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the Dark Side of crafting – bonus post

Those of you who follow my Tally_LRR account on Twitter saw me griping yesterday about the fact that I didn’t get into a Seattle craft fair and consequently all my crafting is pointless. This seemingly outrageous jump is largely hormonal, but I bet there are other folks out there who can relate.

My Twitter comment about needing to compete in the crafting world may have been misleading. I craft because I love crafting, just as I sing because I love singing and play video games because I love blowing shit up and giving our old folks and politicians something to get up in arms about, as it were.

I don’t craft because I plan to make a living off it (though a small amount of extra income wouldn’t be unwelcome) or because I think it’ll someday land me on Oprah. I craft because I usually can’t stop myself and wouldn’t want to.


There are times when your inner toddler cries for a little extra attention and praise. You lose enthusiasm and wonder why you do this stuff. Your house is filled to the rafters with scarves and paper beads and silly felt dolls. Evidence of great inspiration litters your floor and is crammed into all your extra closet space, and someone has just told you that you’re not [insert applicable adjective here] enough to be in their craft show, so what in hell will you do with it all, and who else besides you even cares?

At these times you start to question the point of it all. Why bother? Because not only is it taking over your bookshelves and your boyfriend’s sock drawer and every other available space, but you are supposed to be doing other things like figuring out your life, finding a job. Deciding what you want to be. A house cleaner? A store clerk? A dishwasher? The possibilities for a creative writing major are endless!

In the midst of all this, where is the time for creative nonsense that has no purpose and (so it seems to you) interests no one? Also, you should really get out and get more exercise. And stop eating so much cheese. Those chocolate bars haven’t been doing any good either. In light of the fact that you will never land a job that is creatively fulfilling, nor will you manage to be satisfied with your crafting at home, why not give it up, find work in retail, go to the gym with everyone else and maybe be able to afford a decent vacation someday?

That’s this week. You’ll work out once or twice, give up and eat more chocolate bars, watch a goofy movie with your boyfriend and look for work. By next week your emotions will have ricocheted off an entirely different wall of the universe and you’ll be back at it, energetically constructing Mario mobiles and mailing them to your friends so they can find a place to store them.

Of course, none of this helps you with the ever-present fear of becoming that weird old woman at the bus stop, furiously knitting the World’s Ugliest Socks and drooling gently. You’re on your own with that one.

Leave a comment


  1. Just as I told you on twitter, don’t let them get you down, keep doing what you love, and as I once heard in a song “A friend of me once said to do what you love, the money will come as a result thereof”

    Also, because every site needs one of these people: Lulz first! Im s000 1337.

  2. Like you could ever make ugly socks. They would accidentally turn out adorable.
    You still have time to find a career. They usually show up when you are not looking. And its Seattle’s loss for not having you in their faire.

  3. I (and I know I’m not the only one) am in the exact same boat. Okay so it’s a music major not a creative writing one, but same difference. I don’t plan on making crafts for anything more than making crafts and if anything else would come from it… cool.

    Sidenote: I would recommend looking at your local cinema for jobs. I have found it is the best place for fun at work. Of course, the customers can be atrocious, but not all the time. Plus, there will be perks like the possibility of free (or just reduced) movies.

    Keep crafting because you’re good at it. I love reading your blog for ideas. Especially t-shirt mods.

  4. I see that I misunderstood your tweet and was one of those that gave a reply you were not looking for. Just let me say that although I am not a crafty person myself I still really enjoy your blog and seeing the neat stuff you do. You have a unique take on the crafts and your writing helps to make it entertaining. I for one appreciate your talent and I can assure you that I am not following anyone at the Seattle craft fair.

  5. admin

     /  September 24, 2010

    Thanks for all the lovely encouragement, you guys. You make me feel better. :)

    Joel, I LOVE that this blog has readers who will post “Lulz first! Im s000 1337” in fun. This shows it’s attracting the awesome people of the internet. :D

  6. Tally,

    You’re an incredible creator and a lovely person. I’m sure the only reason you didn’t make the craft fair was timing. Don’t you sweat a thing. You keep creating all the amazing stuff you do, and word will seep out. You know everyone that loves you (almost everyone! :D) is spreading word about your work, and everything will be alright. I mean, look what it took Jer to start being compensated for writing.

    Chin up, dear. You’re going places.


  7. See? We all know how awesome you are. Others just haven’t figured it out yet.

  8. As an artist who turned down a 4 year full ride engineering scholarship to study art ( that faint whine you hear is the echo of my Dad’s initial response ) I say go for it. I have done some jobs other than art from time to time but none I didn’t love and none that didn’t allow me to not only do art but do more of it because of the job. I learned to weld so I could weld my own sculptures and it turns out you can make 30 bucks an hour and save enough in a couple of months to travel and just do art for the rest of the year. I make jewelry full time now and I have never regretted my choice. I tweeted you about some of the ways to get really cool free stuff to make art etc with and I will send you more info. Taking advantage of the amazing amount of free materials is a really good way to increase your profitability. Did you know that upholstery shops and costume shops throw away literally tons of stunning materials. velvets and brocades etc. Small pieces that are perfect for crafting but not really of much use for anything else. Some of the easily stripped thru threads on a heavy silk brocade could add rich texture to your felt creations . I used to do cloth and ceramic sculptures and I found that as long as you were respectful of the business persons time and space many if not all of them were delighted to be involved with your art even just at the level of letting you have their scraps. I know it sounds weird but its worth your time to go to things like the Pantone sites and get a feel for the commercial color papate that is going to infect the zietgiest each year lol. ATM I’m on hols and don’t have all my info with me, but I will tweet you when I think of things. One last thing…have you considered making a book on crafting? Tons of people who love to craft have no ability to come up with their own designs and no idea how to take them to fruition. You have both of those and the ability to write out clear insightful directions. Take care and good luck.

  9. Eve

     /  September 8, 2011

    It’s just terrifying how much my inner toddler can relate to your inner toddler. Mine is more specialized in writing and story-telling field, though, but still. And it’s just awful how no one wants to read things longer than half a page :<


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