{20/02/2013}   Why bother with craft?

I go through phases of making things.  Most stuff I make looks home made (not in the quirky, desirable way) and I am sorry to say I have inflicted some of these home made creations on friends.  In my defence, there is the odd decent thing that slips through the net but (and I am not seeking reassurance from gift receiving friends – I really do know) most are a bit naff, to be appreciated for the thought rather than the beauty and usability.  I am just entering another craft phase now and was thinking of making a few things.  Then I thought I could make some presents (still feeling shopping guilt from my Saturday in Hastings, not that I spent a huge amount) … then I remembered how naff a hand made present can be.

I once went to a pre-Christmas craft fair in search of interesting presents with a reluctant male.  I promised him, it being in a fairly small town hall, that I would be round it and out within five minutes.  Scraping his feet, he checked his watch and followed me in.  To my slight chagrin, he enjoyed it more than I did.  Because it was so utterly dreadful.  There was the odd stall selling knitted/sewn/crocheted things and they were fine, just not what I was interested in.  The rest made me feel that the things I’d made that I wouldn’t have dared embarrass myself by giving to a friend were actually ok and even saleable.  Seriously, it was terrible stuff.  That might have been the year a few people did get some of my creations, buoyed by the fact I’d seen proof that I could have given them worse things that I’d paid for.

Whenever I have a craft phase, I end up having to buy materials/tools.  Occasionally I am left wondering if it wouldn’t have been cheaper just to buy whatever it was I was preparing myself to make.  I have just parted with £44 to buy some tools.  I fear this is wasted money as I will have to make a lot of [them, ie friends with birthdays coming up soon may lose the surprise element if they read this and what I’ve just bought, ho hum] to make this a cheaper enterprise than just buying something.  However, something well-made that’s essentially bespoke can be a great gift and I have had a few such presents that I have loved and treasured.

One year for Christmas a friend and I, who at that time had time, decided to make each other’s Christmas presents.  I was very much into making things at that stage and I loved having a craft purpose.  Some things I gave her I hope and expect will have long been thrown out but there’s definitely one still in existence.  I particularly enjoyed giving and receiving with her that year.  However, I do appreciate that you need plenty of time and enthusiasm to be able to do that.

As I have just started experimenting with a few things of late, I am really enjoying it and I hope this current interest lasts.  However, despite thinking about making a few presents (though that’s with the things I’ve just ordered not what I’m experimenting with now), I have realised that I should make something for myself, leave it out so visiting friends can see it and if it gets a “Wow, that’s cool” type reaction, I could extend the line perhaps?!  If it comes out how I am picturing it, it will be a joy.  But that, for me, is a huge problem with crafting; things never seem to turn out how they look in my head.


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