It didn’t last long, but it made an indelible impression on my mind and my heart. For those of you who blinked and missed the five or six episodes back in 2005 on the Style Network, it was sort of half summer camp crafts lesson, half Wrestlemania, with a side of demonic Martha Stewart.
The premise was simple. Two ordinary crafters go head to head in two timed crafting challenges, and are judged by a panel of professional crafters and minor celebrities (one judge’s claim to fame was that she had appeared on The Apprentice). The crafter with the highest aggregate score was then declared the winner, won a selection of crafting supplies, and was forced to face The Craft Lady of Steel, Jocelyn Worrell. If by any remote chance the challenger beat the CLoS, he or she won a scrapbooking cruise. Yeah, it even happened once or twice.
But this simple description entirely fails to catch the goofy charm of the show. Between the Mad Max sensibility of the craft cage, Jason Jones‘ manic hosting, Worrell’s icy demeanor worthy of the Terminator himself, the gloriously disheveled and disinterested Amber (sort of an anti-Vanna who was charged with bringing out the crafting supplies), the crazed screams of the crowd as crafters tried to create art out of whatever junk they were handed, and the breezy yet informative filler talks about various common crafting materials, there was a magic in the air of that cage. Part of me longed to go up against the Craft Lady of Steel… and the rest of me knew I would lose all intestinal control, should that happen. She scared the ever-lovin’ guano out of me.
Alas! Almost as soon as it started, it was over. Now it’s nothing but a sweet memory. Still, I hear the dulcet cry of Jason Jones’ wind-up tagline:
Remember, it’s cheaper and easier just to buy stuff.
Perhaps, but it’s so much more fun to dig into a pile of random crap and make it sing.