after the jump: alexandra lange interview (mp3)

by Grace Bonney

Last week before the break, I sat down for a radio show with architecture/design critic and author Alexandra Lange. Alexandra writes regularly for Design Observer and has penned some incredibly interesting posts about our community, the nature of criticism in blogs and, most recently, saving craft from cuteness. I’ve followed her writing with great interest, namely because I think it’s helpful and important to have a voice looking more deeply into the trends and issues that make up today’s design community. I may not always agree with the conclusions or criticism, but I think it’s crucial to explore ways that we can better or strengthen the community and our contributions to it.

For this show, Alexandra and I talked about the changing nature of craft, craft on TV (namely our issues with Craft Wars and whether great craft can work on TV), blogging (what she’d like to see more and less of from writers like us) and how the impulse to share online has greatly changed the way we make and consume. I hope this will be the first of many conversations with design critics because I truly love a healthy debate (although I think Alexandra and I agreed more than we disagreed) about the community and how to strengthen it. I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to the show, add your comments on the issues we discussed and check out Alexandra’s posts on the design community here. Thanks again to Alexandra for coming out to Bushwick to join me for a great chat. xo, grace

“It’s definitely a crusade of mine to get the references back into design, even if it’s new design.”

“Part of making has become sharing what you’ve made in a very public way.”

— Alexandra Lange on After the Jump


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  • Very interesting read, her opinions do raise some good points! No Craft Wars over here (France) so I’ve never seen the show to be able to judge, however I do think that it’s a good idea to “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I think that I’ll give it a go…

  • I think that this was an interesting topic and exchange. While I don’t want to read comments that are mean spirited & attack the point of view, I agree that sometimes an exchange is needed.

  • I thought this was a very reactionary podcast. Criticism? Do we have to have it? Yes? Dang! You’re right. As communities grow, it is only natural for the critics to arrive. Never really thought about this much before. Maybe the lack of criticism in the craft world is a reason I’ve been drawn to its community. I did want to comment on y’alls slight Michael’s bashing. I had to go to Michael’s recently, on errand as a bridesmaid, and it changed my opinion on the place. As much as these kind of box chains can sicken me, and it’s easy to blame them on the vast quantities of crappy crafts out there, they carry a huge variety of tools and materials, that, with a creative eye, can be a wonderful resource. Especially for those of us who live in smaller cities and the Jo-Anns and Michaels are the only options for buying supplies outside of the internet. Through all that tacky, there is merit! Maybe we need more Biz Ladies starting up quality craft supply stores…in my hometown…please!

  • This was a brave, and in my opinion, necessary podcast. It seems that the web is such a place of extremes with either the most depressing anonymous sniping one finds in the comments of political blogs or a niceness and lopsided positivity on blogs and social media, the can feel cloying.

    Media has become so democratized and the line between content and advertising has become so blurry, making normal, constructive criticism seem like a personal attack, even when it’s not. Bringing both editorial and critical sensibilities into non-mainstream media – and the inherent risks, opportunities and challenges of doing so – needs to be honestly discussed. Glad to see you doing it here.

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