February 3, 2009

"Craftions" speak louder than words...

Normally I would save something like this for the Friday Favorites, but while blog-skimming this morning, I came across this article from CraftStylish called Crafting Your Personality. An interesting read, to say the least-- basically the author's musings on the crafts she has and hasn't tried, as well as how she does it, and what that says about her. So I thought it would be fun to do the same here.

It's pretty obvious from the blog title that sewing is my main deal--the one I'm most involved with and the one I've been doing the longest. Since I primarily make clothes and other fashion-related things (bags and such), for me, it's the main way that I express myself. I think it goes back to private school dress codes-- the school I went to for most of my life was pretty strict on several things about the dress code. No blue jeans, except on special dress-up days. No T-shirts. Knit shirts for girls couldn't be too tight, too short, or too low-cut. No tank tops. No skirts that were shorter than 4" above the knee, when kneeling on the ground. (That one alone motivated me to sew, because those were virtually impossible to find in the average juniors' size store unless they were long skirts.) And I've always been one who hated preppy clothes and having brand names plastered all over myself. So while the majority of my classmates shopped at the Gap and (my most-loathed store) Abercrombie & Fitch, I was the girl who sewed herself skirts out of funky fabrics, wore vintage jackets from the thrift store (or ones that my mom had sewed when she was a teenager in the 70s), and absolutely loved it when people complimented my outfits and then found out I made that. (Now people ask me if I made it before they ask me where I got it. But generally after a compliment, so I'll take that as a good thing.)

I think it encompasses a lot of different facets of my personality. There's the earthy, hippie, tree-hugger side of me who loves flowy skirts, natural fibers, and recycling clothes via reconstruction. There's the not-so-inner fantasy/sci-fi geek, who loves it when I can bring that Renaissance influence into my modern-day stuff, and will spend hours researching a costume or replicating the embroidery on a favorite movie dress onto a shirt *cough*, just so I can giggle at my own private geeky joke. There's the career woman side, who is trying to look quasi-professional, but with an artsy twist because I don't have to work in an office and music means I'm allowed to be quirky. And then there's the wannabe indie rocker/kid that never wanted to grow up who still loves glitter and shiny things and not dressing mainstream.

The jewelry-making is kind of an extension of that. After all, a girl needs accessories! And, since I generally don't like repetitive crafts, it's a good brainless repetitive craft for me. Stringing a necklace is a very low time commitment, most of the time. And, honestly, I'd always take a funky beaded necklace or a handcrafted silver ring over the fine (read: expensive and overrated) jewelry that gets advertised on tv a lot this time of year. Guess it goes back to that earthy hippie thing.

And then there's the scrapbooking. That's where my inner artist comes out to play, both because I love taking pictures and I love making collages. Plus I'm a very nostalgic person-- I'm the one who saves all her movie and concert ticket stubs, writes in journals and actually does look back at them on occasion, keeps every note I ever get from a significant other (at least until the relationship ends), etc. I like to remember the good times and the people I had them with.

Now that I think about it, the way I do these crafts probably says something about me, too. When I'm sewing from a pattern, I rarely follow it exactly-- I'll mix elements from different views to get the look I want, I'll make things longer, widen the straps, etc. I'm getting to the point where I don't really look at directions much, unless it's things like attaching linings (still trying to master that), a pattern with a lot of details, or a technique I'm unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. I'm not really a rule-breaker, if I'm honest, but I like to follow the rules my own way, and that seems to reflect that. But then for stuff like clothing reconstructions and jewelry, I rarely follow directions at all and completely wing it. I guess that's the artsy part of me that likes improvisation and spontanaeity. I've mentioned before that I'm not really into highly repetitive crafts, like knitting/crocheting/quilting (though I have a definite appreciation for the end product!) I'm thinking that's because routine pretty much drives me crazy. (One of the things I love most about my music work is that my schedule, though generally similar from week to week, is different every weekday. So it's not like I'm going to the same place doing the same thing with the same people all the time.) But there's a methodical side to me too, which seems to come out a little more in my scrapbooking. The method I've found that works best for me is to do all the prepwork in advance (do the writing, develop the photos, choose the papers, sketch out a design, etc.) and then just sit down and throw a bunch of them together at once. With room for improvisation, of course, if I don't like the way it looks. My pages tend to be pretty linear and stuff too, though I'm trying to break away from that some.

I've always said that I'm a walking contradiction. I guess these observations just support that theory.

What about you? What does the type of crafting you do or the way you craft say about you?

2 comments:

  1. I think my crafts especially say that I'm overflowing with ideas and unable to bring them all into life... that I'm interested in so many things that it sometimes prevents me from being FULLY interested in at least one of them...
    Sewing is definitely a practical outlet of my old love of geometry and geometric bodies. :-) That love never went further than an interest, but now it shines through my sewing. I love seeing something 2D turn into something 3D.
    I also like reconstructing things... giving a new chance to useless things. Maybe this has something to do with my inclination to think that bad characters in novels and films actually aren't so bad and after the events described in given book or film they actually turned good. And I've always loved characters that did turn good already during the course of the story... Finding things useful for reconstructing and reusing is also sort of a treasure hunt for me. And it's also a sign of my overall unability to throw anything away.
    I also don't like repetitive crafts so much. Unlike you, though, I quite like them when done in small amounts. Few rows every now and then... That goes for knitting, and bobbin lace which I started learning last summer from my grandma. I've never been much into crochet; I tend to pick the wrong yarn for the project and wrong size of hook and to make it too tight. That doesn't add to the excitement.
    Then there's the "edible craft". I love cooking and baking. I can't make the fancy and cute kind. I can't make a smooth frosted cake; I can't make perfectly round cookies with chocolate chips for eyes. But I can put together smoked sprats and yoghurt; I can throw some bananas into a sponge cake; I can read a recipe for leavened buns and then freehand it without the recipe at hand. I think that's why I love cooking. I always try to understand the system of something instead of learning things word by word. So I get into the system of cooking something and then play around with it. It's not fancy, but it's fun and edible - and often also tasty as a bonus.
    I work with wire from time to time. This, I guess, is a variation on "2D to 3D". And my love for ornamental things, like Art Nouveau and Celtic designs and that kind of things...
    Embroidery... I don't do much of that, because I can't find much use for that - and I hate doing things that end up covered with dust, because I've already made too many of those. But I love embroidery. Cloth without embroidery is like a meal without spices: they're not as necessary as salt, but it's nicer when they're present. It's colourful and often also artistic. I definitely am sort of artistic. Not so sure about colourful, but I like colours. :-)
    I tried weaving, too. I love seeing yarns turn into sort of cloth. It's fascinating. Like magic.
    Hm... maybe it would be easier to write about crafts I never did... I don't do scrapbooking. I'm not the fancy type, as I already mentioned. A simple album suffices for my photos (not to mention my recent photos are digital ones). Maybe I also don't do it because of all the ideas I'm overflowing with. I wouldn't be able to dedicate so much time into just sorting out things in fancy manner. Well, scrapbooking is not just that, but it's what it's like to my mind oveflowing with ideas.
    But I'm interested in bookbinding.
    I don't work with wood. I think I'm a bit too afraid of sharp things.
    Well, I think I'll stop here before it becomes too long to read.

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  2. Interesting question to ponder - I think my creations mostly show that I'm analytical and often stuck in analysis paralysis. :) And that I'm more interested in figuring out how to do things rather than actually doing them. But I like having finished objects I can wear or use, too, so there's a bit of a tension there.

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