I grew up in a house with a mother who suffered from serious craft envy. Anyone who could sew a dress, decorate a cake or stencil a t-shirt, was in her mind, truly gifted. Even though she had proven her strengths in other areas, craft skills or anything slightly creative eluded my mother.
It wasn't as if she didn't try. Our cupboards were full of half finished projects. The jumper that had never progressed from a sleeve, the macrame pot holder with huge gaping holes. Every now and again we'd rediscover one of Mum's 'projects' in the back of the cupboard. When looking for a cleaning cloth either my sister or I couldn't help but stir the pot a little "oh look Mum, here's the dress you started making me five years ago". It was a bit of an ongoing joke. She could balance your books, talk payroll tax and set you up on the latest Accounting Software, but when it came to tying a bow or making a ballet costume we learnt to outsource.
I was at a gorgeous dinner party recently, the reason I say gorgeous is the table setting looked like something out of vogue living. Beautiful decorations, place settings and dinnerware. One of the guests picked up a very 'Etsy' looking napkin ring and asked the host if she'd made it. A very indignant "NO" was the reply, followed by "do I look like a woman who crafts?" I understood where the sentiment came from, our host has a full time job and two young children, maybe she felt it was obvious that she was too busy to be stitching and sewing. What I found curious was the indignation, she sounded almost a little hurt or offended. I wondered about the indignation. What DOES a woman who makes craft look like?
Is it possible that as our careers have progressed craft has become a dirty word to the modern woman? Is it uncool to enjoy crafts?
What do you class as craft? Shabby Chic photo frames? Macrame? Knitting? Sewing? Crochet? Scrap booking? All of these activities require a learned skill combined with the hope of producing something useful or beautiful. I have friends who describe knitting and scrap booking as their form of therapy, a time to get away from a computer screen, a time to think and be creative.
A girlfriend of mine tells me she has become a 'closet scrapbooker', when I asked why she was keeping her hobby on the down low she explained she was tired of the condescending comments about the banality of it all. "People tend to infer that their lives are too busy, that I obviously have nothing better to do. I see their opinion of me diminishing, they're imagining me making tea cosys and crocheted doilys".
Ever heard the term "stitch and bitch" used to describe a group of women who quilt together or sew as a group? The name doesn't exactly conjure up a feeling of support and togetherness, but in reality that's usually exactly what it provides. There are currently thousands of quilting groups around the world not only serving as both an opportunity to quilt but also a chance to connect and share with others, something women have done for centuries. In the online world you can't help but make the analogy of women coming together with blogging, twitter and online forums. Is it cooler to gather around technology than it is around fabric? Surely the CEO can let loose on the sewing machine if that's what takes her fancy?
Unfortunately, it appears I have inherited the non craft gene from my mother. You only need to look at any of my birthday cake decorating attempts or the fact that none of my children will let me anywhere near them on dress up day with a tube of face paint "Mummy, even I don't know what I'm dressed up as by the time you're finished with me." My knitting has never progressed from a very short scarf but still I remain hopeful that I just haven't found my 'thing'.
For those of you that can craft, I salute you and I envy you. For those like me that can't, maybe this web site will provide some comfort. In the meantime have a giggle at this little craft fail (it'll make you feel better).
This is what it was meant to look like
This was the result:
Feel better? Are you crafty?