GOOD READ

We pour hours into our cre­ations, and a lit­tle bit of our­selves too, but what is it about craft that sparks that unique con­nec­tion?

Mollie Makes - - Contents - Words: SO­PHIE BROWN Il­lus­tra­tion: BETHAN JA­NINE WESTRAN

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.

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