Crafty Manolo » Will There Ever Be Crafts in Space?

Will There Ever Be Crafts in Space?

By Twistie

Like many crafters, I’m a great big sci-fi geek. I can quote you chapter of verse of most iterations of Star Trek, hold an intelligent discussion of where George Lucas went wrong with the Star Wars franchise, compare and contrast many of the societies visited through the Stargate, and quote virtually every line from Galaxy Quest (That was a hell of a thing).

But there’s one thing that has always bothered me about all of these sci-fi icons and many, many more that I’ve seen and read over the years: nobody makes crafts for enjoyment.

Sure, sometimes on Stargate or various versions of Trek they would come across a charmingly bucolic society. In these places, everybody had to produce food, clothing, shelter, etc. so that everyone would survive. But virtually all of  these charming, peaceful, gentle worlds are utterly without artistic addition. Nobody makes jewelry that doesn’t have a specific, ritual meaning. Nobody adds a flourish to the legs of a chair, or embroiders a pillow simply so it will be pretty. Nobody is shown making something of a purely decorative nature or just for fun. It’s all simply, rustic, and utilitarian.

And when these shows visit advanced societies, everything is about scientific advancement. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I’m in favor of finding cool ways to cure diseases, travel longer distances with lower environmental impact, provide inhospitable lands with food and water, and all sorts of things like that. I find these ideas and many like them to be entirely fab and gear.

But these societies seem to have little or no art. Sometimes there’s a terribly refined style of music (which sounds much more like Muzak to my ears), but nobody seems to create visual or textural art. Nobody creates a thing that isn’t either scientific or intensely practical. It’s all smooth, shiny, refined and utilitarian.

Come on, producers of sci-fi worlds! Would it kill you to have some form of embroidery or model making survive the millennia? If there’s someone on a starship who plays the trombone, couldn’t there also be someone on that ship who tats? It takes up a lot less space and makes a lot less noise, after all.

Okay, Data paints. There is that, and I’m in favor, entirely. But wouldn’t there have been one traditional Bajoran craft that Ensign Ro picked up in the camps? Didn’t Guinan’s people have to do something when they weren’t all listening to each other? Out of all the human societies the Goa’uld transplanted into outer space, wouldn’t Daniel Jackson have found one that still created purely decorative jewelry? Couldn’t Amy Pond scrapbook about her journeys with The Doctor? Well, no, actually I don’t think she would. But Rory totally would. In fact, I feel quite sure he does it whenever Amy isn’t looking.

I love speculative entertainment. But I also love making lace. I appreciate many forms of craftwork, and want to encourage them. I don’t believe that the human race will ever get to a place where we don’t need to express ourselves creatively by hand.

Just once, I’d like to see someone create a sci-fi show or film that agrees with me on that.

12 Responses to “Will There Ever Be Crafts in Space?”

  1. April D Says:

    Okay now I am totally going to think that Rory’s off scrapbooking during all the commercial breaks! ;)

    I’ve noticed this lack of artistic outlet as well and wonder just what folks In The Future do for fun.

    Maybe it’s no wonder that folks got so easily sucked into TNG’s virtual game of balls and lines from Risa. With nothing other than un-paid work and perhaps reading to look forward to; this might have been very appealing as a distraction. What, is there no yarn in space?? Data did perform in a few musical performances so evidently musical practice doesn’t fade away; right? But yeah, struggling to recall actual evidence of crafting at all in visions of the future.

    Dr Who (at least #4: Yay Tom Baker! Totally just taught myself to knit this weekend so I can make hubby a season 12 scarf!) makes reference to that witty knitter Mother Nostradamus but you’re right; that would seem to be a reference to a past time point; not the future.

    Hmmm….now I feel compelled to try to think of one single instance of some crafty something taking place in any of my favorite future-shows!

  2. Twistie Says:

    If I have just one person imagining Rory scrapbooking on the TARDIS, my work here is done. I’ve suspected him of being a secret scrapbooker for a long time.

    Please, if you can think of a refutation, I would love, love, LOVE to know about it.

