Diana discovered the joy of pottery
after suffering a terrible divorce. Taking a seat at
the wheel with a lump of clay, she felt an immediate
release. Her mind cleared and her heart rate slowed
down. She was able to relax in a way she hadn’t for
weeks. “Better than therapy—and medication!” she happily
reported to her doctor after her first day at a community
education class, where she went on to make friends with
fellow potters, further enriching her life.
For Kris it was counted cross-stitch.
The repetitive motion of the needle passing up and down
through crisp cloth put her in a near-meditative state,
the way yoga does for some. In this state Kris was able
to work out solutions to her daily challenges. “It was
like the ideas dropped into my mind out of the sky,”
she told a close friend.
Shawn found furniture restoration to
be wonderfully soothing after a stressful day at the
office. The raw scent of wood loosened him up, and he
was surprised how satisfying it was to sit down at a
table he had restored himself.
Such is the world of DIY. Discovering
the right craft for your personality and temperament
can be a reward that transforms your life.
The crafting world is as wide and diverse
as a tropical rainforest. Each crafting activity has
unique benefits and challenges. You could spend your
entire life just trying out different crafts. While
this may be fun, it can be expensive and frustrating.
Should you desire to narrow your search down, this article
will act as your guide by investigating the world of
crafts as they fit into five spectrums. If one activity
doesn’t suit you, take heart. Crafting is for everyone—you
are bound to find that perfect match.
1. Short-term projects vs. long-term
Do you have a need for immediate gratification? If you
do, you might prefer cake decorating, ceramics, candle-making,
lotions-n-potions, or cut-n-paste projects (scrapbooking,
collage, and decoupage), which deliver results relatively
quickly. Conversely, if you are known to possess the
patience of Job, needlecrafts and quilting may be your
thing. (Although quilting by machine cuts down the time
dramatically). If you like long-term projects, pottery
and gardening are also excellent choices, since they
involve several steps.
2. Fastidiousness vs. playfulness/
Needlecrafts, baking, and jewelry-making require a meticulous
and careful eye, whereas cooking, gardening and cut-n-paste
projects are more appropriate for the playful type.
Keep in mind that many activities can go either way
or are best for those who can balance a bit of each
3. Planner by nature vs. spontaneous
to the core
If you don’t mind doing a little math, counted cross-stitch,
knitting, and crochet are great activities. Needlecrafts,
quilting and sewing also require planning and pattern-reading.
If all this sounds too boring or frustrating and you
prefer to jump headlong into projects as soon as you
feel an urge, cut-n-paste, candle-making, ceramics,
or pottery may be a better fit.
4. Space available
Do you affectionately call your apartment a cupboard?
If you need an activity that takes up little space or
can be cleaned up in a jiffy, yarn and needlecrafts
can be tucked away in a basket or a drawer. Baking and
cake decorating use what you probably already have in
your kitchen, and jewelry only needs a modest tackle-box
with little compartments for beads and tools. But perhaps
you have a room or a whole basement where a hobby could
take up a permanent residence? Pottery is such a hobby.
If you quilt by hand you will need a room where a fairly
large frame can be set up (unless you only want to do
baby quilts). A table for laying out and cutting patterns
is required for sewing, and most people don’t appreciate
having to lug out the machine every time you want to
work on a project. (However, it can be done.) Lotions-n-potions,
and candle and soap making can be done in the kitchen
as long as precautions are taken, but ideally they need
a separate space, since you are using dangerous chemicals
that you don’t want to accidentally mix with food. Gardening
is ideal if you have a nice-sized yard, but many green-thumbed
apartment dwellers find cultivating the space around
their windows, on their patio, or even potted indoor
plants a satisfying diversion. Don’t lose heart if you
don’t have space for an activity that interests you—just
sign up for a community class!
5. Available funds for expenses
Each craft has a range of what you could pay for the
activity, depending on your taste and willingness. If
you are picky about using only hand-dyed, organically
grown 100% wool yarn, you are going to pay a lot more
than someone who works with an acrylic yarn available
at the closest Woolworth’s. It is a good idea when just
starting out to borrow someone else’s equipment, or
use inexpensive supplies until you know it is an activity
you are going to stick with. Then you can slowly replace
your supplies with quality items that you appreciate.
On average, pottery and sewing require more expensive
equipment to begin, while you can garden, cross-stitch,
or cut-n-paste on a shoestring budget. Yarn crafts are
the cheapest activities to try, since they don’t require
a lot of expensive equipment to start. Again, a class
might be the best investment for the more expensive
If you still aren't sure which craft
is right for you, talk to other crafters about why they
enjoy their craft. Ask if you can join them one day
to see if it is something that appeals to you. Be patient
with yourself as you begin each new activity--nothing
kills the excitement of trying something new more than
impossibly high expectations. Don't worry--as you continue,
your skills will improve. You will also know better
which activities suit you best.
About the Author:
Emma Snow is a creator at Craft Kits http://www.craft-kits.net
leading portals for crafts and creative individuals.