For most of us the human experience requires using our time towards the good of others. Which is necessary, it re-enforces the relationships that help us flourish and it pays our bills allowing us lives of luxury unknown to those in poverty. For most people it also feels great to help others by offering your time, whether that is in a personal realm or professional. But I would like to present to you a way of spending some of that time on yourself. Becoming an artisan will bring you enjoyment and creativity. It will do that through the time you allow yourself to explore your craft. Being an artisan creates a sense of pride, is good for your health and it allows you an additional identity belonging only to yourself.
What gives people a sense of pride? For a lot of people it is family, work or overcoming obstacles. We all know the old adage “practice makes perfect”. That saying rings very true for those undertaking a handcrafted hobby. Consider this, we challenge ourselves with projects from work, and self-imposed “self-improvement projects” (SEE diets and exercise regimes) but I am suggesting a return to projects for your own self-growth. This type of self-growth is an intrinsic kind; you are challenging yourself for a project you WANT to take on. Yes you need to consult books and instruction manuals from time to time but you don’t have to triple check your work or stress over the final outcome, instead you are open to a road of trial and error with no right and wrong. And at the end of the road you can take pride in the fact that YOU made this item surpassing all of its challenges.
When I sit down to create a new piece of clothing, I am doing it for myself, or my friends/family. By putting aside time to make this item, I am essentially giving time to myself. In the increasingly demanding lifestyles known to most people today that action is beautifully human and sadly, largely ignored. Back when I was a little girl I watched my dad make many things. He worked with wood mostly and built all the extensions on our house as well as any renovations that were undertaken. I was able to sit with him while he worked, with a sense of serenity; not in traffic, not around other people, not watching TV, just sitting with him. I still get the same joy today when I sit alone, enjoying my company and slowly soaking in some peace. Being able to sit in solitude is good for your health. It allows you to unwind, to process your day through slow ebbs and flows while letting your mind wander. This is the joy of working with your hands, versus the experience of “working with your brain”.
Being able to call myself a designer is a wonderful feeling. I do not sell my goods, I only make them for me, but that does not mean I cannot call myself a designer. Being a designer of anything means looking at things from the perspective of proportion, contrast and colour. Once I started designing I also started noticing things of beauty with these principles all around me, in nature and everything in between. This aspect of becoming a handmade artisan is a gift in itself. It slows down life, because looking for beauty in the everyday makes one more present.
It wasn’t that long ago we made our own homes, furniture and clothing. We stopped doing that for many reasons I don’t need to explain but maybe we should not have stopped that habit completely. Spending time unwinding through the pursuit of beauty creates time for you to enjoy being alive. Through becoming an artist you will see art all around you, adding enjoyment to your everyday motions. Becoming an artist also allows you to put on another hat, one where you are an expert who can bring an idea to life solely because you wanted to. So go ahead and explore an area of design that has always intrigued you. Your life will thank you.