August 1, 2015 | Author: Jan
I value craft. I always have. Some of my happiest and earliest memories from childhood are of me down in the basement with my sister, a bottle of Elmer’s glue, construction paper, maybe some beads and some felt. Life between the adults in the house wasn’t so swell, but we were oblivious to it, hidden away at our little crafting station under the stairway.
It seems like we were quite left alone. And we were pretty young. Maybe I just wasn’t aware that someone was actually keeping tabs on us. Maybe we were immersed in our projects to the point where we had blocked out the surrounding crazy. Whatever the case I remember feeling quite independent and quite capable. The fact that we could create things that we found to be rather terrific using odd bits of this and that along with a bit of our own ingenuity made me feel confident and independent.
We set on the task of teaching ourselves many different skills, from simple embroidery, to sewing tiny clothes for troll dolls, to weaving little paper flower baskets for May Day. We used library books and an old craft book that we found somewhere in the house and we puzzled out any techniques that challenged us. In fact, I remember feeling that we were only limited by the tools and supplies that we could talk our mom into buying for us at the Woolworth’s.
Through craft I learned that sometimes something that seemed simple took a lot of time and work. I found myself truly investing myself in our projects – they had far more value to me than they would have if they had come from the store. And from that I surmised that if I were to give one of these much invested projects to someone as a gift, that they should value it more than if it came from a store as well. One more step and I naturally, and to this day, will place a far higher value on the handcrafted item. Store bought factory produced is fine (especially when the time and effort has been invested to buy a gift that will charm), store bought individually handmade is better, from the maker bought individually handmade is even better, but handmade by the gifter is the ultimate. It’s so much more personal and that much more cherished.
I value the crafted items, but I value the act of crafting even more. It reconnects me to those times when I could block out any unpleasantness by focusing on creating. It soothes and reminds me of connections to the people with whom I have crafted. It re-instills that sense of accomplishment and confidence. I feel the goodness in the act of creation and I feel good about myself and what I can add to our lives.