Some people just have a knack, a talent if you will, for crafts and making things. Not that this talent can’t be learned if it doesn’t come naturally, but those who are born with this ability seem to crave it and never get enough.
I have always considered myself in the crafty category; I like to make things and work with my hands. I worked in a wood shop for 13 years where we made store fixtures. This involved reading blueprints, cutting the lumber, machining it, assembling and then finishing the product. We were always working on “government projects” where we could use all the machinery and any scrap materials to make projects of our own. I have made stands, cabinets and toys as gifts.
I have always liked doing photography, liked to put my thoughts into writing and even started painting. So, I have done professional photos, written professionally, and sold paintings at craft shows. There is a point for me telling you all of this. Before you think, “Wow, it must be nice to be talented,” let me tell you that it can also be a curse. You see, the more that you do, the more you want to do…and there is just so much out there to experience!
I was reminded of this just recently when my friend Judy and I got together to do just a simple (so I thought) project. Judy is like the master craftsman. I guarantee that there is hardly anything she won’t try. She is accomplished in gardening, sewing, needlepoint and so much more.
For our project, we needed just a couple yards of material so she could set some quilt blocks together for me. So, we set out on our excursion to Joann Fabrics. Now, it had been a while since I had been in the store and I sure got an eye-opener!
Being a seamstress is definitely not one of my talents; fabric just does not excite me like it does Judy. She had told me how many choices they have from which to choose and that it would be hard to even pick a shade of a certain color. Come on, certainly not!
Well, I knew that I wanted a blue and a purple fabric. I soon found out that blue isn’t blue. I have never seen so many shades of blue, so many patterns in blue and so many different textures — just in blue! It was that way with every color. It was literally a sea of color, and color can always lift my mood. I love color. I can see why she always feels like a kid in a candy store here. But it wasn’t just us. In most every aisle, women were feeling the fabric and oohing and ahhing. How could material excite me like this? It never did before.
They even had holiday prints that told stories. There was a heavenly blue with small villages printed on it, draped in glittery snow. This wasn’t what I came in for, but I had to have some; it would certainly make a nice table runner. Then there was this soft white material that reminded you of fresh-fallen snow with pine cones and branches covering it. We both had to have some; after all, a table runner should be reversible, right? Then there was fabric replicating the night sky with bats, witches on broomsticks and pumpkins strewn across it. We did resist that one. And this was just the holiday section!
I thought I had to restrain myself when I went into a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but this was just as bad. When we finally moved out of the fabric aisles, there were rows upon rows of yarn. We do crochet. We saw every color of embroidery floss. We both do needlepoint. They even had acrylic paints, brushes and canvasses. Then it went to rows of beads for jewelry making, wood crafts for finishing and the list goes on.
So, do you begin to see our dilemma? There is so much that we do but we want to try more. The problem is that there is only so much time in a day. Even though we are both retired, if we live to be 99, there will never be enough time to dabble into everything.
Besides time, the other factor is cost. No matter what craft or hobby you choose, it is not cheap. There are certain supplies that you have to buy no matter what you are into. I have boxes and boxes of photos that would look so nice scrapbooked into an album. A couple of friends have whole rooms set up for just this purpose. However, you need all the cutters, different papers (which there are as many of those as there are different fabrics) and stickers. I know that I would like it and that is why I haven’t tried it. I don’t have the money, the time or the space for this along with my photography and painting and writing.
When we finally did leave the store, of course we had so many other ideas of things we would like to try. One thing that tops both of our lists is pottery. We would both like to give this a whirl and Judy has already checked into a potter’s wheel and kiln. Here again, price and space. I am pretty sure that I will like it but not enough to buy all the necessities. So, we both decided to take a class and make one piece. At least we will have tried it.
We both definitely have this curse. It’s not a want, it’s a need that comes from somewhere down deep inside that we want to try it all. Anyone into crafts will tell you the same, it’s a hopeless situation.
So, what is next on my list, after pottery of course. I’ve always wanted to try ceramics and, since I already paint, that should be no big deal. I will always love the feel of wood so I want to try wood burning and woodprints, where you transfer photos onto the wood itself.
The upside to this curse is that we can make some really unique gifts for the special people in our lives. We just feel that homemade and handcrafted is far better than the purchased gift because people will know the time and effort that went into making it. The downside is always the time. Life itself still takes precious time from our creativity.
Judy and I both feel the frustration. I watched her as we checked out all the aisles in Joann’s. Her eyes lit up as she perused each new endeavor. As she succumbed to the time and cost barriers, she sighed, “I’m sorry I’m so talented!”