This time of year – around registration for our annual retreat time – is always a little intense. Workshops being finalised, scholarships sorted, registration smooth as we can make it, makes for busy times. So each year, before things really ramp up, I check in with myself and get a little conscious just to make sure I’m on track. I think about why I do it, and should I do it, and what am I doing it for. And it always comes back to this.
I believe in the life-giving magic of making!
Making with our hands enables us to live an elevated life, where our values are deeply embedded within our everyday, infusing our lives with richness and meaning.
I believe that making things with our hands – which includes crafting – isn’t yet widely acknowledged in the same vein as meditation or even art. And yet, making with our hands has the same power to support us, to connect us, and to change how we see ourselves, our community and our world.
I believe that making should be given kudos as a spiritual practice, not in a religious sense, but because it connects us to our own spirits, to how we are feeling in that moment, allowing us to hear our own heads in all their crazy glory, and to connect with what makes our hearts sing. It allows us to practice skills we need in our everyday, like mindfulness, and courage, and letting go, and sitting with uncertainty, all the while giving us a the gifts of flow, of agency and sometimes of accomplishment.
I believe that we need to share what we know - about how craft impacts our well-being - with our wider community. Part of that means we need to be consciously creating the very community we seek - a making community that fulfills our deepest human need, the need to feel connected, and heard, and truly seen.
We need to be generous with our time and our knowledge, whenever and wherever we can, to enable others to get started or to get unstuck. The knowledge we share needs to be broader than simple how-to skills. Sharing our knowledge means speaking of making as a practice, and dispelling myths around talent and creativity wherever we find them. Making where we are all simply practicing in the gap, where we get better with experience, practice and a little help from our friends. Sharing with others that the richness and joy of the making process comes from the making process itself.
I believe passionately in all these things and so much more about the thing that we do, and the community we are part of.
So, as well as putting on a retreat this year, I am spending this year (and I spent part of last year) writing a book! A book about how the process of making supports us in our everyday, connects us to ourselves and our communities, and ultimately how it changes us over time, often in subtle ways we aren't even aware of. A book that celebrates the process of making and all it gives us.
I would love to hear thoughts - about the idea of a book, about your beliefs about your craft, and well, really anything you want to tell me about your making process.
PS. I’m very proud to say that I have a piece in the latest copy of Making Magazine called “Craft As An Elevated Life”. To all of you who already subscribe then I hope you enjoy it. To the rest of you – get your skates on and grab a copy. This baby sells out!