A few years ago I found a comprehensive book on crafting and creating, published by Reader’s Digest, in a charity (thrift) shop.
The book’s title is ‘Create it Yourself’ and it covers such subjects as kitchen skills, jewellery making, patchwork, gardening, and natural skincare in just over 300 pages. It cost the princely sum of £2.50.
What’s not to like?
When I get a new book I read the blurb and the intro, check out the contents page, and scan the index. As I perused my new purchase a small piece of information flew off the page and got me thinking about the views and attitudes of different cultures.
As I stated, my book was titled ‘Create it Yourself’. Sound and positive message aimed at individuals with initiative and a wide creative streak. On the back it tells the aspiring readers that they can be ‘original, ingenious, stylish … with this inspiring book’. WOW! Promises that tick all the boxes.
What had I seen on an inside page that caused me to stop and think? In the three years before publication similar volumes had been produced by Reader’s Digest (Australia) and Reader’s Digest (USA). Difference? In both those countries the title was ‘Home Made Best Made’. Now this title suggests a very different slant on creative projects in the home. They are no longer ‘original’ and ‘stylish’, but ‘home made’.
That’s what struck me as a different kind of cultural thinking. I suspect that in Australia and USA there’s a positive attitude to home crafting. Certainly more so than in Britain and I think that this may come from memories of ‘make do and mend’, ‘making do’, and ‘rationing’. Having to make it yourself (as opposed to create it yourself) smacks too hard of not being able to afford to buy.
I wish it wasn’t the case, and I don’t believe it’s a case of misplaced snobbery, I just think it’s deep-rooted in our psyche. With the growth of hand-craft platforms like Folksy and Etsy, and perhaps Pinterest, these attitudes won’t have a place anymore.
As a fervent advocate of being creative – especially for well-being and good mental health – I sincerely hope this happens in the very near future.
BTW the photo is of my craft cupboard and it doesn’t even include my paints and easel and my collection of supplies for felting and stone tumbling. There’s just not room in there!