How LoveCrafts is reinventing the word 'craft'Published on 21 June 2019 By Merion 6 min read
We’re LoveCrafts because, quite simply, we love crafts. But it goes a little deeper than that. To craft is to take the time to make something. It’s a process, with a beginning, middle, and an end. It’s a story. We believe 'craft' means more than just making and it's time to spread the word!
Time to craft
In our throwaway digital age, when convenience and speed have become the bedrock of society, ‘time’ (for a long time) has been sidelined. Instagram stories last less than 24 hours, information is accessible instantaneously “Hey Google, what’s the quickest route to work?”, and taking ‘time out’ is considered the ultimate luxury.
There is something magical about taking the time to craft. Slowing down, unwinding and making something from nothing.
Why then build a website for crafts? Traditionally, craft is as far from the digital world as you can get. But, we believe something powerful can happen when you weave together the traditional elements of craft, with new-fangled technology. In fact, it’s the very reason we decided to bring LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet under one roof. We wanted makers all around the world to have a single place to shop, share and dream in crafts. Why? Because the more we can inspire people around the world to take the time to craft, the more we can promote joy, health and happiness.
At LoveCrafts, we cherish the handmade, and we know you do too."
What’s in a name?
The origin of the word ‘craft’ is thought to come from the Old English word ‘creft’; meaning power, physical strength and might. Over time, this meaning changed to mean ‘mental power’; which led to its definition expanding to include ‘skill, dexterity, art, science, talent’. While that definition might be true, we think it’s so much more than that, and should include community, joy and creation; passion, friendship and purpose (and that’s just the beginning!).
In the past, crafting was something we did out of necessity – to make clothes and crockery, warm blankets and rugs. Every item was handmade and unique and served a purpose. When the industrial revolution came along, suddenly everything looked the same. Every cardigan and pair of socks was mass produced with no dropped stitches or rogue errors. The love and passion that had once gone into each item was removed and replaced with perfection and uniformity.
But one thing that can’t be replaced by machinery and production lines is artistry. Craft has always been for making things for the sake of beauty; things that are a joy to look at and be around. Now, these gorgeous handmade items that we surround ourselves with are made mostly for pleasure, rather than out of a need for the item we’re making.
Why making is believing
These lovingly handmade pieces bring together communities online and in the real world. They help us to connect with ourselves and others; improving our mental health, combating loneliness and giving us a sense of purpose and achievement. The effect of craft on mental health has been well documented in the media - in a world that is speeding up, craft helps us slow down and focus, and there has been much written about using knitting and crochet for mindfulness.
A study by Stitchlinks found that the more people knitted, the calmer and happier they felt. Over half of the respondents who were clinically depressed said knitting made them feel happy or very happy. Could there be a better reason to pick up your craft supplies?
Jeanette Sloane told us about the therapeutic benefits of knitting whilst she recovered from brain surgery - showing how a favourite craft can magically bring peace from everyday stress to long-term recovery. “Knitting is still the only thing that stills my body whilst occupying my brain. The repetitive process of stitch after stitch, row upon row, creates an engaging rhythm that focuses my brain paradoxically allowing my thoughts to run free.”
Community is at the heart of craft, whether a community of like minded friends or family. Our LoveCrafts communities online enthusiastically share their stories of who taught them and who inspires them, and the kind, generous support they offer each other makes our hearts sing. Craft has no geographical limits - we craft together across oceans, lakes and mountains. When Debbie Bliss joined our LoveCrafts team in 2018, we launched a campaign called Why I Knit. We had thousands of responses, stories full of love, excitement, passion and emotion. "There is nothing else I’ve done that gives that same lovely warm fuzzy feeling, from the moment you choose the yarn to the moment you see the finished item being used - and that's why I knit."
And no matter what you craft - whether you knit, embroider, crochet or do a little bit of everything - that warm fuzzy feeling is shared by all makers.
Why cultivating a culture of making can change the world
At LoveCrafts, we cherish the handmade, and we know you do too. We love dropped stitches and misshapen hats! It’s part of the journey of crafting. Whether you’re a knitter or a papercrafter, a crocheter or a cross stitcher; the principles of loving and learning a craft are the same. We are a community of people dedicated to making the world a little bit more beautiful, or eco-friendly, or cosy one stitch at a time.
We believe everyone can feel the joy of making, and we’re on a mission to make it happen."
Making something, whether from yarn, paper, fabric or thread, reinforces our sense of self, our sense of value, and reawakens the deep satisfaction that comes with the sense of achievement we used to feel as children when we drew pictures or made wonky cakes or clay pots. We’ve mislaid that feeling, somewhere along the way from our artisan forefathers to this fast, modern world - and we need to reconnect with the joy that comes with actually creating something. Re-educating ourselves about making and using every scrap of what we have and wasting nothing, will also, inch by inch, help to preserve our planet too.
That’s why we’re reinventing the word ‘craft’. To us, it makes sense to think about us as an all-inclusive community rather than individual groups. We don’t want to be divided into groups by the things we have in common. We believe everyone can feel the joy of making, and we’re on a mission to make it happen. It’s why we love crafts, and why we’re LoveCrafts.