As restrictions ease in some areas of Australia – let alone the world, what does crafting look like for many of us crafters – introverts and extroverts alike?
Life over the last few years has been challenging because we are living through a part of history that is unique to this century, and the rose-tinted glasses view is that we’re all doing the best we can under the existing circumstances. Opening our lives up to a new normal and living with a new virus may be greeted with open arms by some, because living in confined spaces when they don’t “have to” (depending on many other factors I won’t go into) is too much. Too hard. A different type of torture that they would rather not experience again if they can.
On the other hand, if your lifestyle and circumstances have allowed it, living in lockdown and working from home has been wonderful. Because it’s enabled you to get so many other things done around the home, that pre-virus may not have allowed and potentially given you the opportunity to re-charge the proverbial batteries.
Fearing freedom or embracing a new way of living?
There is a Spanish proverb loosely translated to English that says “to live a life in fear is to live a life half-lived”. This proverb was used in Baz Luhrmann’s movie Strictly Ballroom when Fran was expressing her frustration to Scott, because of his fear to try something new and step out of the mould of what’s expected or preferred for the finals.
In the context of this post, the Spanish proverb can apply in a range of ways. Technology for example, has enabled many of us over the last couple of years, to work from home or communicate socially with others through crafting retreats or sharing of skills and knowledge. Because of this, some people may be accustomed to being at home and the comforts that may bring, and your region or country opening up may then require you to communicate or be around other people in-person. This can be stressful and scary because of the comfort zone that has been built at home. Additionally, the distance that a computer screen provides can remove the immediate reactions and triggers (positive or negative) that would otherwise be there when we’re dealing with people and situations in-person.
The flip side to the technology is from a seller’s perspective. Technology has made our lives 10 times more convenient than before through online shopping and home deliveries. Admittedly this is nothing new and lockdowns have forced many of us to do a lot more of it. Being able to purchase craft supplies has made life easier because our favourite stores may not have been able to sell online before now. This may be a good thing and a bad thing depending upon your chosen craft. The quality of the pictures we see on the internet have had a significant impact on our ability to determine if the products we need and want will be true to life. An example of this is the dye lots for custom made embroidery threads, paints, papers and fabrics and the fear of losing customers when people have the option of physically going to shops to purchase the things they need. Some customers may find that going to stores and being able to see the products they need in a different light and being able to touch the products before purchasing may have a negative impact on digital sales.
The above images are from Pexels.com and show the various ways in which many of us have grown accustomed to embracing during lockdown to pass time and express ourselves creatively.
Fearing the known or unknown
Before our lives changed, many of us were able to enjoy the freedoms of attending crafting retreats locally, inter-state or overseas. We benefited from seeing projects, tools and equipment in person to help us to decide if we want to use it or create it that isn’t the same as seeing it on screen. We were able to learn new skills and tricks that can be challenging to learn via a screen, because we can have someone sitting next to us and help us adjust what we’re doing to achieve the desired result. If it were done via a screen, our eyes can become fatigued from looking at a screen. We may struggle with Internet connections and other interruptions we may not have control over.
We were also able to create and establish new friendships with people we may not otherwise be able to meet, because they may not have access to technology or want to use technology to connect with others.
No one really knows if things will get worse or better as the world opens up. There may be a fear around the possibility of complacency around hygiene and growing accustomed to freedom then having that freedom taken away again. There are some unofficial predictions and beliefs that highlight the possibility of more waves of the virus coming through. Unfortunately, it’s not known how the powers that be will react, should such events happen.
Knowing what we have experienced already can be good because we can prepare ourselves for further lockdowns and reverting back to the use of and reliance upon technology to communicate with the world again can be equally damaging. The fear of what we’ve already experienced through loved ones or ourselves catching the virus and not recovering from it at all or continuing to suffer side-effects. Which co-insides with further lockdowns, loss of jobs, slumps in the economy and struggles to survive because of these events.
It’s also important to note that the lockdowns people have experienced, may have enhanced some underlying anxieties and stresses that existed well before the pandemic. It’s also possible that people living on their own or with others may not have been aware of or recognised some of these underlying issues and the world opening up again may be triggering these issues.
This is where the world of crafting can continue to be embraced to at least partially assist with the stress and anxiety of what may come with freedom.
Embracing a new way of living
For many who have the ability to, the lockdown(s) have enabled them to consider a new way of living and how they want their lives. For some, this means continuing to work from home – either in their current roles or embrace a career change and start something new like their own business or going back to school. For others, it can be a physical move away from the cities because they have found that the hustle and bustle of the city life or suburban life no longer fits.
From a crafting perspective, lockdown enabled some of us to start investigating what creative things we were curious about before lockdown, but may not have had the time or confidence to do something about it. Resulting in the embracing a new way of living can mean finding a new tribe or mob of people who love the same types of crafts as yourself. Which may often lead you to wanting to spend an increasing amount of time around those like-minded people and the locations that enable to go down the creative-crafting path!
In other cases, lockdown enabled us to completely embrace the crafty and creative life and get things done in the background, so that when we came out of lockdown, we can put those plans into action. You could be that person that brings others together to enable them to embrace their creative side and meet others who share similar passions and interests!
From an introvert perspective, lockdowns may have enabled you to find your voice through a craft you love. Because of your passion and love for your craft, you’re able to articulate things that may have previously been a struggle for different reasons. Painting can be a really good example of this, because it’s a creative outlet that has enabled people to capture their favourite scenes, things and people or image they see in their mind’s eye, such as fantasy worlds. Additionally, it’s been acknowledged as a useful form of therapy to help people process and deal with a wide range of things they need to work through (e.g. PTSD and other traumas).
By having a painting, drawing or other creative thing you have done, you may find a new confidence to talk about it and additional things you want to create via this new creative channel!
From an extrovert perspective, the lockdowns may have enabled you to listen more and hold space for the introverts who have found their new voice, and want to talk about their creative outlets. You may have embraced social media and started your own channel or group to connect with others.
Personal note: I want to acknowledge that we are living in uncertain times and my aim is not to be dismissive of the different circumstances that people are experiencing, by saying that there’s nothing to worry about. Or focus too much on the negative aspects of the world we live in because of things I’ve seen and heard through different mediums (e.g. the news, people I talk to, conversations I’ve overheard and social media). I actively swing between being excited about returning to the old normal and the positive possibilities of the new normal. Then feeling cautious and unsure about new strains that may or will happen, as we start moving around again through domestic and international travel.
Overall, I’m cautiously hopeful that things will be okay and we will be able to live with outbreaks as they happen; not through lockdowns, but through other means that enable people to continue to work and engage with others without isolation.
What do you think crafting after lockdown will look like?