Arts and craft projects

I'd love to craft but...

1:07 PM

Have you ever uttered those words? I'd love to craft but...but it's scary, time consuming, too difficult, I'm not creative enough...the list of reason not to craft is endless.

But if you'd LOVE to craft, you should not let anything stop you, and certainly not let things like time or the perceived lack of creativity stop you. Here are 6 reason not to craft busted. 6 reasons that should no longer stand in your way. 6 reasons that are complete myths. If you'd love to craft, don't let these come in the way...ever.

A chuntney jar turned lantern is a quick and easy craft project just about anybody can do. All you need is some glass paint and 3D liner

But, I don't have time.

DIY and craft projects can appear time consuming. But they actually aren't all so. Always remember that you don't have to start with big projects to begin with. And that longer projects can easily be spread over days, weeks, months...
My mom worked all day as a teacher when I was little. She also loved to knit. She would sit in her favourite spot in the living room after dinner and knit. She made all of our sweaters, some with complicated patterns. She just loved knitting, it was her stress buster. However, she never aimed at finishing a sweater in one sitting, it would not have been possible being a full time teacher and mother. She would just sit for a few hours, and do as much as she felt like doing only to pick it up later on where she left it.

It really doesn't matter if you can only spend one hour a day to craft. A vast majority of projects can be done in "instalments". I have myself spent months on just one painting.



But, I am not creative enough.

Let me get this straight. You'd LOVE to craft but are afraid to try it because you aren't creative? First, creativity is subjective, highly so. The moment you want to create, you are creative by default. Sadly, these days, it has come to mean that you have to be Pinterest worthy.

If you aren't, you are apparently uncreative.

Don't let these societal notions dictate your life. Just do it, and who cares if the product of your creativity is not award winning! You must do things that make you feel happy. Children do not care about the Creative Quotient of their toilet paper roll art, or doodles. They just do it, and continue doing it without caring about how well their art is received by others. They have fun with it.

Beside, practice makes perfect, and we all have to start somewhere.



But, I don't know where to start.

This is a valid concern to have. Launching oneself into DIY and craft projects can be very daunting. Which technique to try, which materials, and what project to embark on...Should you paint, knit, stamp, stitch, or do paper crafts?

My advice is to explore your option, don't confine you to one niche. When you are a beginner at anything DIY, you don't know yet what you like and dislike.
Before starting anything, browse blogs and websites. Look on Pinterest. Pin and bookmark projects you like.

Then, decide to do one, just one, any one you feel like doing. Buy the supplies just for that one project and go through with it before doing another. In time you will find out that there are things you are most attracted to than other.
I myself prefer painting things. And I do not discriminate on the surface, I paint canvas, glasses, wood, walls...anything will do. But, I don't like needle work much, and I really really really don't like knitting...at all.



But, I can't afford it.

Not all supplies are costly. And you don't have to buy everything all at once. I myself work with a lot of things I have on hand. Jars that would go in the dustbin otherwise, scraps of fabric I have lying around, paints from previous projects...
You only need to buy a few things for each new projects. There are always a few leftovers you can use later.

all my craft supplies fit in a chest of drawer


But, I don't have the space.

Good news, you don't have to have tons of space. The idea probably come from all these fancy craft rooms that are featured across the World Wide Web. They are as uncommon as the dream walking closet. A lot of us do craft on our dinning table and pile up our craft supplies in a wardrobe.
I store mine in my living room, in the lovely chest of drawer I bought recently to replace my termite infested dresser.
All my assorted lot of paint, ribbons, brushes, paper and stock of jars and boxes fit confortably in four of the six drawers that unit has, with room to spare.

I live in a flat that has an extra room at the moment, but that hasn't always been the case. In fact I had no problem doing the same type of projects and having the same amount of supplies I have now in my tiny studio apartment in Geneva. That place had a total of 280 square feet, of which 32 were the bathroom. And guess what, it was considered a big studio by Geneva standard.

Unfishinished projects can be put away in a wardrobe, or left in a corner of a table (provided you don't have cats).

Invest in acrylic paint, it is versatile and can be used on almost any surface.



But, I don't know where to find the supplies.

I'll assume you live in India for that one. In Europe chances are your supermarket or even local hardware store or hobby centre has all you need.
I recently wrote a whole blog post dedicated to craft supplies in India, which you can read here.

