Over the last few weeks I’ve been reflecting on my love for making, where it comes from and why it means so much to me. It has been prompted in part by Kate’s new series of A Playful Day podcasts and blog posts, themed around The Maker’s Year
Making has always been a source of joy to me, from sewing doll’s clothes as a child through to escaping boredom and homesickness at boarding school, crafting clothes and gifts for friends and university and work, preparing for marriage and parenthood and now crafting with and for my daughters.
For me, as a Christian, it all begins with being made in the image of a Creator God (Genesis 1:27). I believe that we are all given different gifts, which are to be used to serve and encourage others (1 Peter 4:10).
Out of this flows everything else. I love supporting my daughters in discovering their gifts; in writing patterns, tutorials and sharing my creative experiences it is my hope that I can encourage you, my readers, too.
With creativity comes community. It’s so special to have local crafty friends who understand each other, and to be connected to creative folk around around the world through social media. Years of language study and then living in Belgium have paid off, giving me access to blogs and patterns in French and Dutch and allowing me to understand little bits of work in other languages. Podcasts bring beautiful international voices into my home that I had been missing in recent years, having moved to an area where they are few.
My family – on both sides – is full of creative influences and I’m thankful to be able to continue where others have begun, using materials, tools and manuals that have been passed down to me. My mother’s family have strong roots in the wool industry and my paternal grandmother was a lifelong needlewoman who had taught girls up to School Certificate during the 1930s and 40s and later becoming a primary school teacher. One of the sewing texts that I still use was hers at teacher training college.
Both the process of creating and the end product bring me delight, and puzzling through garment construction or 3D forms is a favourite part of my craft. Having sewn from patterns since my early teens, I’ve recently ventured into drafting my own (as shared recently in Growing a handmade wardrobe) and have so much more still to discover.
My influences are varied: the natural world, my girls, books, magazines, podcasts, blogs, crafty friends, exploring fabric shops and much more besides. The vibrant colours of the Indian subcontinent, Mexico and the Mediterranean make my heart sing.
I love a challenge, so when asked, “Could you make a….?” I usually find myself researching options enthusiastically. This might be a mermaid’s tail, a dinosaur hat, a Frozen-inspired dress for one of the girls or matching bibs and wheelchair arm covers for a friend’s child. It’s a privilege to make something unique that brings joy to the recipient or helps make a tough time more bearable. Here are just a few of the responses to such challenges, including a box full of crocheted breasts for a new group of breastfeeding peer supporters in Scotland!