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Danielle Paradis explores what makes Edmonton a great city.

Edmonton increasingly does it all on its own

It's easier than ever in Edmonton to do it yourself

Metro's columnist asks this week about whether Edmonton is becoming a DIY city.

Paige Green

Metro's columnist asks this week about whether Edmonton is becoming a DIY city.

Edmonton loves to DIY. We’re a city that boasts DIY food crawls, a re-use centre, bike shops local theatres and art collectives. And let’s not forget The Royal Bison — a bi-annual craft show in Old Strathcona that many crafters organize their years around.

Increasingly, Alberta women who are artists, crafters and entrepreneurs are starting up their own organizations to do what they love, and make Edmonton a craftier place.

This weekend the Made Local Society opened its doors to Edmonton in the Oliver neighbourhood. The society was initiated by the Alberta Yarn Project, a little organization that promotes locally grown and spun yarn, and On the Spot Pop-ups.

And, maybe it’s because it is summer, I think I am coming down with this DIY-fever. I’m a long-time barely adequate knitter, and walking into clothing shops like Workhall that boast big loft spaces filled with raw fabric and machines have made me want to up my craft game.

When I mused on Twitter about Edmonton’s strong DIY ethos, Edmonton writer Todd Babiak chimed in to say, “for a long time, I think Edmontonians felt isolated. They had to make their own fun and solve their own problems.”

Anna Davidson is on the (all female) Board of Directors for the Made Local Society and she thinks that this DIY culture is new to the city.

“I don’t know that I would have characterized Edmonton as a DIY place as a kid when I was growing up...but definitely in the last five years I’ve noticed an upswing in people being like: I’m going to do this thing. And then they do it” says Davidson.

The Made Local Society came into existence very quickly after an announcement that the organization that previously held court at 10149-122 St, the Creative Practices Institute, would be dissolving.

Fabric arts may be typically female, but it's no small business. While crafting springs from the cottage industry, entrepreneurs like Alicia Shaffer in the US pulls in $80,000 a month on Etsy.

With the rise of sites like Pintrest women crafters seem to have found the perfect space to mix passion with craft.

Knitting and crocheting are wonderfully social hobbies. They have a connection to community built into the craft, so it is not surprising to see places like the Made Local Society popping up with an almost ready-made client base. And it seems like a natural extension to offer artists spaces where people can come and go.

Davidson states that the society really wants to be a community to people. “We really want to be collaborative, not competitive. The more we work together the more we’re going to be building up together.”

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