“There is comfort in the act of creating…Whatever the object becomes, it is an expression of ourselves and our identity, quite often using techniques that have been taught to us or passed down through generations or within communities. That’s why traditional crafts can be so emotive. Often we think of someone in our lives who has crafted and it will evoke feelings of nostalgia. Imagine then, the power of this nostalgia when it opens up connections to our ancestors and our cultural heritage” (Kate O’Sullivan, Making Our Way Home, Creative Journeys).
Creating with our hands, something from start to finish can bring not only a great sense of satisfaction, but also an appreciation of our essential humanness. It is part of our evolutionary heritage to make things, modify what occurs in nature to produce something useful, beautiful, or even symbolically meaningful. Then there is the act of making itself. A time to enter a flow state, perhaps a meditative quality that imparts a sense of timelessness and calm. A respite from the hectic pace of the day-to-day. Slow crafting can be an antidote to the fast pace of technology in our lives.
Making can also transmit a more particular sense of belonging and cultural identity. For many of the artisans who partner with Folkways Craft Kits, the act of making is a proclamation of cultural pride and the preservation of traditional wisdom. For the women artisans of WomenCraft and Sidai Designs featured in the Tanzania Culture Kit, basketry and beading draw upon indigenous traditions as a means to develop new empowering ways to gain financial independence and a sustainable livelihood. For the ceramic artists of Colectivo 1050 Grados featured in the Oaxaca Culture Kit, the act of creating clay pieces, using time-honored methods, safeguards cultural knowledge even as cheap plastic imports flood local markets.
As a consumer and as a maker our actions and our choices have meaning and broad-reaching effects upon the individual and the larger human experience. This knowledge inspires us to…
Support the maker. Be the maker.