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Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Passionate Crafter : Guest Blogger ~ Janine Harrison


I’m honoured to be able to write a guest blog here. It’s about my current passion which is crafting and how you can find inspiration and confidence through crafting.

Crafting is a pleasure that is currently undergoing a major resurgence. Whether it’s for environmental or budgetary reasons people are turning away from the mass produced items and looking for homemade and individual. The demand for learning new crafting skills is growing too. I hope reading this could help inspire you to try a craft. 

Sometimes the thing that could be holding a person back from trying a craft is not knowing where to get the inspiration from. I find the best inspiration of all is free and all around us – the inspiration of nature. That vein pattern of a leaf could look great as a picture, the softness of your pet dog’s fur could inspire a cuddly toy or the colours of the sky reflected in a puddle might inspire a poem or a song.

Deciding upon a craft to try for the first time can seem quite daunting, especially if you don’t feel confident in your own abilities. Starting small is the best first step, little things like doodling stick men on the back of an envelope, trying to write a short poem whilst waiting for a bus, cutting up images from magazines to stick in an inspiration scrap book, these are all little steps which allow ourselves to consider a craft. This allowing ourselves time to try something new is an inspiration in itself. Just taking 5 minutes out of the everyday to think about something creative can in itself spark more creative ideas.

Treat yourself to a visit to a craft store or haberdashery stall – you don’t have to buy anything yet we are still browsing for inspirations. What do you feel drawn to? Is it ribbons and bows, material or card? Follow your instincts. And don’t worry if you feel drawn to a material which you have no idea how to use. Supplies don’t have to be used only for their traditional roles. Buttons can be glued to cards as decoration rather than sewn to a shirt; wool can be knotted into a friendship bracelet rather than knitted into a scarf.

When you feel you have found the materials you would like to use then Charity shops are also a great resource for crafting materials. They often stock items like buttons and thread, picture frames, wool and material etc to help you start up. This is often a cheaper first option and is also re-using materials so good for the environment too. And you could score some amazing vintage item to incorporate into your work too.

Once you have some crafting materials you might still feel you need guidance on what to do next. You could consider a skills swap. Do you have friends or family who already use a craft you would like to learn? Think about asking them to swap a few lessons in return for something like babysitting, cooking a meal, putting up a shelf. Everyone has skills that someone else would like to learn, so never think you have nothing to offer. I guarantee you will have a huge list of swappable and transferable skills if you just looked at yourself from other people’s eyes. Ask your friends and family what skills they think you already have.

There are also lots of classes and clubs springing up – look for listings in local craft stores, online, in the library and at local adult education centres and ask around locally. Crafting can be a great way to bring different generations together as we all have something to share and a different way of looking at things.

Once you start crafting you may also notice an emotional change. You could feel calmer, more centred, and happier when inspired, motivated to complete a project, a sense of belonging to the wider community of crafters. I strongly believe in the healing powers of creational activities as they allow us to experience simple pleasures and become lost in the moment of creation. Personally I try to practice a mindfulness of stitchery, enjoying everything I work on, concentrating on each task in hand, and appreciating the process. And remember it isn’t a competition, there will always be people whose work seems better, neater, and more creative than our own but there will also be people thinking that about your own work too.

I hope reading this has inspired you to take the first step in learning a craft or trying a new craft and helped show that inspiration is available in abundance, materials are easily obtainable and help and guidance is out there.

Magic of the Miniscule is a way of life, a philosophy and a person. Janine has been interested in alternative health, medicine, spirituality and nature her whole life. Always interested in the smallest details her childhood involved lots of ant and bee watching and playing with her microscope! Recently she became a full time carer and amongst the many changes this entailed has also been able to resurrect some crafting skills and learn new ones. When not caring for relations she'll be found either caring for chickens, crafting or appreciating nature in its tiniest details. 

You can Find Janine at Miniscule Magic

Dawn Says: "I absolutely loved reading about Janine's passion and found it heartwarming to know just how much it has helped her on a personal level. I sincerely hope that you all enjoyed reading this just as much as I did. I am so pleased that Janine was willing to share her passion with us all here as Faerie Whisperer, and I hope she will return to write for us again. Thank you Janine xxx" 

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