Marian Lizzi is 41 years old and lives in Manhattan. By day she is Editor-in-Chief of the Perigee Books imprint at Penguin. By night she does “a bit of standup comedy” and explores the wide wrong world of bad craft on her blog Kraftomatic.
What's the single most horrific craft project you've ever seen?
It might have to be a tie between soaps shaped like buffalo wings and crocheted spotted dick (British dessert pudding). Both are surprisingly realistic.
Are there certain genres of crafts that tend to engender more bad craft than others?
There do seem to be some trends. I've noticed a lot of soaps in strange shapes (in addition to the buffalo wings, I've found hot dogs, creme brulee, dentures, remote controls, etc).
The Japanese art of amigurumi (miniature crocheted or knitted figures with human faces) yields a lot of questionable projects — things that are supposed to look cute but end up seeming random and strange (such as smiling tea bags).
I've also discovered some trends that are evidently quite popular, though I'd never heard of them before — such as fabric postcards and frighteningly lifelike baby dolls for grown-ups that are referred to as “reborns.”
One last trend: strange wedding-cake toppers. I had no idea that couples were commissioning their likenesses as reindeer, zombies, sock monkeys, gunslingers, hedgehogs, or rabid sports-team enthusiasts. Now I know.
Let's talk about cozies for a minute. Are there things that should just NOT be given a cozy?
I've been surprised and amused at the inventiveness of cozy enthusiasts out there. I figured I'd find lots of cellphone and iPod cozies (and I have), but I never imagined things like lip-balm cozies, asthma-inhaler cozies, ice-cream-carton cozies, or apple sweaters.
Seriously, people are knitting and crocheting (and buying) cozies for their fruit. I can't get over it. Last night I posted a bong cozy, which the crafter will customize for your…water pipe.
Do you craft?
I like to buy old necklaces at thrift stores, take them apart, and restring them in new ways. I don't sell them — they're just for me to make and wear.
True or false: There is a fine line between good craft and bad craft.
True. I'm not sure I'd say they're bad. It's more like unfortunate. Or unintentionally humorous. In fact, the crafts I like to feature on Kraftomatic are ones that are well-executed, but perhaps not well-conceived.
There are lots of examples, but here's just one: A fine portrait of the legendary former Atlantic Monthly editor Lewis Lapham. It's impressive, but I'm not sure who the market is.
Do you ever run out of stuff to post on the blog? Or is the world full of bad craft?
I thought I'd run out, but I've been pleasantly surprised. There is seemingly no end to the wacky, funny, and perhaps ill-advised things people will create and (attempt to) sell.
Do you own any bad craft? I see some of these things and I want to buy them. Like the severed polar fleece bunny head. Who comes up with that? It's kind of genius.
I've succumbed to a few unusual offerings. My felted miniature likeness of Padre Pio, the popular Italian saint, is a personal favorite. He's the perfect combination of reverential and cuddly. I featured it on Kraftomatic and then quickly realized I had to own one. Looking at the photo just wasn't enough.