The Kinship of Crafting

The Kinship of Crafting

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I am drawn to the whimsical, unique, colorful, fuzzy, cuddly, crooked and often messy things in life. I adore handcrafted goodies. It’s fun to see new creations and meet their creators. I am interested in what creative people do and how they do it. I don’t even have to like their finished product to appreciate the obvious effort they put into it. I enjoy seeing new things, hearing new ideas. Maybe you’re like this, too.

Though I’m attracted to many things out of exploration and curiosity, I am almost instantly “at home” among “my kind” or “my people” :) When our kids were young, we homeschooled. When another homeschooling parent discovered this, they would naturally state, “Oh my gosh~ we homeschool, too !”  I’d respond, “Isn’t it awesome ? Isn’t it hard !” and off we’d go, totally relating to each other with instantaneous rapport.

Maybe you bump into folks while out walking your dog. Dog lovers often ask if they can pet the dog, ‘What kind is it, what’s her name, how old is she ?” If you have the time to chat long enough, you’ll hear about the dog they had “just like this” when they were young. Or maybe they’ll tell you they always walk their dog at this park on Tuesday evenings when the ducks are at the pond. You exchange ideas, comparing user-friendly leashes and discuss what stores allow dogs to enter so they can try on new collars. It’s this instant kinship that intrigues me.

The subject of Crafting is the same. What is the Kinship of Crafting ? It’s what you have in common. Do you ‘feel the love’ when you meet a fellow crafter ? There’s this automatic connection. Never mind that I’ve never done a cross-stitch in my life, I am empathetic to their yearnings, creativity and messy craft room. It takes another crafter to understand things like feeling overwhelmed with trying to finish a project you’ve temporarily stumped on. We both love a tumble of color and texture; the fun of starting a new project, the thrill of exploring a new craft genre. They can relate to what it’s like to lose track of time when you’re on a roll and you look up to notice it’s 2 am. We can joke about the amount of supplies we have accumulated. And the fact that it’s sometimes too expensive, time-consuming and invasive…while at the same time so rewarding. Why ? Because it’s how we’re wired. Call it genes, DNA, our blessing or gift. We feel the tug. And there’s a bond with other crafters.

{As an odd side note, I’d like to point out that spell-check is highlighting the word “crafter” each time. The World Wide Web is not familiar with the term ??}

I have had moments of insight chatting with fellow crafters. Ideas pop up in the conversation that I was inspired to follow up with later. Recently when I was stuck in a rut and sales had slowed down in the Etsy shop. I had a random, casual conversation with another sewing enthusiast who suggested branching out. “You have lots of Pincushions for sale, what about other similar items you could add like sachets ?” And you know, she is right ! The funny thing is, I actually had sachets on my list for future listings but her nudge was just the thing to get me going and now that’s what I’m working on :)

Other crafters can give us a fresh angle. Just hearing about what someone else is working on can renew our own creativity. Listening to someone else working through a snag in their project or planning their next step helps rejuvenate those within hearing distance. We can bounce ideas off each other and feel the support. This is the reason that sewing bees have thrived for over 100 years ! Dedication to the craft and supporting each other is a worthy cause to get together and celebrate. The simple actions of sharing ideas, patterns, recipes and babysitters are vital to the craft and supportive of each other in ways you cannot measure. If you’ve never tried a group situation, I highly recommend seeking out local Quilt Guilds, Scrapbooking Clubs, Craft Groups, Sewing Circle, Knitting and Fiber Art Clubs.

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Where do these groups hang out ? Contact the shops where you purchase supplies and ask about craft night or group classes. Ask at your Library, City Hall, Parks and Rec. Department or Chamber of Commerce for local events. Do you attend a Farmer’s Market ? Ask any crafter there if they know of a group for your crafty-love. Look for community bulletin board posts and DIY classes at craft and hardware stores. Call the local 4-H Club for references. Ask churches about their events/clubs; I have always found there is no obligation for you to attend the church or be a church member to participate. Call a senior center and inquire about classes.

It can be intimidating to be the newbie, I know this. Take a deep breath, hold your head high, open the door and walk right in. I participated in a fabulous quilt group at a senior center. There was no age minimum (or maximum). No skills were required, just a healthy dose of curiosity and access to a sewing machine. I was not the youngest (because I often brought my 7 year old daughter with me). I was probably the least experienced quilter (beginning) and they welcomed me with open arms. I made friends there and learned so much from these gracious ladies ! I will never forget the patience and support they gave me :)

Can’t find a local group in your particular genre ? Go online. Yep~ there are support groups for just about anything. Cooking, Knitting, Jewelry making…. there’s something for everyone. If you ‘attend’ online, you can sip your latte in your PJ’s while you read and soak up info :) Looking for a short break from your tedious crafting ? There are oodles of craft blogs to read offering lessons, tutorials, retreats, advice, step-by-step photos for DIY projects plus humor from the trenches.

I invite you to reach out and locate a group. Send an email query or call on the phone. Then visit in person. Bribe your friend or aunt to go with you; take a class together or just sit and listen. Happy Crafting !

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