Last night I took a class on pickling. It was completely sold out and filled with 20 and 30-somethings from the DC area. I was keen on learning a new skill even though I don’t really like pickled vegetables (or oysters, which was one of the things we made last night).
Given the popularity of this class, it got me thinking about other skills or traditions that are becoming popular. It seems what was old is new again. Knitting, for instance, has been on the rise for many years. In this 2009 article, a knitting supply store owner said, “History has shown that poor economic times have people staying home and doing DIY projects. Besides being relaxing, as knitting is, I think people also are looking for stylish fashion and home decor items they can make, without blowing their budgets.”
If you’re on Pinterest you’ve seen thousands of pins about cheaper ways to make everything from baby food to reusable paper towels to detergent to canned goods.
While some of these might be hipster culture (see Portlandia clip below), I think there’s also a drive toward increasing one’s skills during times of uncertainty. For some it’s to save money, for others it’s the need to generate income in a less-than-stellar job market.