One thing I love about being an artisan is the stories I get to tell. Sometimes I wake up and can’t believe I get to do what I love everyday. I don’t have a typical 9 – 5 job. I do what I love and I love what I do. My crafts and artistic expression are my life and I put my heart and soul into my crafts.
So what do I mean when I say I have lots of stories to tell?
Every item I make has its own story. I could you tell about the day I spent in the forest collecting scraps of wood. About the 12 pm late nights still working at my desk because I’m full of inspiration and the day spent drying out oranges over and over again because I burnt the first two batches. Collecting nature’s spent items has given me lots of beautiful sunny afternoons and cold autumn days in the leaves. The hours spent in the garden collecting flowers for drying out and attending my herbs before anyone decides to call them lunch. The times I’ve been showered in saw dust and all the sore fingers I’ve had.
These memories are imprinted on each individual item I make. I want people to feel like they have bought into love and will receive something special just for them. I want people to bring out the items year after year and still look at them with some meaning. No crafter or artist ever wants to feel like their work is something to be disposed of after a brief time, they want it be a treasured memory.
I’ve never been one for clutter or hoarding too many items. My preference has always been minimalism, with my kind of style being rustic and nature orientated. I love being around wooden furniture, with accents of glass and items I have made myself from natural elements. I try to keep plastic down to a minimum as I find it blocks the natural flow of energy around the room.
I don’t see the point in having stuff for the sake of having it, because your friends have it or because some advert on TV tells you to have it. We live in such a disposable, wasteful society. With no real connection to each other or the nature around us. Wanting to buy cheap items often comes at a price; along the way someone is being exploited, either the workforce or the supplier. People buy unnecessary cheap plastic items that break within no time. Then what happens to them? The resources it takes on the planet to formulate the parts in the first place, only to make non-recyclable items which end up in the landfill. We live in such an instant gratification society, where everything is so readily and immediately available, that we have lost touch with the fact that everything comes at a price.
Particularly at this time of the year there is mass hysteria over buying stuff. Between Black Friday and Christmas, people buy like it’s going out of fashion but not only that we get to see the dark side of humanity. If you’ve ever watched the videos of people stomping over and beating each other up over a TV you’ll know what I’m talking about. Do possessions really matter that much?
This kind of behaviour is killing our planet and our souls. Memories are the most treasure possessions we can have. For those wanting to clean out a little and minimise, remember you don’t have to throw anything away. Always give to charity, homeless shelters or other organisations that distribute items to those that need them.
Artisans are greatly underappreciated and undervalued. I know when it comes to purchasing handcrafted items the price is a deciding factor for many. Firstly, you have to realise how much time, effort, love, frustration and a billion other things that go into making a uniquely handcrafted item. Handcrafted items might seem expensive but in the long run if you buy one item for £10 that you will keep for the next ten years, seems a whole lot better than buying ten items at £1 which will constantly break in no time. Would you rather buy a one of a kind item that feels like it’s been made especially for you or would you rather buy something hundreds of other people have?
Secondly, these people are trying to make a living just like you or anyone else. Except when you have your own business it’s a sink or swim situation, you have to dedicate the time, effort and resources to make it work. That sometimes means working until midnight or at weekends and often you have to put your own life on hold. Artisans are doing these out of love and since they make everything by hand, the impact on the planet is minimal and no one is getting exploited. Wouldn’t you rather have something made by love rather than a mould?
Thirdly, the constant need to be buying new Yule decorations every year is wasteful. You have to ask yourself, do you really need them? Can you afford them? Is the whole buying into the extravagance through the media, societal and peer pressure making you happy? Is it causing you stress? Are you really living the life you want?
For me a minimalist lifestyle and handcrafted items go hand in hand. We live in a society where put more value on possessions and become too attached to objects in order to compensate for the detachment we feel to each other and Mother Earth. I feel like a minimalistic life strips back all these things and anything unnecessary that is stifling us from becoming purer forms of ourselves.
Life is about improving ourselves, I’m trying to improve my own minimalistic approach to life and especially around this time of year. I spend a lot of time making items for other people but I’m trying to set aside a little time to keep creating for myself. Something personal, something meaningful, something that I will keep getting out year after year. These are a few rustic Yule decorations I made for myself recently.
I have similar items to these listed in my shop, which you can find here.
Some ideas for a minimalistic approach to Yule.
It might be getting cold but the best place for inspiration is outdoors, so get your coat on and get out. If you live by a beach, take a walk along it. If you’re lucky enough you might be able to find some craft inspiration; pieces of drift wood, uniquely shaped rocks and even some sea glass. It’s the same if you live near a forest, a park or just any outdoor space where you could find wood, rocks, natural elements, leaves or winter flowers. Whilst you are out there, why not make it a family activity? It’s also fun to learn about the different types of trees or even see if you can spot any wildlife.
If you’re looking for inspiration of what you could make with your finds, why not have a look at my winter craft ideas on Pinterest, which you can find here.
Let loose on your creativity, it’s far more fun and far more valuable for creating memories. If you don’t have time to craft then remember to shop for handmade or local items.
Blessed Be )O(