How to Craft

Having laid waste to a rainforest's worth of pipe cleaners, the savage crafters were hungry for pom-poms

Odd phrases stick in my head for years, and they are often unsupported ideas that I firmly believe in. One is that playing team sport is a great way to feel less jaded. So when big kid’s craft camp came along, I thought it might be a great creative outlet and provide a bit of therapy.

At first, I just wanted to learn. My desire to touch and manipulate uncommon objects took over and I glued and magnetized anything within arms reach onto anything that wasn’t nailed down. You know how the first time you go to a Mongolian Barbecue you throw in fish and beef and chicken and ginger and saffron and anchovies and pickles and mushrooms and crab sticks and croutons and lettuce and jello and sprinkles and the guy in the apron just shakes his head and fries your monstrosity up? That’s me with crafting. That’s not to say that the head chef didn’t give us recipes and directions, it’s just that I’m not very good at following them.

As the sessions progressed, I learned that it was far more therapeutic to work on shared projects. Not having any fixed attachment to the outcome made that easier, and slowing down and saying “yes” all the time seemed to be the key to getting improvisational group crafting to really gel. And my favorite activity by far is making hand-crafted items for other people. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. You don’t have to take them home with you and find a space in your life / the landfill for them. Even if you really love the piece, it’s probably going to be landfill one day – you know, in the same way that I’m going to be ashes. I’m not putting down any of mine or anyone else’s art – just being a long term thinker.
  2. You get to make someone momentarily happy and take a photo of the occasion, and then they become indebted to you for life.

Here are the two group projects I worked on yesterday at the last of this month’s craft camps. It’s tempting to say that the best things I made were some new friends – I think that might be the breakfast cupcake talking.

Spike Gillespie
An homage to our teacher

The first is a craft diorama in a cigar box, and a tribute to our woolen craft teacher.

Vagazzled Tractor

The second arose from a challenge from Terry to reuse the wheel-less tractors she had brought with her to donate to the craft continuum.

golf clap tractor
For me? Oh you shouldn't have...

The joy of giving (and not having to take home) was great. If there’s a December craft camp, what a great place to make gifts for distant relatives. I’ll be there, with googley eyes.

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