Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF Paperback – Apr 6 2010
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“A hall of fame for artistic impulses gone oddly awry.”—Salon
Wildy funny.- Los Angeles Times
So much funny, we're not sure where to begin.- Gawker
Brilliant . . . unexpectedly wonderful.-Movieline
Ridiculous . . . completely unique and absolutely bonkers.-Time Out New York
Absolutely wonderful and downright horrifying.- New York Magazine
Wonderful sarcasm . . . Regretsy's the unofficial authority on the absurd.- Thrillist
Winning snark.- The Onion AV Club
About the Author
April Winchell has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in the entertainment industry, working as an advertising executive, a radio show host, a comedy writer, and a voice actress. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
April chose the item of mine she wanted to rip on, and I sent her some high resolution pictures and my consent. That's all the input I got as to what would be said about my stuff. I'm happy to say that she didn't make me cry! I also got to 'defend' my piece, but I honestly felt like I didn't need to defend it, so I spent that part in promoting my store. Hehe.
This isn't some bit of Etsy bashing propaganda, and it's not just to make fun of the stuff on Etsy, either. It's a sort of a window into some of the more eccentric things you can find on Etsy. Sure, you can search Etsy for stuff yourself, and you'll find some weird things...but there's no way one person could find all of the 'treasures' in this book all by one's self.
If you like shopping on line, and you like weird stuff, give it a look! It's good for a laugh at the very least.
Having made that disclaimer, the book samples a perfect assortment of disturbing kitsch for sale on the Internet. I loved it immediately when she described this collection as "self-expression that misses the mark in some way." I'll say. There's not a single bad choice in the book, but some really do rise above the rest, starting with p. 12 which is a disgusting-looking "Brooch with Vintage Buttons" that inspired Winchell to comment "Tell her you'd marry her all over again with a prolapsed anus." What's scary is that that's the perfect comment. The "Charming Pond Scum and Amoeba Pendant" on p. 18 would go well with the brooch, while p. 30 features a "Chicken Poncho" ("modeled by Bantam Chick Lil Danya"), and in possibly my favorite thing in the entire book a "Pink Leopard Goat Coat" (p. 35; it is exactly what it sounds like and inspires a comparison with Kim Cattrall) is modeled by one extremely unhappy looking goat. Maybe she just looks sad on second thought.
The book gets stranger as it goes along, particularly in the "Toys and Dolls" section. on p. 48 there is an item titled "Wikette - Alien Doll Handmade by Kathleen" which Kathleen describes thusly: "One thing that makes her unique is the fact that a walnut was used for her head. If you have any questions feel free to contact me." Winchell did have some questions, as it turns out: "1. What am I looking at? 2. Where did the alien get the horse? Is it an alien horse? If so, does it contain nuts? 3. What if I wanted the head made out of a filbert? 4. How much is shipping to Earth? 5. Can I buy this if I have squirrels?" Perfect, April. Absolutely perfect. Moving past a frightening item on p. 51 that is so terrifying that I won't even attempt to describe it, we eventually get to "Art," but you may have wished you didn't. There are some truly stunning works here, my favorite of which (p. 90) is a painting called "Corndog on a Plane," which in the description justifying the $85 price tag says "Reminds me of the time I flew to New York and had a corndog."
Taxidermy and associated arts are featured prominently here too. My favorite is "Fish in a Squirrel Suit Taxidermy" (p. 107,) although "Baby Rat in Altoid Tin - Original Mixed Media Sculpture" (p. 110, $45) is fierce competition for sure, as is the surrealist entry "Aardvark's Frog on a Succulent Ham" which the seller claims is "For the holidays or whenever," though Winchell claims "I had this for breakfast once in Louisiana." As you work your way to the end the entries get even more bizarre: "Doll heads in a bowl of Brussels sprouts," "Miniature Fairy or Dollhouse Toilet with Frog," "Christmas Nativity Meerkats," etc. In the end Winchell reveals who made these gems, how to get them, and discusses the vendors, most of whom are self-deprecating and amused by her work, and many of whom leave comments that Winchell reprints, giving the artists the final word.
This is a great book, and wonderful commentary on handcrafted wonders in the digital age. If you can get past the language, there's no way you won't find this hilarious, if occasionally disturbing.
What makes the Regretsy site consistently laugh-out-loud funny, the brazen humor and bold perspective of author April Winchell, is present in full force. Also delightfully represented are the mind-boggling DIY arts and crafts that serve as fodder for conversation and amusement.
But I believe that the best part of the Regretsy book lies in the poignant, insightful and absolutely riotous personal essays that introduce each chapter. The author's unique insight and candid commentary are hysterically funny and surprisingly poignant. But they don't go on long enough! Leaves me hoping the next book will be coming out very soon.
I also truly enjoyed the Epilogue, and reading from the featured sellers themselves. It was very interesting to get the full picture of the Regretsy experience.
I seriously doubt anyone could read this book without guffawing. It's that funny. Whether you're familiar with or passionate about Etsy, DIY, arts and crafts, or Regretsy, this book stands on its own and keeps you laughing. And, by the time you get through the Epilogue, chances are you'll be passionate about it all.
There's a lot of good, beautiful, genuine handmade stuff on Etsy, the site that Regretsy is mainly focused on. Or at least there was when first it started out. Over the years, some crazy stuff has been creeping into the offers at Etsy, stuff that makes you say hmmmm. Or WTF. Or other things I can't put here. But you can put them into Regretsy. Some of the "artists" at Etsy create a lot of things related to body parts, male and female, as well as things that come out of your body. Some of them even create their "art" with things that come out of the body. Trust me, they doo doo. You'll find a lot of funny snarky silly comments about those things in the book and on the site.
There are also copyright thieves, people who try to pass their sweatshop work off as handmade creations, resellers and more - that's a service Regretsy provides to the real sellers and shoppers at Etsy. In addition, every month the artists and shop owners who belong to the Regretsy group, April's Army, donate their time and services to a week long fund-raiser - and others spend what little money many of them have to get the goods sold - helping a member in need. Regretsy the book is just a hand in what is a growing community.
The latest venture is a collaborative tarot deck created by 25 artists belonging to Regretsy, using "art" from this book and the website as inspiration. A good portion of the profits will be used to help artists in need - not just those who participated, but those who are part of the community and beyond.
The community doesn't respond well, ever, to those who are being mean to others. It's an incredibly giving community - read the book, but do it with all of this in mind. Even profits from the book go to charity.
The positives - The author tells some good stories, such as those found at the beginning of the chapters. The style of humor found on the Regretsy website is intact in the book. In fact, the book mirrors the website. An Etsy item is shown with its photograph and seller's description, followed by the author's commentary. A quick read.
The negatives - Found the writing too snarky at times. Some of the Etsy items were funny, others only made me shake my head because they were weird (though that fits the book's subtitle). There was more profanity than I expected, but it seems in-line with what you see on the website.
Summary - If you are a big fan of the website, you'll like the book. If you're just a casual visitor to Regretsy, peruse the book at the library before deciding to buy.