Embrace Your Inner Child Through Crafting!
Posted on April 6, 2022
Image Credit: Unsplash
I admit it – I’m a crafter. My obsession began as a kid, when I went through an intense origami phase. Although I was totally unable to follow the intricate origami instructions and could only make a paper crane, all I asked for for Christmas and my birthday that year was beautiful origami paper. Lets just say I made a lot of paper cranes. Next, it was card making. Birthday cards, thank you cards, anniversary cards – I made them all, carefully cutting strips of paper and getting glue everywhere. I even got into friendship bracelets for a while.
Although I eventually grew out of all of those phases, my love for crafting never went away. I learned to embroider, then crochet, and now I’m planning on learning to sew.
During the early days of COVID, a lot of us picked up little hobbies to pass the time. I think we all learned that hand making things brings a level of satisfaction, and calmness in a period when we all needed it. 2020 was a scary and uncertain time, and pouring ourselves into learning a new skill was a useful way to cope.
Something else that rose in popularity during the pandemic was the ‘side hustle’, where we took the products of our new skills and sold them. I can’t even count how many people I saw on instagram who created small businesses, from reselling clothes, to making stickers, clothing, pottery, jewelry, resin projects, and more. On one hand, this was an incredible wave of entrepreneurship from young creators, many of whom were women. A lot of us relied on service jobs that were shut down during quarantine, and had to find another way to make money. We taught ourselves marketing, accounting, and other business skills, and monetized our hobbies to support ourselves, and that should be celebrated.
But on the other hand, I don’t think that the purpose of crafting should always be to make money. When you make something unique or beautiful, and people’s first reaction is “you should sell that!”, they of course mean it as a compliment. But there’s something about creating just for the sake of creating that is so special. Because we live in a capitalist society, we are taught that the only value is monetary value. Why waste money on supplies to create something when you can’t even make that money back? Why waste time on something if you’re not getting paid? This thinking is something we need to collectively unlearn. Just because you’re not getting a pay cheque for something doesn’t mean that it can’t add real value to your life.
As a generally anxious person, I appreciate the way that crafting allows me to focus, and grounds me if I’m overthinking. I particularly enjoy the slowness of embroidery – in the era of Tiktok and phone addiction, it’s really important for me to remember to slow down and take my time. Crafting helps with mindfulness, and creativity. Remember all of the art projects we made in school as kids? Why did we ever stop? Crafting can help you embrace (and even heal) your inner child.
Again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with selling your art. Artists deserve to get paid fairly, and need to be able to support themselves just like anyone else. I’ve been lucky enough to rely on selling crochet and embroidered items to make some money on the side, which as a student, has been super helpful. But at the same time, I think it’s healthy to explore hobbies and crafts that you enjoy, without feeling the pressure to monetize them.
I’m so excited to explore some new crafts this summer, including cyanotype printing, making paper lampshades, collaging, ink making, (and probably a lot more!). And I encourage everyone reading to do the same! Let’s create something beautiful.