Pinterest this morning sent this email: “Alison – meet X! They say great minds Pin alike. And we just found someone who shares your taste in Pins. Follow their boards to discover more Pins you love!” I’m about to be disparaging about her pinning, and as I don’t know her, but have two friends with the same name, I’ll just stick to “X”
First up, this person has set up 111 boards to pin her 13,000+ saved images onto. My experience is that anything over about 30 boards is a red flag, as I typically find such a pinner’s selections are of a ‘pin everything’ approach, and it becomes time consuming and sometimes confusing to sift through. I’ll back out quickly from such a time waster. I have no idea how I’d keep track of thousands of pins in hundreds of boards, as I’ve only saved 450 images or so over several years. I’ve found more rapport with pinners who seem to carefully choose whether to pin or not, and whether something is important to their ideas collections. I believe it is definitely a case of ‘Less is more’. Having a huge number of boards somehow seems the equivalent to the groups of holiday travellers on organised guided tours. We’ve all seen them, no matter where we live. All the passengers on the bus are from the same foreign country, they hurriedly alight, take masses of pics of each other standing in front of whatever view/building/monument/large sign is behind them, and then quickly clamber back on board for the next whistle stop on their tour. Pinterest for some people is clearly the same kind of hurried ‘travel’ in the field of ideas.
Secondly, on X’s page this morning, I scrolled and a few lines down found a board labelled “Kantha Stitch Style Fibre Arts”. Several years ago I attended Dorothy Caldwell’s wonderful workshop on mark making with reference to Kantha , so thought I was in for a treat. Kantha is not a technique, it’s a style of embroidery from W. Bengal India that uses running straight stitches to form patterns and fill shapes of flowers, birds, animals and scenes of everyday life that are meaningful to the maker and her community.
From my workshop with Dorothy Caldwell; I chose a kangaroo shape to stitch a 10cm sq. kantha-style stitchery
In the west, with the growing popularity of hand stitch, ‘Kantha’ is one of the trendy hand stitch buzzwords, and while technically it is ‘merely’ a running or straight stitch worked into all kinds of patterns, the scale and potential of Kantha work within its cultural context is rich, often complicated and overall glorious. (see the above link or google Kantha images) On X’s page however, faced with lots of hand stitchery of many different kinds, I saw nothing ‘kantha’ before pulling out at about image #50 or so. There were however some mixed media hand stitched textiles, most of which featured some pattern darned areas; and it became clear as I looked further into X’s boards, with “Kantha style 2”, and “kantha 3” listed lower down, that X equates Kantha with pattern darning. I know, dear reader, that might seem a bit nit picky, but there we are – that’s me. I am a bit pedantic on things I know a thing or two about. There were other gems in the boards in X’s boards titles – “tea bag fibre art” 🙂 “safety pin fibre art” for heavens’ sakes, and, well as I said, 13000+ pins under 111 titles. I guess I was overwhelmed at what this represents in terms of time spent looking at, collecting and saving images of other people’s work and inspirations.
We all know social media run on algorithms based on how we use those media sites. They’re often enough totally wrong, but we put up with that for the other benefits we enjoy by being part of them. Today Pinterest got it quite wrong when it told me that X and I are an exact match – but that’s ok – I’ve vented and will be back on Pinterest again in a few days’ time, prolly.