Handicrafts are enjoying a popular resurgence in Canberra, propelled in part by a backlash against consumerism.
Online knitting groups have formed and young people are getting together to sit and stitch, in a trend their mothers may have shunned but their grandmothers embraced.
This week, from August 21-24, thousands of people are expected to visit Exhibition Park in Canberra for the annual Canberra Craft and Quilt Fair to take classes and watch seminars on making quilts, mosaics, jewellery and greeting cards, in a trend toward the traditional arts.
Children as young as five have taken up embroidery classes in Canberra, learning to make felt toys and create colourful designs.
The Embroiderers’ Guild of the ACT's Young Stitchers group, which has about 30 members aged 5-15, will be displaying its work at the fair.
Craft Fair spokeswoman Judy Newman said crafts tended to be cyclical, with some aspect of the art form usually enjoying a resurgence in fashion at any given time.
"A lot of young people are taking up crafts and it's not something that has been passed down to them,'' she said.
"It's quite puzzling really because you don't have to knit your own jumper anymore or hand-make quilts. You can go to the shopping centre and buy them. I think it's a reflection of the way we live our lives - often in front of a computer screen. Craft is an opportunity to use your hands and make something unique.''
Ms Newman said it was also a break from consumerism.
"Right now we are just inundated with cheap products - we can afford them but do we value them? No,'' she said.
"If you want something for your home that's not from a catalogue then you can make it yourself and pay less then you would in the shops.''
Creative director of Handmade Canberra Julie Nichols discovered how strong the demand was for handicrafts in the ACT when she launched her first market in November 2008.
"People really seem to value things more when they know they are handmade,'' she said.
"We went from having 2000 visitors at our first market to having 22,000 people come to the market now. I think there are a lot of reasons for it, including that buying handmade means supporting local designers, Australian small businesses and getting high-quality items that haven't been mass produced.''