Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Disappointment with Craft Wars

Let's talk about Craft Wars; more specifically, my problem with it.

Before I climb on my soapbox, I want to say that I do admire what the crafters come up with in spite of the time constraints and odd challenge materials. It is a reminder that I should not limit myself on what I can do because of time or resources. I just have to think a little more creatively.

My problem starts when I see just how much stuff is in the challenge materials. It's always new, and there is always lots of it. In the very first episode, the master craft was to create a playhouse out of school supplies. Having taught in a district where the majority of families couldn't afford all of the supplies on the school list, I watched with a furrowed brow while composition notebooks were ripped apart for wallpaper and brand new pencils were sawed down for accent pieces. Other viewers shared my concerns too. "Yeah, that looks really great, but there are lots of children and schools that could have actually used those supplies."

It happens every week. A slew of comments appear, mentioning all sorts of places and charities that could have benefited from the challenge materials that were used on the show. I know that whoever is in charge of coming up with challenges and materials can't change it now since the episodes have already been filmed, but I do hope that if the show is renewed for another season that they are a little more mindful of the fact that there are people who are in need of this equipment, and that no crafter is going to have 60+ boogie boards at his or her disposal to build a lounge chair.

The "Heavy Metal" episode was really got to me. I hadn't been able to watch Craft Wars the last two Tuesdays due to being away from home, but when I got home just before midnight last night, I was able to catch the episode from last week. When they wheeled out the paint cans for the master craft challenge, I wasn't bothered. Then they brought out instruments. Perfectly decent, brand new, shiny instruments to smash and break apart so the competitors could build (in my opinion) a stupid sculpture for the Grammy museum. Let me interrupt myself here and say that I don't think the sculptures themselves were stupid. The ideas and construction were clever, and I applaud both contestants for their creativity and ingenuity. What made me beyond angry is that they had to destroy music instruments or face losing the contest and $10,000.

My husband was a band director at the same school where I taught elementary music and art. Those same students who couldn't afford all of their school supplies definitely could not afford instrument payments. So who purchased them? We did, with our budgets, and if we needed something else for our classrooms, we bought it with our own money. We learned how to make basic repairs to instruments to save our students' and our school's money. To see instruments that could have been used by that band program being used so frivolously ... I am just infuriated.

When will Craft Wars stop asking their contestants to make paltry projects for the sake of making something, and start giving them resources that another person/organization isn't in desperate need of? When will they ask their contestants to do something that matters?

No comments:

Post a Comment