Hey y’all, this is Savannah from the Macon County Public Library. You’ve seen some of my previous blogs which focus here and there on escapism. Since March is National Craft Month, I get to talk about my most favorite “escapism” of all – craft time.
In case you didn’t know, there’s a lot of truth to “crafting helps with personal wellness”. I, myself, can attest to this but don’t take my word for it. A quick internet news browse suggests that we are still talking about how craft time can contribute to a person’s happiness and help with their anxiety, at the very least. Take for example this article from CNN, published in 2015, that states that “crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging.” Further, one of the Psychologists mentioned in the article, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is credited with naming the concept of “find a happy and productive distraction” as “flow” – some thing or some activity that, in a few moments of bliss, you can focus all of your attention on and nothing else. I don’t think there’s a better definition of escapism. You can find Csikszentmihalyi’s TED Talk here.
Now, crafting might not be where you find your “flow”, however, if you’ve not found your “flow” I highly suggest a trip to your local library where you can find a plethora, and I mean a plethora, of craft books, craft groups, and craft (Maker) tools. Perhaps you’re interested in wood working and you don’t know where to start. Fear not, a quick keyword search on our online card catalog shows that the Fontana Regional system has plenty of books to choose from including carving, wood turning, and general woodworking projects for adults and kids. Some examples include: Chris Pye’s Woodcarving Course & Reference Manual, Turning Custom Duck and Game Calls, and The Big Book of Weekend Woodworking Projects: 150 Easy Projects.
Maybe you don’t have a shop or the space/time to get into woodworking, well, certainly, there are other crafts to choose from including, of course, knitting. If there’s one thing I learned from library school, it’s that seven out of ten librarians are knitters, the eighth crochets. It is known. Due to this fact, I believe, knitting, crocheting, and textile books are infinitely available at your local library. Some examples include: Learn to Knit with 50 Squares: For Beginners and Up, A Unique Approach to Learning to Knit, Ultimate Crochet Bible: A Complete Reference with Step-By-Step Techniques and Sewing Green: Projects and Ideas for Stitching with Organic, Repurposed, and Recycled Fabrics – Plus Tips and Resources for Earth Friendly Sewing. If you’re new to knitting or crocheting OR you’d just like to try out a new technique, feel free to stop by your local library to check out a MakerTool knitting/crocheting kit as seen below:
Also, the Macon County Public Library will have sewing machines available for in-house use while some other branches will have them available for checkout!
Now, I am the outlier of librarian craft stereotypes because I enjoy leather working an expensive and unforgiving hobby. Fortunately, if you’re interested in that, why, yes, the library has some information on leather working too, including: Leather Crafting Starter Book: Tools, Techniques and 16 Step-By-Step Projects for Beginners, The Art & Craft of Pyrography: Drawing with Fire on Leather, Gourds, Cloth, Paper, and Wood, and Best of Stitch: Bags to Sew.
Now, leather working, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and woodworking are just a few subjects that some of the craft books at the Fontana Regional Libraries. Other craft book subjects include but are not limited to: embroidery, cake decorating, cosplay, duct tape crafts, candle making, wedding decorating, house decorating, yard decorating, weaving, building (anything), model making, origami, painting, drawing, fly tying, quilting, basket weaving, basically, you name it, we’ve got it. Now all you need to do is find the time!
Time, I might add, is my greatest crafting mistake, that is, taking too much time to figure out that I needed to make time for crafting in my life. Seriously, it is wonderful to see a project fulfilled from start to finish, even if you make a few mistakes along the way. I promise, you can always get better and/or find a new craft.
Now, books alone, believe or not, are not all that your local library has to offer. Check out our Fontana Library website for a calendar of events. Specifically, the Jackson County Public Library offers an adult program called “Craft Therapy” and a program called “Creating Communities” where local artists bring all the supplies and their knowledge and participants get to take their own craft home! The Nantahala Public Library also offers a class entitled “Baskets with Susan” where participants get to learn to make baskets. The Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library offers “Crafternoon” for kids. In fact, there are a ton of craft programs at all of our libraries for kids. Here at the Macon County Public Library, we are offering crafts for teens and young adults. Just check our calendars and remember to take the time to make the time for crafts.