After weeks of reading other's blogs and nursing a festering case of blog envy, here I am. (Rather nasty imagery I realize, but festering just works for me.) Guess I should start with a Manifesto, a Mission Statement, a Declaration of Intent, some explanation of why I would carve time out of my precious few creative hours to spend yet more time in front of the PC.
First, exactly which crafts are we talking about here? Well, I’m a knitter, rubber stamper, quilter and scrapbooker. There no order to that list. I do them all. Sometimes all in a day, but more often in wild creative bursts. I do whichever interests me whenever. Knitting soothes me, stamping connects me to friends, quilting inspires me, scrapbooking connects me to family. And you can mix all those subjects and verbs up too – they all do all of those things. And they interconnect so beautifully. They all share of deep love of supplies – oh the stuff of them!
Blogs, Yahoo groups, personal web sites, commercial site chat boards - I've perused them all. Sure, I have a life - I do things in person. I go to stores, to the occasional class, have a few like-minded friends, but let's face it, it's hard to drag all your stuff into the store to show off and you don't want to be that customer they hide from... "oh gawd, here she comes again..." The festivals and conventions are great, but they're annual and sometime require travel. I want to post and share stuff now. Gimmie what I want NOW says the frazzled mother of a two year old.
It's about sharing. In this big, bad world those of us who enjoy artistic endeavors, but who fine ourselves outside of the traditional definitions of fine art, have found solace in on-line connections. Looking for others who do what we do. Who play as we play. Who understand the desire to create with our own hands, to wallow in color and texture, to feel the pure pleasure of getting into a creative "zone". The glory of crafting is that you can start without special training, without being an "artist" and end up really pleasing yourself, regardless of how "good" you get. The final product may only be for yourself, your family or your friends, but it's a piece of art that was made outside of your roles of wife/girlfriend, friend, mother/daughter. Maybe the recipient is a friend, maybe the subject is family, but the making of the art was done inside your mind, in that place we all share, but cannot ever fully know in one another. Sharing the experience of art - of making art - is about as close as we get to connecting with other people sometimes (let's leave sex out of this one). For some it's music, for some dance, for me, it's making things with my hands.
I named this site The Crafty Wench. Just plain Crafty Wench was taken (though she's only posted once - name abuser) . I was surprised to get it actually. I've referred to myself with that title (jokingly) for years now, so I'm pleased. In college we said Art F**ked, not very pretty, but accurate for a certain type. Artsy Fartsy is popular, but we used F**ked for a reason. Those to whom we applied it were deeply in love with their image as an ar-teest; production and product ran a distant second. Style was everything. Exclusion for uncoolness was standard. I did live in this world for a while, but I always chaffed against the exclusionary policies (not written, but as solid as any contract). When I discovered crafting (beginning with art stamping) I found a world of people - usually women - who are interested in the production of art and generally accept all comers. Here are people who unabashedly want to love what they do and want others to love it too. This doesn't mean it always has to be pretty, or wrapped up in bows or always easy to explain. That said, on the whole, they aren’t afraid to have something be pretty. Yeah, I said it, let me shout it: PRETTY. There, done. I've admitted the cardinal sin of the arty set: I like pretty things. I like gut wrenching, soul-searching, hard-to-look-at art as much as the next humanities major, but hey, what can I say, I like pretty things too. Gorgeous rich color and texture makes my day. Makes me happy.
So what am I going to do with this blog? I’m going to post my knitting projects, join knit-a-longs, share my scrapbook pages with friends and family, upload my latest stamped art and generally get this stuff from my desk to the world at large. If no one ever comes, I’ll still have had a place to organize my thoughts for my creative day and visit the stuff I’ve sent out into the world.