general stuff
…on crafting – hobby, sanity, identity…

…on crafting – hobby, sanity, identity…

The past week on Threads, there was a QT trend going around. “Say I love you without saying those words”. Mine, clearly, would be to make something. It’s my go-to love language to express how much someone means to me.

I craft to make things for people I love. I craft to keep my hands busy in down times. I craft to personalise my space. I craft, because it’s something just for me, not for the running of the house or the caring of the children. A while back, I chatted with Kim, host of Art Supply Posse podcast, about what drives me to keep creating, and that was a big part of it – after seventeen years of stay-at-home-mumming, of not being a “productive adult” in the way society suggests we should be, it is through crafting, and sharing here and on instagram and via the podcast, that I find my version of productivity, of existing outside the daily grind of raising & educating children, of the never ending house chores.

Part of the reason I enjoy social media, I think, is because it gives me space to connect, but also to be seen. Instagram is trickier these days, and harder to get reach, but there is something so validating about connection with other crafters who not only appreciate the aesthetic of what it is you’ve made, but also understand the work that went into it.

When the Threads meme above was swirling through my feed, it actually wasn’t my own interpretation that immediately came to mind, but my husband’s. He will rib me about knitting vs crochet, or blankets vs quilts, or that one time I forgot to pack outfits to wear to a wedding because I was too busy sewing. He doesn’t understand blogging, and instagram exists only for scrolling and liking my posts and pretending he’s the first to see Saturday Night Craft Along. It’s just not his world. Instead, he’s off working long hours and serving on community boards and doing all the fancy businessman stuff that keeps the economy* ticking over. While he’s off conquering spreadsheets and sending a million emails and drinking a third ill-advised coffee before 8am, I’m at home, pottering around on my little projects.

(*economy, in this context, is the rapid flow of fund into the craft budget and directly back out ensuring the continued survival of Australia Post)

And despite the visibly unequal levels of importance in how we pass our days, he will never fail to make sure those silly little projects are seen. “Did you see the socks Rach knitted for herself?” he might ask his mum over lunch. Like a scene from The Castle, he might look at a project and tell me “you could sell those you know”. My compulsive need to create is so imbued in our daily life that he’ll look at me sideways if I complain about being bored in the car. “Why didn’t you bring your knitting?”. Maybe it’s the almost two decades of marriage, but to me, this level of “seen” is peak romance.

Crafting can be such a solitary activity, and as old-style craft groups slowly disappear, social media is taking their place. It’s a space where we can show off what we are making. We can connect and swap tips and patterns, or we can simply say “look I made something cute and I am proud of it”. There is often the pressure to “provide value” and use our platform to educate, but also, we don’t (or at least shouldn’t) need to earn the right to share pretty things for no other reason than to share pretty things. This article from substack was an interesting look at the increasing commodification of crafting.

I had a creative business once, and it taught me that monetising hobbies changes your relationship with that hobby. For me, it almost completely wiped out any desire to engage in that medium for funsies. If I was to ever to pick up another creative business, I would think long and hard about how and why. When our hobbies are our sanity break, to put pressure on that hobby means it isn’t as effective as an stress-release. When it comes to forming part of our identity, it makes it harder to step away.

For me, creating is all three. It’s a hobby, to pass the time. It’s a sanity saver, something to retreat to when I need to step off the world for a bit. It’s also become part of my identity – I’m a crafter, I’m the one who is always wearing something handmade, I’m the weirdo rolling into homeschool group with a project in hand. And most importantly, most powerfully, it is a vehicle to connection, and to being seen. And in the end, isn’t that exactly what we humans are wired to search for? A community to belong to, a group of people who truly see us.

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