Crafty pursuits

My mother is very much a crafter and an artist. Cake decorating, sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, pottery, ceramics, tole painting…you name it, she’s probably tried it.  Even now, with her eyesight failing, she still paints.

She tried to teach me to knit — all I could manage to do was long, rather ugly scarves and pot holders in plain knitting stitch (no “knit one, purl one” for me) and even then she had to finish them up for me. (Last time I tried, I couldn’t even do that properly anymore.) She also tried to teach me to crochet — I can crochet a mean (and essentially endless) string but that’s about it. Then she tried to teach me to sew with a sewing machine — she even gave me her old sewing machine — but I just never took to it. I reaped the benefits of her crafting — gorgeous birthday cakes, tole painted landscapes and full sized artwork that still hang on my walls, afghans and pillows — but other than painting (which we took up at the same time — ah, the days of making our own “canvases” out of Gesso-covered masonite), I never took an interest in any of the crafts she enjoyed doing.

I have the attention span of a squirrel when it comes doing crafts. I love doing them, but I lose interest in them really quickly. Craft kits when I was a kid were about my speed — once you were done with the kit, you could move on to something else. The only two crafty pursuits I’ve ever done for a sustained period of time are, perhaps not coincidentally, two crafts my mother has never taken up: silver jewelry and macrame.

Macrame was big in the 70s. I designed and made nursery mobiles, purses, and, yes, those lovely, big owl wall hangings (made a matching set of those with a customized design of my own — one snow white and other dove grey, with long, luxurious tails — for my mother). Macrame (old skool, 70s macrame, I mean) is a substantial craft, frequently done with thick, polypropylene cording — dainty isn’t my thing so that worked out well for me (and a good square knot makes my inner OCDer all happy inside). The silver jewelry making I took up in the 80s, creating mostly cabochon or plain silver rings and armlets. (I would have liked to keep that up, but then I got a boyfriend and, well, you know how that goes.)

I’ve found myself lately thinking of both. One of these days, I think I’d like to start making jewelry again, if for no other reason than to save myself some money — me, Etsy, and Paypal are a really dangerous combination. Browsing around on Etsy tonight, looking for seraphinite jewelry, I learned of “micro macrame”, very fine macrame knot work usually combined with small beads in the creation of jewelry. Some examples I’ve seen are a little cheesy (it wouldn’t be macrame if there wasn’t some element of kitschiness to the craft somewhere), but some are quite simple and classic, and others are very ornate works of art in their own rights. Sounds like a perfect combination of my artsy/crafty interests, especially since you can buy some really nice semi precious gem beads now.