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A Beginning (and End) for Some....

Why do some consumers stop crafting, and others become lifelong enthusiasts?

by Nancy Piltzecker, (October 2, 2006)

(Note: Nancy owns Scrap 'n Crafts, a craft store in Eastham, MA. This was originally published in Nancy's blog sponsored by the online newspaper, Cape Cod Today reprinted by permission.)

As I sit here drinking my coffee (coffee-mate doesn't make the little swirls that Baristas can make into art) and wonder what to write about, I ponder how crafting begins for someone and why it ends for others.

My parents were pretty crafty. My mom sewed just about everything made of fabric in our house when I was growing up. She used to laugh when she would tell me that when she was growing up (she had 4 sisters), she had to put a lock on her closet because she made such nice clothes for so little money that her sisters tried to "borrow" them all the time. She progressed into filling our house with stained glass items and even inspired my Aunt enough to open a shop.

My dad was more of a "man-stuff crafter." He made me wooden furniture for my Barbies, built his own workshop, and created things out of bits and pieces (my style too! :) .

I never really considered myself exceptional at any of the crafting that I do but, for anyone, just enjoying it lets the talent within shine through. I can't forget when I was in first grade and made a ship out of a shoe box (we were learning about Columbus at the time), and the teacher refused to believe I did it by myself. Even with my dad confirming he didn't help she didn't believe it!

Back then, in the 60's there were no craft stores that I know of. Both myself and my cousins used a lot of shoe polish for crafts :). Some stores had a little section with the very basic stuff. We went to the Rag Shop a lot for fabric, but I just remember making spitball pictures, finger painting, and those felt-covered, bottle-top table protectors in school. I think once (ONCE) the teacher covered a balloon in paper mache wow what a mess that was!

When does it split? When does it become the "I'll try anything" crafters, the self-restrictive crafters, and the non crafters? When do the boys start to say "I'm not making anything with pompoms"? When do the girls look away from making something with power tools and opt for more colorful, vibrant crafts?

What makes some just "go for it," no matter what the gender? What are the gender-equal crafts? A lot of my extended family males are into flowers, either owning shops or distributorships or working for one. My Aunt's floral arranging was featured in Macy's New York when I was young. I would like thoughts on what makes certain crafts acceptable for both genders while some crafts are classified/marketed as gender specific and how we can change that.

I think at one time or another we all become non-crafters. The key is to not stay there! It's a sad place to be because crafting should be much more important then we rank it. I get to meet and talk to a lot of people in my shop and one lady said, "I'm on vacation and I can sit out on the porch and read a book but, when I'm home I don't, and I ask myself 'Why can't I do this when I'm home?' "

It's something I've said to myself and I'm sure oodles of other crafters have said it too. I'm guessing that's how scrapbooking (or so many other craft) weekends and retreats were born :) I know that if I had just taken an hour a day to scrapbook I would be all caught up by now....

Mike Hartnett Comments.

Nancy has asked some very critical questions: Just about everyone does some sort of art or craft as a child. Why do they stop? Why do some people later become hard-core enthusiasts, occasional crafters, or never touch our products again? Email your thoughts to CLN at mike@clnonline.com. To read how one consumer went from a lifelong non-crafter to a hard core enthusiast, read Pt. I of the Barbara Hartnett saga in Category Reports.



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