By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Feb 04, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Faythe Levine's highly anticipated debut documentary is finished, but before it travels the globe to screen in New York City, San Francisco, Toronto, Barcelona and Melbourne, "Handmade Nation" premieres here in Milwaukee on Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Oriental Theatre.

The 65-minute movie documents a movement of artists, crafters and designers that recognize a marriage between historical techniques, punk and DIY (do it yourself) ethos while being influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art.

It includes interviews with more than 50 artists in 15 cities who explain how the new wave of craft, "forges a new economy, lifestyle and burgeoning art community that is based on creativity, determination and networking," says Levine, co-owner of Paper Boat Boutique & Gallery in Bay View and organizer of the yearly indie craft fair Art vs. Craft.

A book by the same title, written with Milwaukee artist Cortney Heimerl, was published in October by Princeton Architectural Press.

Featured artists include The Little Friends of Printmaking, Jenny Hart, Stephanie Syjuco, Nikki McClure,, Mandy Greer, Whitney Lee, Deb Dormody, Knitta', Jenine Bressner, Susan Beal, The Dirt Palace and Kathie Sever.


Feb. 5 -- Milwaukee: Oriental Theater, in association with Milwaukee Film
Doors at 6:30 p.m., movie at 7 p.m.
Advance tickets are now available at the box office, $10 general admission

Feb. 12 -- New York: Museum of Arts and Design
Doors at 6 p.m., movie at 6:30 p.m.
Premiere includes director Q&A and panel discussion led by Callie Janoff with Faythe Levine, Mandy Greer and Kate Bingaman-Burt
$15 general admission, $12 members, students, seniors

Feb. 14-15 -- New York: Museum of Arts and Design
Movie at 2 p.m.
$10, $7 members, students, seniors

Feb. 26 -- Toronto, Ontario: Lennox Contemporary Gallery
Movie at 7 p.m., discussion from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

Feb. 28 -- Barcelona, Spain: Todojunto gallery
Movie at 6:30 p.m.

March -- Melbourne, Australia
Tickets and times TBA

March 11 -- San Francisco: Mezzanine
Ticket and times TBA

April 2 -- Eureka, Calif.: Accident Gallery
Movie at 7:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public

April 4 & 5 -- Portland, Ore.: Museum of Contemporary Craft
Tickets and times TBA

April 23 -- West Bend: Museum of Wisconsin Art
Movie at 5 p.m., followed by a panel discussion

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”