We pour hours into our creations, and a little bit of ourselves too, but what is it about craft that sparks that unique connection?
Why what we make is so personal to us
Whether you’re a stitcher or a papercrafter, a dressmaker or an illustrator, it’s likely that your craft is a form of self-expression. It can be how we communicate silently with others, showing our personality, taste and style to the world.
But what makes our connection to craft so personal? From that light bulb moment when you think of a new idea to the ritual of crafting, and that final ‘yay’ moment when you finish a project, we all have our own quirks and ways of working that give us a unique relationship to our creations.
TIME TO BREATHE
For some, the process of crafting and creating is what makes their work distinctly ‘them’. While some quiet their minds, others discover answers to problems or come up with new ideas, and some become completely lost in the rhythm of their craft.
Whatever it is that goes through your mind, it’s undeniable that craft o ers a sense of repetitive relaxation and mindfulness that might be otherwise hard to find in this non-stop world.
Amy Fleuriot, co-founder and designer at handcrafted pet accessories brand Hiro and Wolf ( www.hiroand-wolf.com), feels the rhythm of crafting provides a certain escapism. “Some crafters find producing lots of the same pieces monotonous,” says Amy, “but there’s something rewarding about looking at 50 or 100 pieces of one item and thinking ‘I made all that’!
“Sometimes, with the right music playing, when you’re just concentrating on the task at hand, everything else melts away. By occupying my hands and one part of my brain with a repetitive task I find creative ideas pop into my head, and sometimes I solve problems that have been on my mind for weeks.”
Although Amy revels in the consistency of making, one of the things that makes craft so personal is how the small joys we find in crafting are completely di erent for everyone.
For illustrator and owner of Let’s Face It Design ( www.letsfaceitdesign.com) Holly Munro, the act of putting your mind to something creative is a therapeutic process. “I su er with anxiety, so keeping my mind and hands busy makes for a really peaceful place for me,” explains Holly.
“I feel a piece of me goes into each creation, and as words don’t come easily for me, I find it much simpler to express my personality through art or craft. There’s always a little bit of self-doubt that creeps in when you’re putting your creations out into the world, but the satisfaction of the process supersedes this.”
SHARING IS CARING
Like Holly, pyrographer Haylee Doney has found a release through crafting. She launched her own brand of wood-burned homeware, Splint and Umber ( www. splintandumber.etsy.com), after finding that her teaching job was having a negative impact on her mental health.
“To me, the whole process of my craft – the attention to detail, the warm scent of burning, the result of my time and care – is so rewarding and therapeutic,” says Haylee. But it’s not just the action of crafting she finds solace in. Haylee’s intricate makes are so deeply personal that her connection to her craft lives on long after they’ve found a new home.
“I lost my mum 15 years ago, and have since discovered that many people feel a strong sense of warmth and comfort when visited by robins, seeing them as a symbol of loved ones who have passed away. I make a range of robin gifts, with each bird handdrawn and burned carefully into wood. I never tire of making them, and it brings me so much joy to think an item I’ve made might represent something so very special to another person.”
Although Splint and Umber is in its infancy, Haylee hopes to build a community of those who feel a connection to lost loved ones through robins with her hashtag #whatsyourrobinstory on Instagram @splint_and_umber. Through crafting, Haylee shares her own grief with others who “just get it”, proving the act is about way more than just making.
So much of yourself goes into what you create, and only you are capable of crafting it. Although some of our skills might be similar, no make has the same story.