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Handicrafting has its roots in the rural crafts—the material-goods necessities—of ancient civilizations, and many specific crafts have been practiced for centuries, while others are modern inventions, or popularizations of crafts which were originally practiced in a limited geographic area.
Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million. "Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.
The Arts and Crafts movement originated as a late 19th-century design reform and social movement principally in Europe, North America and Australia, and continues today. Its proponents are motivated by the ideals of movement founders such as William Morris and John Ruskin, who proposed that in pre-industrial societies, such as the European Middle Ages, people had achieved fulfillment through the creative process of handicrafts.This was held up in contrast to what was perceived to be the alienating effects of industrial labor.
But they don’t all share the values Etsy promotes, which Walker calls a "kind of moral purity of the handmade as a response to the alienation of mass-manufacturing culture."