How did I get started in crafting? I’d like to say that I have been creating with my hands since I was little, like a lot of creative people, but I came into it rather late, only in the last five to ten years. I just remember crafting in grade school when I was little was a stressful thing for me because – horrors! – we were allowed to make choices and wander outside the box and think creatively. While I had great imagination as a child, making up stories with my toys and acting them out, I had a pretty regimented mindset. Too many choices overwhelmed me. I did what I was told, and my world was stable and secure. Very boring, I know, but that’s what gave me a comfort and certainty in my life. I needed that growing up. Well, when you take someone with that kind of mindset and toss them into the freer world of crafting and creativity, it can really throw one for a loop! The world I was comfortable in was about reading, writing, and lessons. Suddenly, I was given dried beans, yarn, construction paper, glue, and scissors, outside my comfortable tools of pencil and lined paper. Aiyiyi! What was I to do?? I treated crafting like another classroom lesson; I followed the instructions just to get my work done, but I didn’t really have any fun or see the value in creativity :0(
So for most of my adult life, I never really gave crafting another thought – although I did take up baking, which I love – until almost ten years ago, when seemingly suddenly – or maybe it was because of all the general renewed interest in crafting and handmade goods – I got this urge to create with my hands. I didn’t know what, but I got this itch to make something with my hands. I even took a beading class, which was interesting, but I realized soon after that jewelry making and beading were not really my thing. I felt overwhelmed by all the choices one could make just beading – all the different types, sizes, and colors of beads, the different stringing materials, all the different designs one could make, etc. While I greatly admired (and still do) those who bead with passion, it was just overwhelming for me. So for the next couple of years, I just admired crafters from a distance, never even really considering that one day, I’d join their ranks.
But the urge to do something with my hands continued to stay with me, when about four to five years ago, I decided to take a cardmaking class on a whim at a local Japanese paper shop in San Francisco, my hometown. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Chris, a cousin, really, is a cardmaker and Stampin’ Up rep, and while I admired her work and those of her fellow cardmakers, I didn’t really think I had any cardmaking ability in me. I had believed (erroneously) for too long that I was not a creative person when it came to designing, and cardmaking is designing on a small canvas. Well, I took the cardmaking class, which was taught by a very encouraging and creative German woman, Elisabeth Alexander, and made a terrific (at least I thought so) card and was hooked. I started stocking up on basic cardmaking supplies. Yes, I did go a bit overboard, but I wanted to explore the possibilities that my newly chosen hobby offered.
Looking back, I think cardmaking was an easy way to get my foot into the crafting
door. You have a small canvas on which to express yourself, so it’s much less daunting than say, painting on a large canvas.
After having made cards for a few years now, I can say that my skill level has improved dramatically. My style has evolved, and I find that some of my best cards are made from images rescued from thrifted children’s picture books. (Plus, I love the magic and wonder of children’s books). I feel these cards are unique, one-of-a-kind because I’m recycling something that has been tossed out. It’s gotten so that I have a large plastic bin more than half filled with children’ picture books, discarded calendars, etc, that I can cull through for images. The bad part about this is that I have to hunt for the right image for the right occasion, so that takes quite a bit of time. But this is my favorite way to make cards, esp children’s cards. I feel that this is when my creativity is in full bloom, and I am at my creative best.
As I continued making more cards, I started looking into other types of crafting, and eventually I found a crafting home that would take my creativity to a whole other level. As a result, I have continued exploring my creativity and haven’t looked back.