What’s all this about?
I’m writing a series of blog posts about the different versions or definitions of creativity, in an attempt to i) convince you that you are creative ii) give the lie to the idea that creativity is ‘innate’, ‘esoteric’ or ‘undefinable’. Essentially, I’m using the small steps method to write about the different ways you can get creative.
Read the introduction to this series of blog posts here: If you think you’re not creative, read this
Find out more about the small steps method here: What is the small steps method all about?
Crafting means making, refining and enhancing something – so you could ‘craft’ a short story – but usually it refers to learning a specific craft like carving or knitting or batik. It’s all about practising a technique over and over, and being taught by other people who are good at it. Funnily enough, this ‘version’ of creativity isn’t usually treated as ‘innate’ or a ‘God-given talent’ like other versions of creativity, probably because a craft is specific, it’s got a particular tradition and process to it, and there are ‘masters’ – people who have practiced over a number of years – from whom you can learn the craft.
Craft and Mindsets
Carol Dweck’s work on fixed and growth mindsets come in to play here. Giving up after one session and saying ‘I’m no good at this’ is an example of a fixed mindset. That clearly doesn’t work with a craft. You can’t get it right after doing it once. In fact, it’s a good time to catch yourself using a fixed mindset – see if you can apply a growth mindset instead! You can find Dweck’s book here. (This is an affiliate link.)
As a thought experiment, try applying the concrete and specific aspects of ‘craft’ to other kinds of creativity, those that are sometimes seen as esoteric and innate. In actual fact, other kinds of creativity also have a process, and tradition, take practice, and you can learn them from people who’ve spent years working on them.
Different kinds of craft you could try
There’s a whole range of skills and techniques to try, such as batik, calligraphy, carving, embroidery, jewellery making, or making seasonal decorations / cards, for example. Still stuck for ideas? Go to the Craft Council UK’s directory and click on ‘all disciplines’ to reveal a list of different crafts.
Want to get crafty? Try this.
- Revisit a craft you’ve tried before. The boost you’ll get as it starts to come back to you will help you to avoid the feeling that it’s all too complicated. Ask someone to teach you the simplest next step you can think up. For example, I’ve known how to knit since I was small, but I’ve never learnt to knit to a pattern! If I wanted to take up knitting again, I could get someone to teach me how to make a scarf (for example) – the simplest next step I can think of without doing any research.
- Go with a friend or colleague to a beginners’ half-day or day workshop. Treat it as a day off. A half day or day is a commitment, but it’s not as big a commitment as going once a week. Go with someone else because that’s been proven to encourage people to commit. Pick a beginners’ session because everyone will be in the same boat. Try a few of these until you find a craft you like. Beware of saying ‘I don’t like it because I’m no good at it’ – it’ll take practice. The joy is in the process.
Up next, definition number 3: ‘The Creatives‘.