make 2017 your most cre­ative year ever

It’s time to set res­o­lu­tions for 2017 – but what’s the best way to achieve your crafty goals for the year ahead?

Mollie Makes - - Front Page - Words: OLIVIA GOR­DON Il­lus­tra­tion: ALE­JAN­DRA PI­NANGO

Whether you want to learn a new craft, de­velop ex­ist­ing skills or start a mak­ing busi­ness this year, typ­ing up a to-do list isn’t the only way to think about your goals. Cre­ative peo­ple of­ten need to find a slightly un­usual method of goal-plan­ning, one which makes you feel fired up and in­spired.

For ex­am­ple, you might be like screen-printer Rosha Nutt ( and tend to think of ev­ery­thing vis­ually. In­stead of writ­ing lists, Rosha makes a pic­ture wall as a visual re­minder of what she needs to ac­com­plish, or imag­ines her­self on the Yel­low Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz. “I pic­ture my­self stuck in the for­est, with a party at the cas­tle in the dis­tance. Back in the for­est, I need to start by choos­ing a sub­ject, mak­ing the il­lus­tra­tion, buy­ing the pa­per, book­ing the stu­dio, print­ing, up­load­ing on­line, get­ting the word out – brick by brick, I build the path to the cas­tle.”

If you’re a visual per­son, scrap­book­ing, pin-board­ing or jour­nal­ing your craft­ing res­o­lu­tions to give them colour and form will in­stantly bring them to life. Write and il­lus­trate your dreams in colour­ful Sharpies, go wild with stick­ers and sticky notes, and cover bor­ing stor­age fold­ers and boxes in beau­ti­ful pa­pers to make or­gan­is­ing your goals a cre­ative project in it­self.


For il­lus­tra­tor So­phy Henn (­phy­, “big projects can seem in­tim­i­dat­ing, but by break­ing them down and com­mit­ting each step to a timetable, it be­comes doable.” A mini-goal could be en­ter­ing a com­pe­ti­tion (which got So­phy her first chil­dren’s book deal; her lat­est book, Edie, is out next month) or even launch­ing a new ‘col­lec­tion’ of your work each sea­son to mo­ti­vate you. An­other, more struc­tured, ap­proach is to try the hugely pop­u­lar trend for bul­let jour­nal­ing ( www.bul­letjour­ or the brand new Dream Plan Do cre­ative jour­nal from The De­sign Trust ( www., which prompts you to list and ac­com­plish goals month by month.

De­vel­op­ing your work into a col­lec­tion built around a com­mon theme can also help ce­ment your ideas. So­nia Bownes of Lon­don Craft Club ( www.lon­don craft­ took this con­cept fur­ther, work­ing her re­cent craft projects around a sin­gle colour. She picked bur­gundy as a fo­cus for five craft goals (mo­hair knit­ting, ce­ram­ics, mak­ing a new bag, Christ­mas poin­set­tias and sewing), all fea­tur­ing the shade.


Life­style blog­ger Stephanie Cong­don Barnes ( www.3191mile­ sug­gests mak­ing your in­ten­tions and achieve­ments pub­lic to keep you mo­ti­vated: “I rec­om­mend find­ing a friend or group to whom you have to be ac­count­able and with whom you can share the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

So­nia agrees; she an­nounced her bur­gundy craft list in her news­let­ter, and says the peer sup­port of so­cial craft­ing groups and work­shops like hers en­cour­age mem­bers to prac­tise their skills. If you’re on Etsy, join­ing one of their lo­cal teams will give you an un­der­stand­ing net­work to share ups and downs with. So­cial me­dia is an­other valu­able source of sup­port. Share your projects on Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram, and max­imise ex­po­sure by us­ing hash­tags #craft­spo­sure, #hand­made­withlove and #mol­liemak­ers.

Of course, many cre­atives find set­ting goals counter-pro­duc­tive. Weaver Maryanne Moodie ( www. maryan­, who’s just had her first book, On the Loom, pub­lished, says: “I don’t set my­self con­crete goals in craft, busi­ness or life. I find that by be­ing present, rather than fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture, I’m able to no­tice when op­por­tu­ni­ties come up and do what feels right at that very mo­ment.”

Ul­ti­mately, it doesn’t mat­ter whether you work for­mally to­wards achieve­ments or not; the only aim is to keep cre­at­ing. Quil­ter Liza Prior Lucy, co-au­thor of Bold Blooms with Ka e Fas­sett, ad­vises: “Set a goal to ob­serve the world around you. We’ve made quilts based on stacks of used ship­ping con­tain­ers, dis­plays of eye shad­ows, stacks of tow­els and seed cat­a­logues. Go to a mu­seum and look at the art. Win­dow-shop in a city. Walk through a sculp­ture gar­den. Open your col­lec­tion of books and mag­a­zines and be in­spired. Our goal is al­ways the same. It is sim­ply to make stu ! ”

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