Thursday, November 12, 2015

Handmade Crafting

Read Alli Palmgren's column in the November 12, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Alli is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library.

I really look forward to the first Thursday of each month. I work the late shift on Thursdays, so my mornings are generally free. This is when I make most of my appointments, run errands, and once a month, head to the Norwood Senior Center to do crafts. Now, I know that I’m closer in age to the seniors that spend their days at 245 Nichols Street than to the seniors that spend time at 275 Prospect Street, but several months ago I was actually invited to lead a monthly craft class, I jumped at the opportunity.

The seniors and staff always thank me for volunteering to lead the class, but I don’t think that they realize that I really should be the one thanking them. You see, I am a crafter that just happens to hang around with people who actively dislike crafting. I’m not saying that my friends and family don’t appreciate getting a bouquet of paper flowers or a handmade card, but none of them are jumping at the chance to actually create these items. So, being able to craft with like-minded people is my idea of a good time.

While the best part of this arrangement is having the opportunity to chat with this hilarious bunch of ladies, it also gives me an excuse to experiment with different craft projects. By the time I settle on a project for the craft group, I have made several samples of projects that didn’t make the cut and had a a lot of fun in the process.

With the rise in popularity of sites like Pinterest and the advent of instructional YouTube videos, one would think that the internet would be the best place to find crafting inspiration. Call me old-fashioned, but I find that books still offer the best craft project ideas. Anyone with a little computer know-how can start their own website or upload a photo tutorial, so there is a glut of information available for every conceivable technique and project. On the other hand, books generally have to make their way through a rigorous editing process and I find that for the most part, only the best make it to our shelves.

Of these I have one particular favorite: “Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts” (745.594 Martha). I can flip to any page and find a project that I am certain will turn out beautifully. Because Martha Stewart crafts are so popular, I often Google the project I am doing from the book to see how others have put their own twist on something or to find time-saving tips.

Another newer title that I think is particularly fun is “Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed” (745.5 Hudgens) by Victoria Hudgins. This book integrates materials that are often passed over by crafters, like concrete. While I usually lean toward paper crafts, the ladies at the Senior Center have inspired me to be a more adventurous crafter.

This month we made wreaths, next month we’ll be dabbling in water marbling holiday ornaments, but I have no idea what we’ll be doing after that, but I can guarantee that I’ll be standing in front of the 745’s with a big grin on my face.