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The indie craft movement recently was the subject of a book and film, “Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY Art, Craft and Design.” Filmmaker Faythe Levine followed 24 crafters in 15 American cities to look at the reasons for the “marriage between historical technique, punk culture and the DIY ethos.”

A screening and book signing for “Handmade Nation” will take place July 16 at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. The movie will be released on DVD this summer.

“I am a crafter,” Ms. Levine says. “I am really interested in the DIY community using creativity to express themselves and other people embracing the DIY ethic.”

While Ms. Levine found that each crafter has his or her own story, a few themes run through every tote bag made of recycled T-shirts, every hand-stitched belt and every Marimekko-inspired screen print. In addition to the anti-mass-produced ethos and the social aspect, crafting has an economic and environmental message that touches a nerve.

“Conscious consumers are staying away from mass-market items,” Ms. Levine says. “DIY is a political act; you are making a decision to not be a part of consumerist society. Since many crafters use recycled materials, it is an environmental issue, too.”

Other crafters are geared toward a political agenda, Ms. Levine says, citing the book “Knitting for Good: A Guide to Creating Personal, Social and Political Change Stitch by Stitch” by Betsy Greer. The book, published in 2004, outlines how to use knitting and creativity to improve your life, the lives of others in your community and the world at large.

It is also the touchstone of the DIY movement. They aren’t just socks - they’re the start of a personal and a social revolution. One can make things to adorn themselves, teach others a skill or clothe those in need.

“There are endless examples of people who are not satisfied with their lives and who followed their creative path,” Ms. Levine says. “Sometimes they are successful; sometimes they go back to their day job.”

Either way, they have learned something from beaded bracelets.