Aim at a stationary shop that cater to school children and you should find a lot of wonderful basics. The staff could even point you in the right direction to find certain things they might not have. And don't ignore the Internet. Big e-shopping sites all have various type of paint, brushes, and canvas. Itsybitsy has a e-shopping portal entirely dedicated to craft supplies.
And of course, there are all the things you can repurpose at home : old clothes, cushions, empty jars, toilet paper rolls, old gift wrap paper (yes do keep these!), magazine pages.

You'll quickly find out that almost anything can be recycled into a craft project.





To conclude...

There are no reason not to embark on a craft project if you really really WANT to. There are only fears that hold you back, fears that you need to let go off.

Now if you really just don't fancy crafting...that is a completely different story.

9 comments

  1. Anonymous3:22 PM

    It is true that everyone can be creative. I have seen amazingly creative women who could make ten types dishes, knit sweaters with complicated patterns, draw, knit, paint etc. But they do not get recognition because in traditional Indian households, women are supposed to know all this. They give serious complex to normal uncreative people. With men from old school, anything other than providing for the family is useless. Some may associate creativity with femininity. People from older generation in India looked down upon music and dance. There was certain taboo associated with it. So much so that watching movies was considered equivalent to smoking or drinking. Initially, men used to dress up as women in movies. Today we know everything about our movies stars but virtually nothing is known many of famous stars of yesteryear. With time. ofcourse that taboo got diminished.

    In India, if your parents are in a creative field, music, drama, sports, then children pick up these skills. I guess it is the same every year. For long creativity was dismissed as useless "How will you earn your living??" was a more important question. These days ofcourse it is refreshing to see schools encouraging different activities for children. However, people like us who are from the older generation are still skeptical of anything which distracts children from academics and is time consuming. Old habits, I guess. The child does not need to sprint ahead, just jog along on the academic track. We are satisfied. He needs push only during the last lap i.e. high school, when the push comes to shove. Till that time he can merrily jog along.

    About creativity, do you remember the climax of "Tare Zamee Pae" where the entire school along with the teachers were told to draw. Some were reluctant and then the child in them took over and the drew to their heart's content. It was so heart warming. I sometimes feel that there is definitely a child in every adult which is waiting to be released.

    Apple

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    1. Oh yes I remember that time in the movie, I was crying. I could not stop the tears, because for once in that child's life he was being recognised for something.

      Creativity is subjective, the moment you create, you are creative. And it doesn't matter if you end up making a living out of it. Hobbies are very important things to have. Arts and sports in school are perceived as useless in India, but they in fact help kids make many brain connections they would not otherwise and boost their learning capability. Children learn through motion and play, this has been scientifically proven. Allowing a couple of hours in the curriculum to paint and draw is a very good thing because it helps children use their brain in a different way. It is also a relaxing activity that boost endorphins, which are essential for a all round development and lowering stress levels, stress which can otherwise damage organs and the overall functioning of the body.
      In Switzerland until the end of elementary school, which is around 6th Standard a child has to have 6 hours of sports a week, and 4 of creative classes, usually 2 hours of drawing and 2 of either sewing classes or woodwork, which we end up doing both as it is usually spread in one semester of sewing and one semester of woodworking. In my school there was also a 2 hours of singing as we had a folk choir, something common in Switzerland.
      From Standard 7 till 9th it is 2 hours of sports a week, two hours of either woodwork or sewing and two hours of art class. From the highschool level age 15 to 19 it is 2 hours of sports a week and 2 hours of art, unless you took an art major at which point it is 10 hours of art. School hours in week are between 30-35 during all these years.

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    2. Anonymous5:00 PM

      Yes, that movie created a lot of awareness about children and their world. I too was crying. Creativity is important for children and especially children with disabilities often visual learning is very effective. Special children have fantastic visual memories but they have problems in daily life. In this context, visual arts are very important. We are slowly coming to terms with the needs of children. These days schools have special educators for children.

      My son was hyper active and has speech delay. We got him into therapy two and half years ago. Working with him, has exposed us to a whole new fascinating world. He is making good progress though. Yes, we sometimes get worried like all parents. We get impatient. What if....?? frightening questions. He is naughty like other children but often unable to communicate his feelings to others due to lack of speech. Now, he utters words according to his needs. He is doing well often better than other children because his disability makes him concentrate more and pick out the finer details which we miss out. My wife has put in a lot of hard work. We have our fears and apprehensions. I am specially delighted when he breaks something, or jumps from one place to another. It is reassuring to know that he is like other boys. Nuisance, yes, but he is a work in progress, I guess. The society at large has still to develop sensitivity towards such children. I sometimes think perhaps god wanted us to have this experience, to learn something new every day.

