Amy Sedaris said that and I think she's nailed it. Crafting is one of the few pass times in our world that still allows for imperfections- glorifies them even. There is nothing like running your fingers along a slightly crooked stitch and imagining your grandmother sitting at her sewing machine, natural light pouring in around her, distracted by something outside the window, ending in a slight imperfection that will fuel imaginations for generations. I love the stories that live in every handmade quilt, window treatment, pillow, or wall hanging. These are the things we pass on to one another because they mean something, not because they are perfect.
The act of crafting is also wonderful for the creative brain. The repetitive nature of working with your hands can clear a cluttered mind and inspire you in entirely new ways. Nothing can compare to molding and transforming different textures, colors and smells into something new and even more beautiful.
This year I've been trying to embrace this tactile side of creation. I've loved the process, the frustration, and the reward. To hold something in your hands that you created is empowering and cathartic- especially when you get to give that new creation away to someone you love.
Earlier in the year I started small and made pillows out of some t-shirts for The Joplin Kids in Denver. I wish I had pictures of them to share. They were bulgy, a little crooked, and super soft and squishy. To see these little people I love so much snuggle the pillows during nap time and say "they smell like Sarah" was the most rewarding feeling in the world.
Most recently I made some gifts for my sure-to-be-beautiful niece, who is due in May. My wonderful friend Katrina walked me through the process of bobbins, measuring, stitches, and seam rippers with a lot of patience and little cursing (on my part). But in a couple of days the end product sat in my suitcase bound for Denver, wrapped up in coral fabric, waiting to be placed in my sister's hands. I fussed over the imperfections when she opened it, of course, but she really really loved it all. Bibs, wash clothes, and a hooded towel. I really wanted that soft baby skin to be warm and snug after baths, so I splurged a little on extra soft terry cloth and ridiculously cute fabric. It seems this little girl has me wrapped around her finger, even from the womb.
For everyone reading this, thinking to themselves, "I'm not crafty," I have news for you- You Are. If I can create things like this- and let go of the inner critic that tells me everything that come out of me must be perfect- anyone can do it. I'll let Amy Sedaris leave you with one last bit of encouragement: "If you craft, and you should, craft with abandon and don’t judge your work. It’s the process that’s important, not the final product. Remember, for every person who deems your project crap, there is another person who hasn’t seen it. The only person you have to please is yourself, and what do you know about art?"