I first got into crafting about two years ago, by making cards. Someone had suggested to me as they’d found a good distraction from their pain. I soon found I enjoyed it, but wasn’t very good at it. I then gave jewellery go and loved it. Eventually I started selling to friends and family, and sell extras at my website www.sparklyplace.co.uk. I don’t make anything from it – just enough to let me replace beads and findings.
Over time I have found a lot of disabled people are also into crafting of different types. It’s not surprising; it’s very relaxing and has other benefits. It gives you pride in something you’ve accomplished, and most importantly – it does give a distraction from pain. It doesn’t make it go away, but anything that concentrates your brain and means you aren’t therefore focusing on whatever is hurting.
At school my art teachers told me to my face I was terrible; my stick figures run screaming in terror, and I was always envious of my friend’s creations. While I’ve always enjoyed writing, I didn’t feel I had a creative bone in my body.
I’ve since realised there are lots of ways to be creative, and my art teachers shouldn’t have been so narrow minded. If I picked up a paintbrush, the results wouldn’t be pretty, but I can design and create a piece of jewellery.
There are some downsides. Crafting is expensive and can be very addictive. I, along with many others, find more time is spent buying pretty beads than actually making. I spend lots of evenings on eBay and bead websites, and then gulp when it comes to paying the bill! I have then spent a fortune on storage for all the bits and bobs I’ve purchased.
There are lots of things I’d love to try, but starting a new hobby is a huge outlay, and it’s difficult to try something out without signing up to expensive classes. I’d love to give pottery a go, glass etching and working with wood. I’d like to make my own beads, stamp metal and learn how to work with polymer clay. One day, I hope! I have just purchased a photography class on Groupon – with the idea of learning how to take better photos of my jewellery.
One particular joy I have found is creating awareness jewellery for various rarer conditions/disabilities. Anyone can find a pink stretchy bracelet for Breast Cancer, but when you have a condition not many people have heard of, then there is an appreciation for buying a handmade bracelet to spread awareness or to commemorate a diagnosis. While I do charity auctions, I just don’t make enough to be able to donate to the charities each time which is a future aspiration. I do supply the Charcot Marie Tooth Disease website with awareness bracelets, and I’d love to be able to do more of that.
If you haven’t crafted before, please do pick something that takes your fancy and give it go. The cheapest craft I’ve found is a colouring in book. Hey, it totally counts!