A few months ago Claire Lincoln approached me because she wanted to write for the Make It University. I thought it would be a great way to get a fresh point of view and provide you with content when I am in the midst of Make It show prep. I think Claire offers some interesting insights and I hope you enjoy!
Finding Inspiration in Old Craft Books
Inspiration is all around us. It is easy to believe that when everything we see and everyone we meet seems to trigger some new and exciting creative idea, so that, as dedicated crafters, we can scarcely wait to hurry back to our homes, studios or workshops to make a start on our latest project. However, sometimes the ideas just don't seem to flow quite so easily. Or perhaps they just feel a little too much like the ideas that everyone else seems to have and you wish you could come up with something new and different. There could be any number of reasons behind a lack of inspiration. Perhaps we are feeling stressed or there is some problem troubling us. In such cases, even simple things like a few yoga stretches or coffee with a good friend could be enough to help life start to appear less overwhelming and may even help us to tap into our well of inspiration once again. Sometimes, however, that well of inspiration just seems to be dry for no obvious reason. It could simply be that we have not exposed ourselves to enough new and exciting ideas for a while. New ideas do not have to be truly new, of course-sometimes the most exciting ideas are really quite old but have been given a new twist to bring them up to date. One of the wonderful things about crafting is that there is a wealth of ideas tucked away in old craft books and magazines-just waiting to be discovered and given a fresh lease of life!
A Timeless Source of Ideas and Inspiration
Whether they are from this century, the previous one, or-if you are lucky enough to find them-any century before that, craft ideas never go out of style. Even if the project you find described in an old book does not appeal to your personal tastes, the techniques that were used to create it might be adapted to give it a modern twist and create something that is both lovely and completely different from what any other crafters might be producing right now. In fact, two crafters might read the same old book and each come away from it inspired with new, but completely differing, ideas. Because crafting techniques are timeless and many of them have been used by humans for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years, if you discover an old, half-forgotten crafting technique and incorporate it into your own work, you could find that you help bring it back into popularity.
Tracking Down Old Craft Books
You can find old craft books in many locations. In fact, they often turn up where you least expect to find them! It is always worth the time to take a look over the items on display in any garage sales in your neighborhood. One person's clutter that is just taking up space around the home may be another person's treasure, so you never know what you will find. The internet is another possible source of interesting books in which you may be able to learn about traditional crafting ideas from all over the world-and perhaps even discover some crafts that are entirely new to you. You could visit the sites of online book retailers, especially those which specialize in selling craft-related books, as well as checking out any books that private sellers may be listing on sites such as eBay. It is sometimes surprising what is for sale at quite reasonable prices-you may even discover fascinating vintage crafting books from the early twentieth century-or even earlier! Do not overlook the craft section at the public library, especially if you have not visited in a while. You may feel that the library is unlikely to be a source of any surprising and different ideas that will set you apart from other crafters in your community. After all, everyone visits the library, right? However, the collection of old crafting books on offer at the library may be available for everyone to read, but you may be the one to feel inspired by the ideas in them.
Whether they teach you a whole new set of skills and techniques that make you look at your favorite craft in a fresh way or simply offer some patterns that you can update and reinvent in your own style, old craft books are always a source of fascination and inspiration. Take a look inside a vintage craft book-you never know what ideas you might discover in its pages.