The joys of crafting

Houston McLaury-

There comes an odd joy when something is finished. This joy is different from finishing a long book series, a long TV show, or some other form of entertainment that is provided to you. No, this joy comes from the act of creating. There is an act of love that goes into the process of creation, whether it’s a short story, a drawing, music, needlework, or even essays and formal papers for some courses. The journey taken on the act of creation is often reward enough for some people, not to mention the sense of accomplishment that comes along with it.

Yet this is a joy that is readily being replaced; where we are not expected or held to create things simply to create, but instead to consume media simply for the act of consumption. Without craft, whether it comes from music making, writing, art, or any other number of ways we can express our deeper selves, we lose the joy that the process of creation brings us, the chance of knowledge it can depart onto us, and the risk at the connection we take when we share our creations with other people.

When creating something, it’s good to take on the mindset of “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” When you are making anything, there will be times when you doubt yourself, if you’re even skilled enough to make something, or if it will be as good as you hope it to be. But it’s important to let yourself fail. Without failure, you won’t learn and you won’t improve. So, make whatever you want. If it’s something silly, say a poem about ham sandwiches, a crocheted piece of fabric with a picture of sliced bread, or a wood carving of a snail, take joy in the act of creation.

Not everything you make needs to be a masterpiece or profound in every way. Let yourself be silly, and if you pull a deeper meaning from that silliness, you’ll be all the better for it. There is a peace that will overtake you, a focus on that subject where the world melts away. In this journey of creation, you will find joy and peace, as long as you are willing to fail, but still create something.

When I talk about the act of creation, there’s more to it than just the process and the knowledge that comes with it. In the creative process, one has to accept that you aren’t going to get everything right on the first try. This is what makes the process so frustrating: not being able to get something exactly the way you want it. But it pushes you. In failure, the mistakes you make help to inform you on what works and what doesn’t work for you. You’ll need to experiment, see what styles you like, and what form you prefer, and try to create from there.

And, thanks to the internet, there are instructions online on how to pick up a craft with ease. Or, if you’d rather learn from a book there is always the library and bookstores which can offer a whole plethora of knowledge on your craft. In this experimentation and search for knowledge, you will find an avenue that allows you to freely express yourself. Along the way, you will make mistakes, but by pushing past them or fixing them, you can make anything.

Another joy that can come from creating is the act of sharing it with another person. Sure, by sharing it or showing it to another you expose yourself to them, but in that exposure, true connection can be had. They can tell you of their own creations and through this, you can grow closer. Or you can keep your craft to yourself and have it be something just for you. Instead of making something to show it off, it would be made simply to be made, and there is beauty in that. Neither one of these approaches are wrong, so don’t be afraid to do both.

Throughout history, we have tried to improve our respective crafts. The act of creation makes us human, so never stop working on whatever craft you love. Let yourself make mistakes, be curious, search for knowledge, and make what you want to make, either for yourself or for other people. Make things that suck, make silly things, make things that are awe-inspiring, make for the sake of creation, and revel in all the joy it can bring to you.

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