“Flat-pack” crafting

As is clear from many of my posts, I love making things: from bottling a surplus of apples, to knitting socks, to crocheting bath puffs (yet more on that in a later post… I have a new yarn to try out: a recycled cotton and acrylic blend). I accumulate scraps of ‘stuff’ – fabric, yarn, old packing material, envelopes, buttons, shiny things – and enjoy turning these into something useful or lovely or just fun. I do buy materials, particularly knitting yarn and wool for felting, but one of the enjoyable aspects of crafting and cooking for me is using things that would otherwise go to waste or have a very short useful life.

A few of my homemade cards... made with this and that!

A few of my homemade cards… made with this and that!

So, I’m not keen on packs containing everything you need for a particular project… partly because I want to make use of things I already have and partly because I like to make something that is unique. If I go out and buy a pack of “everything you need to make this lovely birthday card”, then I’ll just end up with something like everyone else has made, and I might as well have gone to Hallmark. I want to be individual and express my own creativity – even if it is a bit wonky sometimes! I know that things like knitting patterns should result in end products that are standardized, but there’s always room for creativity whether in using a yarn from your ‘stash’, choosing a new yarn, or just doing things a little bit different (for which there are endless opportunities when knitting!). I do buy nice ‘bits’ to use in my crafting, but I don’t want the whole thing handed to be in a pack.

But my current bug-bear is something pretending to be a craft when it isn’t – things that are pseudo-homemade. Just like a cake mix isn’t, to me, really homemade – a pair of slippers that come as two single flat pieces and are each fastened together with a lace (the colour of which you can choose) are not homemade. I don’t think I am a carpenter because I can build an Ikea bookcase, so constructing a pair of ‘flat pack slippers’ isn’t craft!

I guess that the issue is that craft is now ‘big business’. You only need to visit Pintrest and Etsy to see the massive interest in handmade items. And, of course, as part of the increasing drive towards consumerism, there are ample opportunities for big companies to take advantage. So, in another act of civil disobedience… cast off your desire to make the perfect card/cake/dishcloth/whatever and use up some of the things you have around the place to express your creativity. You never know, you might create a masterpiece… and you will certainly end up with something unique!

-oOo-

Many thanks to my friend Tracey for inspiring me to write this post… she blogs about her permaculture diploma at What Grows from a Seed

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2 Comments

  1. For the most part I agree with you. And the slipper sound horrible, IMO. However, I have found “flat packs” (new term for me) useful when I’m curious about a new craft. My first cross-stitch was an everything included ornament kit. Ditto for my first beadwork. And my first scrapbook page. They’re more expensive overall, but they can be a nice way to try out something new without having to figure out what you need. But yes, I always prefer to fiddle around with my own stuff once I decide I like the process.

    Reply
    • In normal circumstances ‘flat-pack’ refers to furniture that you have to assemble yourself and no real skill is required,but all the bits are there! I do agree that craft kits can be great starters and through which you are introduced to the skill.

      Reply

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