I’ve come across the #themakersyear hashtag a lot on my Instagram and the other day I looked to see what it was all about. This sparked some thoughts on stuff that’s been vaguely floating about my head for a while. So I thought I’d write them down to see where it led me. I don’t want to say anything about the makers year challenge specifically because I’m only using it as a jumping off point and I’m actually still not totally clear on it (esp the seasonal aspect), but you can read about it here. At its most basic (I think) it is a hashtag for documenting daily creativity.
Anyway, one of the points being made in that post I linked to is about breaking down barriers between different crafts and letting go of ideas of being expert or needing really good technique for art or crafting. And I couldn’t agree more. My Twitter bio describes me as an all round crafty person and it is true that I’ve never met a craft I didn’t like. I am currently actively involved in knitting, sewing, linoprinting and (a sort of) scrapbooking and if you define a bit more widely, photography, baking, cooking, interior decorating. Even writing this blog I would see as a creative thing, although I don’t write that much anymore. Then there’s the millions of other crafts I either used to do, plan on doing, or have somehow acquired the tools to do because people have given me them as presents.
I am not particularly advanced at anything, though I do seem to have a basic level of skill at most things that maybe comes from an innate ability, or maybe just enjoying art and craft so much and hence having a lot of practice hours under my belt. Because all that stuff, it’s not that different from each other really. I don’t really need a challenge to tell me to define creativity or making widely, because that’s my default position.
But. I’m wondering whether this is the right approach. I do so many things, but I’m starting to feel spread a bit thin, particularly now I’ve added the linoprinting into the mix. My head is so full of ideas and plans but I am well aware I’ll only get around to doing a fraction of the stuff. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if I just picked a thing and ran with it properly. Partly it’s because I know this way I’ll never really get good at any one thing unless I commit to it properly, but probably more importantly it’s a social thing.
The great thing about the online crafting world is that there’s this community feeling, this instant connection with people based on a shared passion for a thing. And maybe that’s the thing, I don’t go for all consuming passion, because I’m so aware my time is limited, my craft interests are varied and I have to be sensible. I’ve always been more of a doer than a talker, and people who go on and on about all these amazing things they are going to do and then never do any of it drive me insane. But it does set me apart from groups I should fit right into, because I’m always drawing back a bit, never getting fully swept up in the excitement. And nowhere is this more apparent to me than when it comes to the idea of having A Stash. I want to be careful here, because I don’t want to offend anyone, and everyone is entitled to spend their money as they wish, be that on holidays, cars, computer games, nights out or yarn and fabric, or whatever. But I just honestly, truly, do not understand the benefit of having a couple of grand’s worth of fabric or yarn just sitting around with absolutely no concept of what you’re going to do with it, or any sort of realistic hope you will ever use it up. Maybe if I had one main hobby that wouldn’t seem so strange though.
I’ve even been thinking about what I would choose if I had to. It would probably be sewing because that’s got the biggest scope for improvement (I’m pretty beginner still really), and it has the most useful products. It’s also the one I find hardest to make time for though, because I have to do it in a different room (which is currently the baby room anyway), it’s noisy, it uses a lot of space and I’m not good enough to multitask (I know lots of people watch TV, but I couldn’t manage that at all). So it’s just not very sociable. Whereas I can sit in the living room watching TV with Dave and also knitting, sticking photos onto paper or carving lino quite easily.
So I guess I’ll continue with my Jill of all trades-ness and maybe this makers year thing will inspire more people to be crafty in a wider way!
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