Arts and Crafts
It struck me today that arts and crafts are still seen as something mainly for children. If not kits aimed at children (jewellery making, cards making, papermache etc), it’s kits aimed at making things for children (baby blankets, mitts, bunting etc) or kits for parents to bond with their children (cooking or baking together).
Having ventured in my local WHSmith for a scrapbook project I have, I was trapped in the children’s arts and crafts section surrounded by crayola and safety scissors. Certainly in larger stores there are adult arts areas but, and this is a big but for me, there is also an adult price tag attached. Most arts stores are overpriced for my budgets and I will accept that they have specialist equipment and brands if people are taking their projects ultra seriously. However what’s missing for me, is the amateur arts and crafts enthusiast who doesn’t want to pay those prices and doesn’t want to have to buy washable felt tip pens aimed at children. I would say about the only shop which caterers for this is the Works.
In Japan you could get wonderful craft accessories in the 100yen shop, their equivalent of the pound shop. They have ranges that come out at Valentine’s for making cakes, and generally all year round for any sort of art project. I found it wonderfully accessible at Halloween to be able to make an entire costume for under ten pounds. You can buy everything from felt to bells, wood and polystyrene, icing sets and cup cake boxes. I miss that. If I wanted to knit my own scarf in the UK it would cost more in wool and needles than to buy it in Primark or New Look.
Having said that, along with vintage, arts and crafts are making a comeback. Never before have I seen so many courses for dressmaking, cupcake icing and painting your own mugs. It’s really lovely to have homemade one of pieces I think. Especially around Christmas it reminds me of the star I made for our Christmas tree out of a coat hanger, jewellery beads and Christmas wrapping paper. I also made tree decorations, an advent calendar and paper chains to decorate the house with.
Take for example poppies. Having been out of the country for several years I don’t know if this is a new phenomenon but the poppies this year for Remembrance day are bling! There’s the normal paper poppy of course but I’m increasingly seeing people both on TV and the trees with sequined poppies, lapel pins, massive silk numbers and so forth. I had heard of people handmaking poppies and selling them with the profits going to the British Legion charity.