Artsy has an article looking back at artists and art communities online before social media and even before the web. It's more focused on art than craft, but I fondly remember (and miss) these sorts of online forums and communities. Here's the beginning of the article:
– Kelsey Ables, writing for Artsy
Today, sharing art on social media is like running on a treadmill forever. At least, that’s how illustrator Lois van Baarle describes it. “You have to post constantly,” Van Baarle, who got her start in the early aughts on DeviantArt, explained. “Otherwise, the algorithm decides you’re not interesting, and will not show your posts to your followers.”
Before big tech shepherded the vast number of online users onto a handful of sleek websites, there was a scrappier internet—where offbeat chat rooms and eccentric niche websites reigned, and carefully crafted “away statuses” were a kind of personal branding—back when you could be away from the internet. Until attention spans became a commodity, the internet was dreamed of as a “bastion for people to direct their own education,” as Charles Broskoski, co-founder of internet bookmarking site are.na, remembers.
Artists, too, forged communities in the spirit of collaboration and learning. From the gothic underworlds of Breed and Abnormis, to hyper-specific pixel art sites, to larger communities like DeviantArt, the internet presented a breadth of opportunity for all kinds of artists—often of marginalized identities or with artistic interests unrecognized by institutions.
Read the whole article here: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rise-fall-internet-art-communities