Are you a good enough maker for Made In Molesey?

So many people say they "just sew" or can "only do a bit of whittling" or that they "just bring a few buttons along to sew on and it isn't proper craft". It is like there is an entry level qualification that we all feel everyone else has passed but aren't sure if our own stuff is good enough.

Rubbish. We all do a mix of things. Never be embarrassed about your makes.

True, some at Made In Molesey are exceptionally talented and everything they do is exquisite, but we all love craft and making stuff and it isn't a competition. Making and crafting should be fun and about making things you like for you and your friends. I realise some people do it professionally and I buy things other people have made in the shops but that should not stop you from having a go and making things you can't find in the shops.

Recently Kirstie Allsopp did a TV series called Kirstie Allsopp's Celebrity Craft Masters (Channel 4, June 2019). It was actually very good and showed you how to make lots of things, often in enough detail that you could copy at home. The problem I had with it was that she made it a competition.

Making stuff is not a competition.

If you want to compare my wreath with your wreath, fine but I like my wreath which is why I made it the way I did. That's the point. I am not you. We don't want the same things. If we did, we could just buy them from shops and have the popular thing. But I might want mine in a weird colour. So might you. Hooray for you, do it in the weird colour that you like and that only you will ever have.

Mainly though you can't compare because if I want a bag from canvas with particular handles, then that is what I want, even if the leather bag may be "better". If the handles were ones that you like as well then I could probably find it in the shops and I wouldn't need to make it. You can't compare two very different things like a chest of drawers and a noticeboard. I might not want or need a noticeboard so doesn't matter how good the thing is, I won't thank you for it. It is about making something that you can't get commercially. Or possibly about upcycling something you already had so it doesn't get thrown away and therefore the material might be odd because you made it from old curtains, but the curtains didn't get binned and now they can be used. That's good isn't it? Even though it won't win a competition.

And as for wonky seams and bad painting - well that is what I like. I love that the thing I made is obviously made. I don't want it to look like I bought it in a shop or I would have bought it from a shop.

(To be fair, I do realise Kirstie and her team are just trying to put a Bake Off style spin on crafting and I am glad she is making mainstream programmes showing people how to craft and the competition makes the show more interesting, even though it rankles with me)

I am bad at this myself, I compare and worry. That's probably why I have such a bee in my bonnet about the competition on the TV. That sort of thing would put me right off and have me never making things again because I would think it wasn't worth it if they weren't perfect and then I don't have the hours to practice to make it perfect so I would give up. When I was a little girl and I made things, they were awful but I didn't care, I just made them. Someone reminded me of that, and that is the real me. That's the way I was made. That is the way I make now.

Making is also about making space in your life to wind down and concentrate on something for your own joy, self expression or practical needs. It is about learning about yourself, developing the patience to thread that needle 15 times without getting frustrated, or to let the world pass by while you work on fixing one part of a model that is taking you months to do. Or maybe it is just finding a few hours to put those photos in photo albums like you keep promising yourself.

What you do will always seem easy to you, but others may not be able to do it. Comparison is the thief of joy. So you be you and make what you like, however you like. Your life isn't your own if you keep worrying what everyone else thinks.

Paint blob
We all start somewhere

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