• Thu, Aug 12 2010

How Did You Crafty People Get To Be So Crafty?

I never went to camp as a kid. I requested one that was air-conditioned, preferably inside  a building where there would be an excellent chocolate buffet and not much nature. Barring that, I was cool with the idea of just hanging out alone Eloise-style in a hotel as an 9 year old. My parents didn’t find a camp that met these requirements, probably because they didn’t love me enough. But camp Fenton Fallon? It’s like you made all my dreams come true 15 years later.

The Fenton Fallon party (at the Fenton Fallon store) the other night was, in many ways, what I always hoped camp would be. There were cocktails (from U’Luvka Vodka). There were cookies (from www.cookies.com). There was a lot of 80′s music. Really, that’s all I need.

There were also tables where we encouraged to make our own necklaces with help from the designers. And, inexplicably, all the other bloggers set upon them as if they did this every single day. I was just really planning on swilling my vodka cocktail for the evening, maybe swaying rhythmically in place to the music with my hands slightly outstretched, like an autistic dinosaur. But when in Fenton Fallon, I suppose you do as the Fenton-fallonites do.

I sat down with all the other bloggers and picked up some chains. “Be a necklace,” I muttered at the chains, “be a necklace.”

Which was the point when one of the other invitees held up her immaculately made Bib necklace with about 300 jewels poking out of it.

I tried tying some chains together with string. “How can I make this…more better?” I asked one of the designers.

“You just use the pliers, and then you get some clasps, those over there, and you’re going to want to braid everything, and then you can add on some pieces. Just take four pieces and braid them and then spiral them back on themselves.”

Right.

In conclusion, holy shit, that necklace you paid $100 for? It was worth $100 for someone’s plier beaten fingers. I would also like to point out that my necklace, with its varying array of roman coins, is awesome. You wish you had one just like it. But you can’t. Because I do not think I have the skills to make another one without a designer hovering over me.

But seriously, how did everyone else there seemingly know how to do this? Was it a camp thing? Do people have kindly grandmothers who sit down and teach them how to do things like make necklaces? Are people hanging out in their apartments making actual pieces of jewelry to wear out in the world while I’m sitting around watching Pretty Little Liars? Because up until now, I’ve been assuming it’s normal to go to the dry cleaners to have them sew on popped-off buttons.

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  • Eileen

    It wasn’t my grandmother, it was my mom. She’s the queen of crafts. She made my prom dress, my sister’s prom dress, and her own wedding dress. Even her Easter eggs are cooler than everyone else’s.

    I take partial credit, though, because she first got into sewing and knitting and such crafty things when she was bedridden during her first pregnancy (me!)

  • Lindsay Hartman

    Oh my gosh! Thank you! My sister has framed artwork in her house that she made herself… and it looks good. She and my mother frequently pass out hand-made cards and they can walk into a flea market and find something that looks like a piece of trash and make it look beautiful in their home. And it all makes me sick!

  • SamHain Press

    Right, disclaimer, I’m a recent art grad. I took classes in ridiculously specific subsets of art (‘raster programs for illustration,’ f’r instance), so I don’t know if I count as ‘crafty’ so much as ‘poor, but intensively educated.’

    From what I’ve gathered from classes, teachers, classmates, and my own experience, anything that can be categorized under ‘art’ usually means ‘aesthetic problem solving.’ We’re constantly looking at something, going, “Does this look right? No? Why not? How do I fix the wrongness?” and having the horrifying combination of self-honesty (to keep spotting/challenging our weaknesses) and gumption (to see a project through to the bitter end). One of the reasons why Timm Gunn is a rockstar: he makes some of that process transparent to ‘outsiders’ and has popularized the artists’ mantra ‘Make it work!”

    It’s not a pretty process, it’s not some kind of neat genetic skill like rolling your tongue, but after a while some stuff becomes habit, or becomes easier, and we can sit down at a table of odds and ends and make something fun.

    I guarantee you, any artist (or craftsperson – if they devote time to developing skill, it’s the same thing in my mind) who walked away from that table with something you thought was fab, probably thought to themselves “this is nice, but it would have been better if…”