Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crafting As A Way to Connect

I was looking through the listings at CafePress and noticed a few t-shirts that got my hackles up. As a knitter, I am keenly aware of the volume of strange and often inane comments that can be solicited just by knitting in public. I have heard them all. I don't need a t-shirt with all the reactionary statements with regards to those comments spelled out on them.

But what you must understand is that your reaction will determine how these people react to the crafting community as a whole. You must accept the most inane comments with grace, and reply with as much grace.

For example: "Oh you knit? You should totally make me [Blank Item]!!"

You first reaction will be to tell the person that it will be a cold day in hell when you knit them something. You might want to throw in something about how they probably have NO CONCEPT as to how much time it takes and that the expense is not something they can afford.

Now Stop. Breathe. Just don't do it.

The people who actually have the confidence to make a comment like that are, for the most part, not trying to be rude. They are trying to demonstrate and interest in what you are doing. And remember, you are in a public place, so chances are, that person is not the only one within earshot.

These people are simply seeking a connection with another human being. Perhaps they have experience with another craft. Perhaps they are just bored. The important thing is that you smile, thank them for their comment, and then invite them to try whatever craft it is on their own time.

See that? You have done two things:
1)You have accepted their comment, and been friendly back, regardless of the snark level of the original comment; which puts a good face on the crafting community as a whole, and you as well.

2)You have sewn the seeds for another person to join the crafting community and add their talents to the pool. Just think. Enough people say, "You should try [blank]" and soon enough, that person may consider taking the plunge!

All it took was a little understanding and some tact. Tact is sorely lacking in many of our day to day exchanges, sadly. It helps that the crafting community has a built in safety net that prevents.

I understand that those T-shirts are awesome and amusing, and while I am not saying that *wearing* one is bad. (I happen to have a t-shirt that says, "It's handmade, not homemade, bitch." The biggest issue is if you actually take those words to heart, and start being snarky whenever someone comments on your activities. Remember, we are all still people. And everyone deserves a chance at a nice conversation. Keep it civil, and invite another person to the community.

Crafting first and foremost is about connecting with the craft and those involved. Remember when you were first starting out? Didn't you ask questions and look for support? This is an opportunity to bring another person into the fold, or at least have them speak fondly of us. Please remember that.

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