“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
It is well documented that ‘crafting’ is good for you.
What is crafting about?
What does it mean?
In my Collins pocket dictionary (1981 version) craft-ing is not even in there as a word. So is it a modern word?
I found these definitions online:
the activity or hobby of making decorative articles by hand.
an art, trade or occupation requiring special skill
“crafting has emerged as a fashionable form of self-expression”
I prefer to define crafting in a simpler way…
To make something good with your hands.
Upholstery workshop with Mick Sheridan
I love crafting!
I think I always have, now that I think about it.
My earliest memory of crafting was making cutlery and crockery out of tin foil for my Barbie and my brother’s action man. I can still remember fashioning the shapes of the forks, spoons and knives out of the foil, I even made wine glasses with stems! I must have been 6 or 7 years old.
I wasn’t very academic at school and the only things that I really excelled in were art and swimming. My swimming coach did try to turn my hobby into a career but actually, at the age of 13, I was having none of it.
So the art route it was.
Art was the only ‘A’ level I passed, followed by a years Art Foundation course at Lincoln College of Art. After that, a four-year knitwear design degree at Nottingham Trent. In the eighties, there was no shame in being good with your hands and wanting a vocational career. There were academic bits to the degree obviously, and I chose to write my dissertation on West African narrow strip weaving, interestingly.
Following my degree, I spent a lot of my working life in knitwear design, followed by embroidery design, wedding dress design, then a ten-year stint in higher education, part-time lecturing. My lecturing career morphed into me becoming a full-time Project Manager working on various European funded projects. During that time I also wrote accredited qualifications and a Foundation Degree in Technical Textile Technologies.
In 2015 I took voluntary redundancy and left my Higher Education career behind me.
Make it in Wales is born
In March 2015, I launched a partnership business with a friend in Aberporth. We gathered together around 10 Welsh designer-makers and invited anyone interested in making things to come along and to try out some things with us. We had knitting, sewing, jewellery making, paper-folding, tapestry weaving, photography, dressmaking and natural dyeing.
Since 2015, MiiW has become a limited company and we now have over 20 makers collaborating with us. In this time we have developed over 25 courses together and we are developing new courses continually to add to our repertoire.
“A man (or woman) at work, making something which he feels will exist because he is working at it and wills it, is exercising the energies of his mind and soul, as well as of his body.” – William Morris
There has been plenty of recent research into the benefits of art therapy and how craft can help with self-esteem, how it alleviates depression and can improve brain function. That’s across all ages too: Youngsters, teenagers, middle-agers and the elderly. How great is it that we know this, that we know that art is good for us? Of course it’s not just the making bit that’s good for you, learning new stuff and all that, I believe the social side of crafting is just as important.
Here at Make it in Wales, we gather together to make stuff. We gather in small groups, with a common theme:
We like doing this stuff… together.
We like to learn and we like to chat. We like to laugh and learn from each other. We like to eat good food and drink delicious coffee.
It makes us happy.
So, I don’t think I need to tell you anything more about me, or the reasons why I set up Make it in Wales.
It’s all there in that sentence above.