      Apple

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    3. My daughter also has issues focusing on a topic for too long, nothing too serious as of now, but I am keeping an eye on her, meanwhile, I enrolled her in a weekend gymnastic class. The class has done wonder improving her focus, because she has to be more aware of her surrounding and own body during the class. You need focus to stand on a beam with one foot in the air. And because each exercises in the class are varied and of short duration it makes it easier for her to follow through with it. One of the example of why physical activity actually contribute greatly to the overall development of a child.

      I myself have no learning disability, but I am a highly visual learner. Rote learning is totally wasted on me, I need to see to learn, and preferably do as well because my second strength is a kinetic memory.
      I remember being scolded for doodling during lectures in my school days, and then baffle teachers for giving a good performance during exams. They could not fathom how I got to score high having spend all the lessons doodling away. The truth was that I was instinctively helping myself remember what they were talking about. I can't assimilate and memorise a lecture without visual support. Doodling provided that support.
      It has now been proven by scientists that people who doodle remember things better, and it seems that the rate of remembrance is even higher for those who have a more visual memory. Yet some teachers still think doodling is a lack of attention marker.

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  2. Anonymous4:34 PM

    Nice post. I really admire people who can write well and I'm very envious of them. Especially those people whose words can have a lot of impact on people reading their work. I'd live to write but I feel I just don't have a gift for words like you. I simply maintain a journal. Anyways I actually came to share this link. How Indians always try to indianize other cuisines. This list is such a laugh riot. :) It went viral on twitter.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/saffrontrail/no-birizza-for-me-thank-you?s=mobile

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    1. Thank you!
      That list is hilarious by the way, and I have come across many of the dishes in the list. I really remember Brizza and told my husband that if one really wanted a Biryani Pizza Hut would really be the last place to go. They managed to insult Indians and Italians with that dish :-)
      And I saw these weird idli and dosa things in Mumbai, never saw them in Bangalore but a month or two after arriving in Mumbai I got handed a chaat menu with sechuan dosa, idli manchurian and what not and it left me gaping. I haven't tried one yet and really won't, there are some fusions that are sacrilegious and should never be attempted.

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  3. A very encouraging post that addresses all the mindset issues that hold back a person from DIY.

    Some people think, it's a waste of time that takes attention away from curricular engagements of school or office. But not so. Engaging in creative activities only energizes us and broadens our perspectives. The effect may not be direct, but most of it will indirect.

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    1. Creative activities use different areas of the brain, having creative breaks at school or in the workplace only helps give some rest to the otherwise used brain area while engaging others and helping to make more neurological connections. It is definitely not a waste of time at all and should be encouraged. It seems that engaging in many activities and trying new things also helps the brain staying young, in Switzerland senior citizens are encouraged to continue trying. New things and engaging their minds into puzzles, games, and craft activities. They have many senior classes in various topics. My husband was amazed at how active and happy 80 years old women were in Switzerland and how many were still going hiking or swimming or went out to be with friends. You don't see a lot of that in India.

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  4. Anonymous11:55 AM

    I am reminded of the Ashrama System of ancient Indians. The life expectancy was considered to be 100 years. The different stages of life were divided into 25 years slots:-

    1. Brahmachraya Ashram (upto 25 years) Children were send to gurukuls or boarding schools in the middle of forests, where they got education and lessons in self reliance.

    2. Grihayastha Ashram (25-50 years) The householder phase, people were required to fulfill their responsibilities towards family and society at large. In short, to become a productive member of the society.

    3. Vanaprastha Ashram (50-75): The householder slowly detaches himself from worldly life and engages in spirituality and working for the greater good of mankind, being an active member of the society.

    4. Sanyasa (from 75 onwards): Renouncing worldly life, attachments etc., going to forest and dedicating the rest of the life to god.

    I am not an expert on Hinduism. I may be slightly wrong with the time period. This is something I read long time ago. Human life roughly follows the same stages more or less. The last two stages are very important where an individual thinks about his own betterment as well as the society through spirituality, social work and other pursuits. This stage may come earlier but we are so involved in our own lives that it sometimes more difficult to think about something else. Unfortunately, we have not been able to detach ourselves Maya (worldly attachments)- family, friends, money etc. This is why older people remain under utilized in India when their talent and experience could be put to good use for the society as well as betterment of their own lives. This is more difficult than it sounds as the grip of Maya is very strong. I guess the western world has absorbed the essence of the Ashrama system much earlier. Oh, I sound like a guru.

    Apple

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