May 19, 2004

Choosing Your Art and/or Craft

I love arts and crafts. My biggest hurdle has been in deciding what type of arts and crafts to pursue because I like so many. I suppose I could try all of the arts and crafts I'm interested in, but I'm not sure that would be wise. Some artforms are easier than others, some require a lot of work space, and some are more expensive than others - and that is certainly something to consider. I made a list of of arts and crafts I've tried or already do, and a list of those I'd like to try or do. This list should help you determine what arts and crafts would best suit you, your budget, and your storage and workspace constraints.

Once you've listed the arts and crafts you've tried, mark off those that you didn't enjoy doing, didn't do well at, or found couldn't do at all. For example: I learned to knit when I was eight years old. It was an easy art/craft to learn, but I didn't really enjoy it. A few years later, I learned to crochet. I enjoyed that much more than knitting, and found it was easier for me to do. Another example was when I learned to do embroidery. I enjoyed that and found it easy to do. Later I tried counted cross stitch with equal results. A similar craft I also tried was latch hook rug making. It was an easy craft but I found I didn't get much enjoyment from it and rugs just really didn't seem to be my thing. Neither was silkscreen - too messy, need too much equipment that you have to buy and store, and you need lots of space for need space for items to dry.

Now make a list of all the arts and crafts you'd like to try. Think about each craft and how it may be similar to something you've done before. Did you enjoy the craft you did that was similar? Was it something you did well?

You'll need to consider a few factors in deciding what arts and crafts to pursue are:

A. How much will this art/craft cost?
B. Do I have room in my house, garage, basement, etc., to pursue this craft?

I like doing ceramics. Ceramics, however, is not the best choice for me. Making things from ceramics is quite expensive. You have to buy the greenware and paint, and then pay to have the pieces fired, once or twice, unless you purchase your molds and kiln. Very, very expensive. You also need room to store your greenware and paints and a large enough workspace to hold your wares. I have pottery listed in things I want to try. Pottery is very similar to ceramics. You need clay, a potters wheel, and then have to get the pieces fired. So for me, pottery is not really a realistic option. To satisfy my urge, I could enroll in a pottery class and make a few pieces without having to invest much. I may do that someday, but it's not high on my priority list considering I probably would not make it a lifelong pursuit.

One of my favorite forms of artwork is paper crafts. I enjoy card making, scrapbooking, collage, and making ATC's (artist trading cards). Paper is not expensive, it's easy to store, and you can do a ton of different things with it. And then there's paper mache - a nice way to put your old newspaper to good use. So pursuing paper crafts, such as card making, scrapbooking, making ATC's and ACEO's are definite - origami is an option. I've never tried it but am not interested in folding paper.

Altered art is basically taking an object and giving it new life, making it into something else.... ART! Since most altered pieces begin with what most people term "junk", it's readily available, or can be had from a thrift store or garage sale at rock bottom prices. You can store as little or as much as you want and it doesn't require a large workspace. Some commercial grade glue, found objects, paint, paper, and a great imagination are all you really need to get started. I tried my hand at altered art because I didn't really need to buy anything. Ialready had so many things handy that I could use.

Woodworking and metal work would require space, materials and expensive tools. Oil paints, brushes and canvas can get expensive and require a fair amount of space. Cake decorating supplies can get expensive and you have to have a good amount of space to store the decorations and cakes - and I'm short on space. I'll have to put these arts/crafts at the bottom of my list.

I have dabbled with mosaic tiles but that was years ago. Its a craft I've thought about taking up but with the expense of tiles, I decided to try paper mosaic. I already have a ton of paper I can cut into tiny pieces and use the same way I would tiles. Tole painting is high on my list because I have acrylic paints and would only have to take a class, buy an instruction book or find a good website to learn the basics. Glass cutting and floral arrangements wouldn't require a huge investment and are also something I could teach myself to do.

Since I already own a digital camera and can print my own pictures photography is something I have considered. I have thought about taking a community enrichment class through my local school system. The class cost about $50 and lasts from 6-12 weeks, which puts photography high on the possibilities list. Candle and soap making are of interest, but again I would have to weigh out the costs of materials and space needed for this craft. Polymer clay art and jewelry making don't require a large work space, and can be done for a reasonable price, althought you can spend a lot if choose to.

Having thought this out, I now have a better idea of what arts and/or crafts would probably suit my budget, workspace and storage constraints, and skill level best.