A new domestic reality – craft envy

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By Jane Copeland

Posted on July 27, 2012

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It’s 5am on Sunday morning and 38 year old Business Development Manager, Michelle, is loading up the boot of her BMW with candles. In the next four hours she’s hoping to sell her handmade candles at the Mt Tambourine markets inQueensland.

Photo credit: Hey Gorgeous

Later that day in Bondi, Sydney, former Project Manager, Catherine, 40,  is completing  an application to enrol in a part-time ceramics course at her local college. Since Cat’s been on maternity leave she’s taken to making bibs and beanies and giving them away to friends. She’s thinking she’ll try her hand at making bowls and is even considering not returning to work.

A lot can happen in a year. Twelve months ago I had waved ‘toodles’ to my corporate gal pals as I disappeared from the social scene to have a baby. Back then I considered neither Cat or Michelle to be the crafty types. However I was proved wrong for cocktails, high-heels and long hours, have been traded for wax, clay and sewing.

Apparently, this is not a new concept.  You see, Michelle and Cat are part of a massive resurgence in craft. A late bloomer, it’s only become obvious to me since I’ve resurfaced from the new mum bubble. Perhaps I am noticing it now, because being a new mum I’m consuming content and blogs like all the women I know are consuming tea these days – a lot. The more blogs I read, the more ideas and DII projects there are to be inspired by.  Note the word inspired. I thought these DIY projects were there to be inspired by, then quickly filed away.  With the exception of some bloggers who exist in pretty worlds with vintage, rustic, country homes, I never thought we were actually meant to be making the stuff.

Yet it seems from Facebook to blogs to Pinterest and everything in between, everyone is actually making and creating. And we’re not talking the sponge painting your mum used to do either. No, these days traditional crafty techniques such as knitting or sewing, are being turned into pop culture, sometimes with political undertones. Have you heard of the Guerilla Knitter?

That’s right, knitting and quilting are no longer grandmotherly trappings. Instead they’re hipster hobbies.

What’s the appeal you might ask?

Well evangelists preach the empowering, environmental and money-saving qualities of DIY. A reflection of this is the fact that amidst the economic downturn, stores that sell craft supplies are seeing increased sales.

In fact, not only are people saving money with their DIY projects, they are also MAKING money by selling their creations via Etsy, the wonderfully charming, often quirky e-outlet for anything and everything handmade. Such is the success of Etsy that is has spawned an Australian based online market www.madeit.com.au.

But is it all about saving and making money?

In Making is Connecting, David Gauntlett argues that through making things, people engage with the world and create connections with each other. Both online and offline, we see that people want to make their mark on the world, and to make connections. People are rejecting traditional teaching and television, and making their own learning and entertainment instead.

Crafting has become so popular in fact, that there is even a new reality TV show called Craft Wars, due for release in June, to be hosted by Tory Spelling. According to Spelling “nothing shows love more than something homemade”.

Note to self: stop overspending on overpriced items and outsourcing stuff, instead buy glue, and anything vintage and get to work! Sadly for me though, the last time I did craft was when I tried to make K9 from Dr Who out of a cardboard box. I was eight years old.

The reason I haven’t attempted anything since this is that I am a craftastrophy. If you are occupying this niche with me then no doubt you are like me in admitting you are jealous of all these domestic creators. Yes, I have craft envy. There I admitted it.

What about you. Are you any good at DIY?

Why not share this?

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Jane Copeland.

Jane Copeland is the publisher of Copingwithjane.com and author of the book Boardroom to Baby. After giving birth to her first child at the age of 37, Jane realised that her dreams of going back to her senior management corporate job were quickly becoming a distant memory. As a result, she reinvented herself and set up the blog CopingwithJane. Now, with the reputation of being The Fairy Blogmother, and following the huge success of her blog Jane, now helps aspiring and current business owners establish their businesses online and become famous to their audience.

Get the latest info on how to create, build & market your business online, plus receive the workshop: "7 Secrets to Building an Online Brand That Makes Money" for FREE!
  • http://melissapuliphotography.blogspot.com Melissa Puli

    I’m a stay at home mum of two… and have been a Crafter for the past five years. When it comes to birthdays, DIY invitations and accessories are cheaper but time consuming. I’ve never broached the madeit market because realistically, items on there are AWESOME and I simply can’t compete!!! I’m learning how to crochet (really badly) but the Youtube is a Godsend!! I’ll keep trying (or just end up buying a ready made one from an expert Handmaker!! Awesome blog post too!! xo

    • http://www.copingwithjane.com Jane Copeland

      I’m sure your “crafts” are better than you think. You can rest assured there’s a lot worse out there http://www.regretsy.com.

  • http://thecraftymummy.com Tonya

    I’m almost scared to admit that I’m one of those crafty bloggers. But I don’t aim to inspire envy, I just aim to inspire!

    In a stage in my life where there a whole lot of repetitive cleaning, cooking, washing and other home-related tasks, I get a huge buzz out of finishing a project that is pretty or useful or will make someone smile.

    • http://www.copingwithjane.com Jane Copeland

      That makes a lot of sense.. I’m jealous!

  • http://www.shinyrabbit.com.au Cynthia of Shiny Rabbit

    I started as an artist, who worked at other things for a living. I started making to sell wearables a couple of years ago and now my partner Adam and I are growing our business through a lot of hard work but above all – love for it. It started as self expression, and turned into the sharing of self expression. And as a woman with a home life, love life and domestic committments, sharing self expression is the bee knees of being a crafty domestic human being. Sharing what makes you you is important in any way that you choose to, be it as a business or with family and friends – I think we are ‘made to share’ anything that makes us us :) I loved your article, uplifting and wonderful to know that our creativity as human beings in the world with other human beings is becoming an important and embraced part of life.

  • http://www.patchworkcactus.typepad.com Patchwork Cactus

    I’m craft blogging right now, pre-baby I spent more time making cocktails than anything else. Now shopping trips are to the op-shop (thrift store) to rummage for items that can be up-cycled. It is very satisfying (but not always cheaper)

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