“Oh, I’m not very creative,” is the
complaint of many individuals when approached about
starting up a craft. The truth is that everyone is creative.
Some of us just got the notion in third grade that since
we weren’t the best artist in the class that we weren’t
“the creative type.” The Creative Type: a mysterious
individual with messy hair and outrageous attire who
frequents museums and the theatre and mutters tirelessly
to him/ herself when in public. As legendary as Santa
Claus—and just as fictional. Real creativity manifests
itself in a myriad of different ways. Creativity is
that urge that makes you want to move the furniture
around, for the third time this week. Creativity is
the calm that comes over you as you chop vegetables
for tonight’s dinner. Creativity is the tickle of excitement
you get when you find a new scenic route to work. As
humans, we have a basic need to express ourselves, and
how we express ourselves is creativity.
A Short History of Crafts
Crafting has gone in and out of fashion over the last
few decades. In the 1940s crafting was done out of necessity.
Because of WWII, making do and using up what you had
was a respected form of patriotism. Middleclass women
made quilts from their family’s old clothes, and their
children used catalogues or ads to make paper valentines
or Christmas cards. Worn out sheets were made into pillowcases,
then into handkerchiefs, and eventually used as rags.
There were not the malls open in the evening as there
are today, nor were there the myriad forms of entertainment
to be had, so people stayed home and worked needlecraft
This mentality continued throughout the forties and
fifties, but as the war generation aged crafting changed.
Crafts were something you made in your leisure time.
Since crafting was traditionally a women’s activity,
it was tied to domesticity and subordination. As the
women’s liberation movement entered the scene, crafting
was looked down on as anti-progressive. Mass produced
clothing and other articles made sewing virtually obsolete.
Today is a new movement, present even
among the very educated, wealthy, and politically progressive.
Betsy Greer coined the term craftivism, a call to shrug
off the plague of mass produced goods available, in
turn for an appreciation of all things unique and handmade.
Many still ask why, when it is cheaper,
faster, and more convenient to pick up this or that
dust catcher at your neighborhood Wal-Mart, why would
anyone pick up a needle? The answer is manifold.
Some craft because the activity creates
satisfaction and gratification in a way that few other
forms of entertainment today do. They enjoy both the
process of creating as well as the finished product.
There is a certain amount of pride and confidence felt
when using something made with one’s own hands—whether
it is a bookshelf or a crocheted dishcloth. And then
there are the crafters who do what they do for no other
reason than that crafts are fun.
Perhaps others craft for their health—although
they may not realize it. Crafting has a very positive
impact on one’s mental health, as it engages the mind
in creative and imaginative problem solving, as well
as the hands. Psychologists and therapists have taken
note, and many nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals
offer craft classes as a potent form of recreational
Crafting has also created its own community,
which is a huge draw in our isolated society. Whether
you scrapbook or throw pots, there is likely an association
in your city where you can join with other like-minded
individuals to craft regularly. This feeling of community
extends even within one’s own family. Many parents now
schedule a regular arts and crafts time with their children.
This is time well spent—crafting with children builds
important practical skills as well as interpersonal
About the Author:
Emma Snow is a creator at for Ornament Shop http://www.ornament-shop.net
and Craft Kits http://www.craft-kits.net
leading portals for crafts and ornaments.