I have been binge watching the PBS series Craft in America. It features American handcrafters and is the creation of a nonprofit in Los Angeles. Many of the artisans who are featured were doing the work as a hobby but eventually found ways to make it the focus of their lives. The series features a wide variety of crafters from sculptors to violin makers. Individual programs are organized around themes such as memory and community.
As I pursue my own crafting more deeply, listening to these artists talk about their process and progress has helped strengthen my commitment. I was initially a little frustrated with the box making instructor as she seemed to take a long time to get to the box making. But, I realized, as I settled in to listen, that she was discussing her creative process in developing the box, showing the iterations that led to the current product. She was inviting us into that process. We were doing more than just following directions.
Making, creating, crafting…increasingly, the virtual world is the place to share your analog creations. While the maker movement tends to focus on electronic making, there is a huge homemade crafting movement going on. Just as educators are trying to find time for creativity in schools, so grown ups are trying to find time to create as well. In my younger days, I was a cross stitcher and made complicated samplers. I look at them now and wonder when I found the time. Perhaps it is telling that they were all made pre-Internet days when I had a “regular” job and did not live on a farm. I could spend a Saturday afternoon listening to a book or watching a movie and stitching. Now, I spend much of my time with a laptop on my lap.
But, I still try to find time to craft. For now, it’s mostly crocheting. It’s easy to pick it up for a few minutes while dinner is cooking or as I watch the news. It takes a different part of my brain but it isn’t mindless. Crocheting requires pretty sturdy math skills and just general concentration.
So, I was excited to discover that March is National Craft Month. And a new organization called cre8time is doing what they can to encourage people to make time for crafting. The goal is just 8 minutes twice a day which leads to 8 hours a month. The video may be a bit dramatic (I think it’s the music) but it reminds us that in the busy-ness of life, we need to find time to create.