    I remember when the first Star Wars film came out, someone came out with a list of things you never see in sci-fi, and Star Wars negated everything on the list except one: there was no art on the walls. Here we are thirty-five years later… and still no crafts.

    And now I want tee shirts that say ‘What, is there no yarn in space??’

    You could totally sell those. I would buy one.

  3. Maria Says:

    Best post ever! Perhaps the tribbles have eaten any potential crafting supplies…
    Vulcans have some pretty ridiculous jewelry/fashion Does that count?
    I bet Guinan gets her craft on…

  4. Twistie Says:

    You know, I think the most damning evidence against Vulcan logic may be their wardrobes, unless it’s their spacecrafts. Those ships were clearly designed after attending about five too many Grateful Dead concerts in a row. Or maybe the Romulans gave them the designs and are still laughing up their own laughable sleeves at their erstwhile cousins.

    Tribbles are handy receptacles for blame. Let’s blame them.

  5. lali Says:

    I vaguely remember a bunch of spaceship models on the wall of Picard’s (???) ready room. Perhaps he made them in his spare time?

  6. Twistie Says:

    You’re right, lali, There were spaceship models in Picard’s ready room. I’d love to think that he made them, but we were never told how they got made at all, and considering some of the options Worf and Data were checking out at the Replomat when looking for wedding gifts for Chief O’Brien and Keiko (yes, I do know entirely too much trivia about Star Trek!), it’s at least equally possible that they were replicated rather than modeled.

    On the other hand, it now occurs to me that there’s an episode where Worf’s son, Alexander, is taking a class where he’s working with clay and making a present for his father. Also, there was Captain Picard Day, where the children made arts and crafts representing the good Captain. Hmmm… seems there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the future after all, but it seems limited to kids.

  7. April D Says:

    Well if the kids can craft in the future I’d certainly hope that those skills were not left to languish upon reaching whatever qualifies for “adulthood”.

    Mostly in my attempts to recall any bit of artistic example from future-verses I’m coming up with music/performing arts (Picard when he’s sucked into that mind-probe that pushes him through an entire life in like 10 minutes plays the quasi-piccolo; Data and his violin, a few plays).

    Maybe there’s an assumption that with such powerful tech as the holodeck (and similar future-tech) you wouldn’t spend (waste?) time with hand-crafts? Though, honestly, I’d FAR rather crochet a blanket than step foot into a device so often intent on harming its users! ;)

    Aren’t there a few episodes of TNG where (I think Keiko) is arranging flowers? Not quite yarn-craft but still something handy. But she might have just been working the biodome and my memory is faulty.

  8. Twistie Says:

    Well, Keiko is a botanist. My recollection is more of her tending her plants, both in the hydroponics bay and her quarters… but this sounds like a good reason to haul out a few DVDs and double check! Thanks for the clue, April! And since the character then crossed over to DS9, well, what a great reason to watch a few episodes of that, too!

  9. Maria Says:

    Here is evidence that the good Captain builds models.
    Reference third scene, the bridge.

  10. Twistie Says:

    Ooh, good catch, Maria! I had completely forgotten that scene. Of course, it’s a mention of how he used to build model ships as a child, so once again, kids craft, adults… not so much, it would seem. But it would certainly be nice to think of him using those utterly delicious hands to build something just for fun.

    What? I always had a crush on Patrick Stewart. Gorgeous voice, lovely hands, I wouldn’t get a crick in my neck looking up at him… not that I’d mind, if I did.

    Okay… I think I’ll stop now. That’s quite enough of my intimate psyche left oozing across the floor.

  11. April D Says:

    Oooh! I know this is way late but I was trying to brainstorm and was remembering scenes of Westley wearing some (frequently rather garish) sweaters. They totally looked handmade (some of them rather nice) and while I was going to say I could see Beverly sitting to knit/crochet them I found myself back-peddling. Because, honestly, I could see WESTLEY doing yarn-craft; not so sure about Beverly.

  12. Rosecampion Says:

    In Firefly, it happens off screen, but Jayne Cobb’s mother does knit him a rather cunning hat.

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