I’ve talked about this in an episode of The Craft Room Podcast before, and I wondered if what we were seeing was a true craft renaissance. I do believe that it is!
The Australian bushfires of 2019/2020 were devastating the landscape, but catastrophic for our wildlife. I watched as crafters around the world reached out to wildlife carers, and created bat wraps, joey pouches, crochet bird nests and more. So many items were being made that there was sufficient to see all wildlife carers in Australia through for a whole year. People were knitting, sewing, crocheting and building to create koala mittens, possum boxes and more. But it was more than that. Many people picked up crafts they had discarded many years ago, or learned a new craft from scratch, just so they could contribute. When the wildlife carers were fully stocked, these caring crafters began to create toys, art, cards and so much more in an effort to fundraise for the items that could not be handmade (like formulas, bottles, medication and equipment).
Watching this unfold made me so proud to be a crafter. Craft is not just preschoolers gluing pompoms to paper … it’s so much more. As crafters we have the power to make something beautiful and/or functional, which can change lives. There are so many charities that you can turn your crafting super powers to, and that thing you make can in turn make someone’s day.
But as the need for items dwindled, the urgency passed and a pandemic hit, I wondered if it had been a flash in the pan for craft. I didn’t have to wonder for long. People in lockdown continued to craft. Suddenly there was time to do those crafts that make us happy, finish long abandoned projects and learn that thing you’d always wanted to learn. As a craft retail store owner, 2020 was the busiest year of my life, and it was my absolute honour to serve the craft community by helping them source what they needed for their crafting.
Crafting has saved the sanity of many during lockdown, even provided an income for many who lost their jobs for pandemic reasons. It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time on TikTok. I have a channel that is entirely about craft, and I have enjoyed sharing lots of crafting tips and tricks, and learning a few things as well. I have seen people turn their love of making beautiful things into a small business, and see those businesses thrive.
I still wondered … how long can this resurgence of interest in craft go on, which is when the call went out across Facebook with news that made my heart sing. You see … for many years I have lamented that what television really needed was a new reality show, like Master Chef, but for craft. When Making It started in the USA, my wish came true. Oh, if only it would come to Australia .. and it did. In the year of the largest craft renaissance my memory can recall, the year of bushfires, and pandemic and so much change and kindness, Making It Australia put out the call for contestants.
Now, in 2021, we have this amazing, wholesome television show packed with crafters from all walks of life. The rest of Australia is starting to see what we already know … that crafting is more than paper and glue. It is about emotion, creativity, resilience, tenacity, excitement, colour and most of all … it is about friendship and community. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favour and check it out on Channel 10 or 10 Play.
Right now the world could use more kindness, more beauty, more friendship, more colour and more wholesome content. I’m sure we’ve all had days when we really felt it with climbing Covid case numbers, lockdown after lockdown … the frustration and exhaustion are real. But most days, I’m grateful for my amazing craft community, I find peace in crocheting a rainbow mandala, I seek joy in my craft supplies, and those bad days melt away. I look forward to welcoming more and more new crafting friends into our crafty club as this crafting renaissance continues to inspire everyone’s inner creative being.