During a recent vacation to London, I purchased a new book entitled Craftfulness by Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin. It’s a timely work and supports what I believe about the pursuit of crafting and its relationship to creativity. Creativity is in all of us; and by discovering what this might be (if you haven’t already), a craft or making something with your hands is one way in which we can achieve being creative.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, society was primarily agrarian. People were skilled at making things with their hands, and made all their necessities of life, including food, clothing, and shelter. Handicrafts were highly valued, and an important aspect to life. Post Industrial Revolution, crafts became devalued, as human time was spent working long hours in factories. Crafting was delegated to the “hobbies” of wealthy women.
Over time, being creative was also felt to be confined to those with natural artistic ability; indeed a destructive myth. Crafts became consigned to church sales, gift shops, and markets; losing its meaningful image. During my art history education, I witnessed first hand the elitist views fine artists (painters, sculptors, illustrators) have about craft. One of my papers was a critique of a local exhibit of fine arts and textiles from the Bauhaus Design Movement. The Bauhaus school of thinking combined all art forms, including textiles and craft, greatly influencing modern design. When my paper was presented, I was the only student who focused on the importance of textiles to the Bauhaus philosophy, much to the surprise of the fine art students. This response proved to me, as a textile design major, how little we value craft. Fast forward to 2018, and thankfully we are living in an exciting time, and witnessing a revolution of craft.
The premise of this inspirational book, Craftfulness, is that being creative is simply making something with your hands, using your imagination to produce an object. For all the knitters out there, you can agree there are numerous benefits to knitting besides pure enjoyment, and is now recognized as a form of therapy. The research for this book, found that any craft endeavour is reported by makers to re-energize, destress, and resolve problems. This book proved to me why we need to craft. I’m inspired to try a new craft, are you?
I would highly recommend adding this book to your reading list. “Craftfulness: Mend yourself by making things” can be purchased from Amazon and ibooks.