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The art of making crafts as an expression of your creative freedom spans a wide range of activities. Craftsmen/craftswomen (as they are traditionally called) can choose to restrict their artistic dexterity to produce handicrafts of leather, textile, wood, etc which in turn gives rise to an assortment of aspects related to crafts making. History portrays craftsmen as a more privileged class over the peasants in the societal ladder and attributes drastic changes to the art form post the Industrial Revolution. Today the art of making crafts is a rarity that is gaining momentum as a hobby in the face of mechanization and mass production of goods.
A creative escape from the drudging monotony of our hectic schedules, crafts making affords a way to relax and engross the mind and hands into building something productive. A person with a keen sense of acumen can even pursue crafts making as a profitable venture. The hobbyist ofcourse prefers to accredit sentimental importance to his painstakingly created artefact. Yet the fact remains that crafts as a creative pursuit exploits the more latent artistic nature of our minds. Origami, paper crafts, jewellery, accessories, candle making, knitting, quilting, basketry are some crafts that a hobbyist can indulge in and chase for his own personal satisfaction.
Leather crafts has grown into a full blown business venture today, with wallets, belts, bags and numerous products flooding the ever growing markets. But leather crafting can be practised by a hobbyist to create uniquely beautiful products like key chains, simple leather wallets, bell hangers, pouches, cuffs and leather rings. A hobbyist can craft leather into paintings to produce works of art. Leather can be dyed, carved, moulded and shaped to create unique patterns and has grown increasingly popular as artefacts for decor.
The art of leather crafting is almost as old as the first civilizations. Excellently preserved leather objects many centuries old have been uncovered that intimately relates this craft with the very history of mankind. Simple drawings, pictorial representations and sign languages carved on leather were used for communicating in ancient times. The first books used leather as parchment and were employed to document thoughts and knowledge. The Romans used it as currency and leather crafting as a work form got handed down from generation to generation in the Middle Ages. The use of leather for saddles and horse-gear was increasingly realised in the early 16th century and continuous innovation and growth eventually gave rise to the industry of leather artistry.
The craft of trading, designing and manufacturing hats is millinery. Though often mostly restricted to more prominently describe the art of designing women's hats, a milliner can choose to create headgear for men and women alike.
The term 'milliner' is said to have originated in Milan renowned for its fashion and designs. The history of hats can be traced back to Thebes, where one of the first hats is depicted in a painting inside a tomb. Although it is hard to precisely predict when man first donned a headgear, early simple skull caps, Phrygian caps handed to slaves declared free in Greece and Rome and the Petasos of Ancient Greece provide enough evidence to the fact that hats have been around for a long time. The late 17th century saw the rise of women hats as a distinct fashion entirely free from male influence which was very much the case until then. By the mid 1800s headgear as fashion statement had evolved to a whole new level. James Lock and Co. is credited with the invention of Bowler hats in 1849 while John Batterson Stetson came up with the classic cowboy hat later.
Millinery as a leisure can be pursued as a full time hobby and in many cases as a professional venture. Innovative and creative use of materials to come up with original headgear designs can be a wonderful way to work out that tension and stress. Brightly coloured fabrics, satins, straws, sequins, beads and ribbons can be used to come up with brilliant hats to adorn the head. The craft can be pursued by an amateur as an escape after an increasingly taxing day at work. Hat-making can serve as a highly artistic pastime and a hobbyist can do so for his own personal satisfaction and profit from it.
One of the most widely used materials in the art of craft making, paper is a wonderful artistic medium to express your creativity. Paper can be cut, folded, coloured, painted and glued to create fantastic pieces of art. One of the most popular crafts is Papier-machine. Papier-machine is easy to make and acts as a firm solid material. It can be used to make a wide range of items such as sculptures, fruit bowls, dolls, pen stands, etc. The surface is easy to paint. Add patterns, bright shades and top it up with interesting designs.
Origami originated in Japan and uses colourful papers to create models without cutting or using glue. Simple models to increasingly complex and unique models can be created using paper. A small number of folds can be combined in different ways to form different mock-ups and one of the most popular origami models is the Japanese Crane. Chinese traditional funerals burnt folded paper instead of wood and the practice dates back to the Sung Dynasty. Following the ban of such practices during the Cultural Revolution, today Chinese paper-folding is a continuation of the influence of this tradition in Taiwan. In Japan the first reference can be traced to a poem of Ihara Saikaku. In the 1860s, Japan incorporated ideas of paper-folding as a part of their Kindergarden system and integrated ideas from Europe to create the Japanese art form of Origami without any cutting. In Europe, napkin-folding emerged during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Decoupage on the other hand requires minimum skills and is the craft of creating decor by gluing colourful paper cut-outs onto objects. The origin has been accorded to East Siberian tomb art. Simple bright cut-outs of paper can be glued to wood, boxes, furniture etc to transform their entire appearance. Such cut-outs can also be used to decorate lanterns, doors and windows and 3D decoupage is increasingly gaining popularity among hobbyists today.
All of us have indulged in paper crafts at one point or the other. Paper boats and airplanes, origami are some of the most basic and common paper crafts. Hobbyists who pursue this form of craft making can be indigenously creative and make absolutely delightful objects from the same. As an amateur, you can choose to create Origami models that are easy and delightful stress relievers, or Papier-machine artefacts to give wings to the more artistic side of you.
Textile as an ingenious material for crafts making has been used by the hobbyist to quilt, knit, felt, create rugs and banners, knot and loop to produce arts with rich designs. Textile based decorative objects like rugs, banners and tablecloths can be used as home decor and the use of vibrant colours can certainly make your space look more alive.
Quilting to create garments and quilts involves designing, piecing, applique and binding. A quilter can create wonderful bed spreads, art quilt wall hangings, clothing and a variety of textile crafts besides coming up with innovative ones of their own. Felting involves the skill of making felts using natural fibres to create rugs, tents and clothing while knitting is a method by which we manipulate yarn to create a textile or fabric. Multiple loops of yarn in a line or rows of interlocked loops can be created using hand or machine to produce knitting patterns. Sweaters, socks, mufflers, gloves and woollen caps can be knit from woollen fabrics and tablecloths can be knit from yarns. Lace knitting is also highly popular as textile for decor. Crochets, on the other hand, differ from knitting in their implementation of loops which is completed before proceeding to the next.
Decorative crafts are an extensive art form and can be used to project crafts like candle making, basketry, dried flowers and even certain crafts mentioned above that are used for decor. Candle making dates back to 500 BC and you can make candles with different designs, shapes and colours. One can pursue it as a hobby or business venture as low investment often makes it a profitable industry. An amateur can begin with simple candles and hone his skills as he grows gradually. Other decorative crafts like dried flower painting, basketry, coloured pots, sculptures, wood carvings etc can be followed dedicatedly and individually as per their own unique interests.
Making of jewellery and accessories are fashion crafts and intricate designs usually need to be created manually. Fashion as a craft can be religiously followed and can be even turned into a full time profession if you have the knack and skill to do so.
Hobbylancer and You
At Hobbylancer, display your creations, learn new crafts like jewellery making, candle making, knitting, quilting, felting and discover which craft interests you the most. Look for clients and sell your crafts or auction them here. Find videos and tutorials and online classes and contribute to the same. Grow, learn, earn and connect at Hobbylancer and unleash the Craftsman in you!