Crafting Your Personalitycomments (9) February 2nd, 2009
After spending a few days working the CHA show, I got to thinking about what your chosen craft says about you. After walking through aisle after aisle looking at tools and materials for any and all crafts, I realized that there are a whole passel of crafts I have dabbled in or embraced, as well as a load that I haven’t tried.
This got me to thinking about the stereotypes I attach to different crafts and how I think my own chosen pursuits cast me in certain lights. I feel that all of us are defined in large part by our actions, so what do our craftions reveal about our personalities, or the image we want to project to the world?
I’ve always wanted to be hip, which might explain the giant aqua cube earrings and bilevel haircut in high school. I love making a fashion statement, and in a Catholic high school, the only way I was able to express myself was through jewelry. My blackwatch plaid skirt didn’t quite cut it. So, when I started making jewelry in my early twenties, I thought myself mad cool wearing my own creations and giving hip gifts to friends. I wanted to be regarded as stylish and urban, and I thought being a jewelry designer amped up my cool factor. I still do.
A few years down the road, I took up knitting and found it fed my soul and my ego. I was creating heirlooms rather than trendy crafts, and the process was as satisfying as the result. At the CHA show, my fellow CraftStylish bloggers and I were talking about how lame it is to describe knitting or embroidery or other skills as “not your grandmother’s craft.” I think it was Kayte who said, “I like my grandma! What’s wrong with my grandmother’s crafts?” Word to your grandmother, my friend. She was on to something and I think being a knitter marks me as a thoughtful gal who’s creating a legacy.
If I didn’t have enough to keep my hands busy, I took up sewing last year; it seemed a perfect blend of fashion and tradition. I can make girly shirts with the newest Amy Butler fabric (i.e., the top in my profile photo) or I can make old-school aprons for my mom or my nieces. I can’t wait to check out the huge Sewing & Stitchery Expo at the end of this month and confirming my suspicions that sewing (and yes, quilting) is becoming more popular and cutting-edge every day. Just imagine what my former classmates would think at the next class reunion when I show up in a hand-sewn LBD.
I recently went down the rabbit hole buying rubber stamps from Craft Pudding on etsy. I had thought rubber stamping was for kids, something not to be taken seriously. My bad. My mind has totally expanded, seeing the clever art and patterns that can be combined and layered to create one-of-a-kind cards, gift tags, and artwork. I find it totally charming and dear to make customized cards for friends and family. I now regard myself as sort of sweet because I’m a stamp collector.
I haven’t dipped my toe into the world of scrapbooking. My kinswomen in Michigan love it. The CHA show—maybe 70 percent of the booths were devoted to scrapbooking and its kissing cousins—indicates that most of America digs this paper craft as well. As I ponder the profile of the scrapbooking enthusiast, I think it’s for folks who like to bring order to something and create a perfect world even if their lives are chaotic and messy. Come to think of it, I could use some order. Cue the jones for acid-free paper…
The opposite of pristine and controlled, silk screening seems gritty and radical. I desperately want to try it. It seems counter-culture, very Haight-Asbury in the '60s. Maybe I’ll grow my hair out to look like Ali McGraw in Love Story and start silk-screening revolutionary, limited-edition tees and hoodies. With a Yudu machine, I could start whipping out message tees in a hot second.
After seeing Erika Kern transform a T-shirt in a couple of hours through the magic of embroidery, I view embroidery fiends as not only traditional and elegant but also meticulous with a side of inventive. Or maybe that’s just Erika.
I know this is the short list of crafts, and I’d love to hear from all of you.
Is it just me, or do you think that your craft defines you? How do you regard your favorite craft and how does it make you feel? Does it make you more soulful, homey, earthy, connected, country, rock 'n roll, or just plain cool?