In The Maker’s Year, Part 2, I try to address the question that Kate from the A Playful Day podcast asked: “What does making mean to me?”. You can read Part 1 here, where I write a little about how I got to where I am now, craft-wise.
When I was little, I made things.
Me: “Look what I made!”
Mum: “That’s lovely (what is it?)”
From the early days of my making, to me it’s been about making something tangible. Achieving something when all else is not going well. Having something I can point to and say “I made that” (even if what ‘that’ is sometimes has been open to interpretation).
But is that all? In trying to answer Kate’s specific question “what does making mean to YOU?” I was prompted to think a little deeper. These are my thoughts:
Sense of Achievement:
If I make something, I feel like I have achieved something. If all around me things might not be going according to plan, it is great to have something that is (mostly) under my control and that results in a Real Thing that I have made with my own fair hands. Something I can tick off my list of achievements for the day. And if that Thing is useful, or a thing of beauty, or just recognisable as what it is supposed to be, then so much the better.
Sense of Community:
Making for me is also about being part of a community, be it in real life or online.
Joining a local knitting group has given me several good friends, in particular my BKFF with whom I spend time crafting, drinking coffee, eating cake and behaving like a kid in a sweet shop at fibre events. A chance decision to attend a card making workshop has led to another Real Life friendship, where we meet up nearly every week. Coffee, cake, crafting and gossip feature strongly here too. I sense a theme …
Over the past year or so I have forged some great online friendships as well, and have received encouragement and support when self-doubt crept in. And given support too, I hope. All this has come about through a common love of making. Participating in the Maker’s Year is another wonderful example of the community that we are all building.
Sense of Calm:
Many people have mentioned the calming, meditative effect of crafting, and I heartily agree. A decade or so ago, I suffered terribly with clinical depression. I’m in a much better place now, but occasionally feel myself teetering on the edge of that dark pit again. I’m not saying that crafting is the solution to it all – the whole clinical depression thing is way more complicated than that – but it is one of the strategies that I use when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Just a few rows of non-challenging knitting, or a while spent calmly at the spinning wheel, helps me to start sorting out the muddle in my brain.
So I will carry on making, be it gardening, cooking, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving … It is my therapy and my joy.
Sometimes the doubts creep in and I get overwhelmed by comparison to others: Do they have a better blog, a bigger audience, make more sales in their ETSY shops? But I remember the reasons why I make, and Kate’s wise mantra “YOUR creativity is not MY creativity”, and hopefully that keeps me sane and moving forward.
Thank you Kate for encouraging me to think about what making means to me!