Craft isn't callous or uncaring. It's essential for well-being in times of crisis.
In times like these, we need our art more than ever.
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
Have you ever experienced stress, loneliness, anxiety, disappointment, anger or grief? Of course you have- you're human. Have you ever sought the solace of craft or an activity to process any of the aforementioned feelings? Guess what, that's just part of being human, too.
Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.
- George Bernard Shaw
Recently, there have been harrowing news stories circulating about what's happening in the world. The last time I checked, I didn't have the power to change any of those things. People are starving, dying, fleeing their homes and facing years of displacement. Mass shooters are popping up in sleepy American towns with assault weapons. Climate change is causing forest fires and changes in sea levels as well as seasonal weather. This is all happening while we are living our regular lives, visiting family and friends, going to work, fulfilling obligations and doing other things. Sometimes, we may even feel guilty about living our lives the way we do because of the terrible things that happen in the world.
This does not mean to say that we don't care.
There's a lot on social media at the moment and it seems near impossible to only see what you want to see or say anything without it turning into a huge argument but what's also popping up is criticism of how others are going about their day. Artists and businesses who rely on social media for their living are made to feel insensitive for posting content as usual. Even hobbyists who just want to post about their latest project are in the guilt-trip firing line. Whatever you say, it will be the wrong thing. If you choose to acknowledge it, you're wrong. If you choose not to comment, you're also wrong according to randoms on the internet.
Don't feel guilty if you need to stay quiet and craft
I believe that there is way too much pressure on makers to say something or do something. In truth, there's not much we can do outside of polling day in most cases. It's frustrating when you're not listened to. It's upsetting when you're accused of not caring. If you need to step back from mass arguments on the internet, you have a right to do that. You should never feel guilty for making time for art.
Creativity takes courage
Art doesn't make you selfish, it doesn't make you callous or cold-hearted. It gives you space. Space to process your feelings. Space to think or not to think at all. There's a reason why art and crafts are prescribed as a therapy.
Craft doesn't have to always be an introspective thing, either. Craft can be expressive, communicative and collaborative. What we choose to do with our minds and our hands does not mean that we don't care. It's more often than not the opposite, actually.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
I don't believe that the solution is to sit and dwell. We can see things, feel things and respond to things without needing to publish our outrage on the internet. Crafting can also be caring. Art can be a way of us listening and processing.
Share your work because somebody out there needs to see it.
This isn't the first time that the world has been burning. What do you think people did in times of crisis?
The world has always been burning. Do you think that the ancient Britons stopped creating because Romans had arrived? Did the monks stop writing and illustrating because the Vikings were threatening their existence? They didn't stop then and they didn't stop when the Reformation came, either. Did all artists, musicians and craftspeople stop creating because Nazi Germany was coming to unravel their way of life? They did not. If they had the means to, they made.
Issues today are different to issues that have arisen in history but there has and always will be a crisis. People get through them and I believe art, music, crafting and creating has a role to play in that recovery. Shaming artists for being artists didn't end any wars, as far as I know.