By Violette Clark
Have you become despondent after reading the newspapers or watching TV news reports about the recession and how bad the economy is? Are you feeling that making things and selling them is hopeless?
Maybe it's time to think again. According to a recent New York Times article crafting does well during a recession. Craft supplies and ready made crafts are very much in demand. Part of the reason Crafts and making your own crafts is thriving during the economic downturn is that people are returning to making things as a way to save money and perhaps to gain a sense of satisfaction from the act of creation.
One of the hottest trends right now is "upcycling" - recycling things that would otherwise be discarded. During a recent trip to South Africa I found a company that upcycled discarded plastic containers and lids by cutting, punching holes, threading with wire to create some very funky, colorful pieces of useable art. The recycle workshop was a make-work project to employ the disadvantaged locals giving them a creative way to make a living. Even though some of the items might be considered kitschy to others I found the bright colorful and joyful objects marvelous. Not only were the artisans creating art but many items were useful and meaningful .
Back in the day when my mother was a young woman with 3 little girls, money was tight so she would buy secondhand clothing at rummage sales, deconstruct them and then remake them into clothing for us. She would also unravel wool sweaters - enlisting us girls to sit there patiently winding the yarn between our hands. Mom would then knit us some pretty fantastic "new" sweaters.
Today people are doing the same only many folks are putting an artistic twist to their creations by adding crocheted flowers to coats or blouses and sewing multiple sweaters back together again. The Indie craft revolution has encouraged this form of crafting in young people in a sense revitalizing what our mothers did naturally in the past. Indeed many of the young women have taken a page from their frugal mothers and gone on to embrace the "upcycling" of old discarded items.
The popularity of upcycled items is evident in niche magazines like Altered Couture as well as more traditionally based Crafting magazines. Basically we are turning lemons into lemonade. Many folks are creating for themselves, giving their artsy products away as gifts or selling to an eager market wanting to help the environment in any way they can.
One can capitalize on the popularity of crafting during an economic downturn. Not only will you be saving money by making or selling your crafts but you will also be doing your heart some good. Creating is good for the soul!
Copyright 2007 Violette. Violette is a creativity catalyst, whimsical artist, designer and writer. Her work has been published in numerous magazine and will be in the upcoming book Living the Creative Life. She has also appeared on TV many times with her magic cottage and Glittergirl van. Check out her website at http://www.violette.ca
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