I’m 42 years old and by day I’m a Project Co-ordinator. I’ve been a maker for as long as I can remember, dabbling in origami, crochet, macramé, bead weaving and braiding and probably some other stuff too! I tend to teach myself new craft skills, scouring the internet for information.
More recently my focus has moved to working with wood, having previously only worked with it in CDT sessions at school, and I can say that I’m really enjoying it. The change in direction was due to health issues, for both my partner and I, we wanted to find a mutual interest that we could do at home… so we built a woodshop!
It’s been a steep learning curve, as I hadn’t used a lot of the bigger power tools and machinery before. However the more I learn to use them, the more my imagination opens up with ideas. Our focus to begin with has been band saw boxes, but I also make jewellery. My partner prefers bigger construction-type jobs. I’ve been teaching myself woodcarving, which really appeals to my creative side, and also purchased a wood lathe recently. My Dad used do woodturning, and it’s something I’m very keen to learn. Wood is such a versatile material.
I believe crafting and making has a positive impact both on our mental health and our thinking skills. Creativity can sometimes be bypassed as an unnecessary skill, but I find it helps me look at things in different ways and develops my ability to problem solve. As far as mental health goes, I get such a massive sense of achievement when I’ve learnt something new, finish a project, or get into that state of flow. It is wonderfully relaxing and almost a state of meditation. Making keeps me occupied when I’m not able to get out of the house, which there’s a lot of these days!
In craft, as in life, we have to embrace the fact that we don’t always get everything ‘right’. If we don’t take the risk, in spite of potential fears of messing up, we may not find motivation to start in the first place. Those fears of getting it wrong can inhibit ideas forming. If a project didn’t turn out the way you planned, you can always give it another go or find an alternative way of doing things. Or even better, you may be happy with the outcome, finding it is better than your original design! So the lesson is: try something new, give it a go… the biggest failure might actually be not trying at all.
I’d love to see more women venture into woodwork, as it’s typically a male-dominated arena, particularly carpentry and joinery. I’d encourage other women to have a go and to really challenge these stereotypes!