Now where’s my glue gun?!