4th May 2013


Why do Brits Love Crafting?

With sales of sewing machines soaring, craft workshops and creative cafes popping up all over the UK, it would seem that more and more Brits are turning to a ‘handmade’ way of living.

Whether it's old curtains, crates, ribbons, rope, shopping trolleys or any other raw material, people are finding creative ways to re-use and make beautiful items from what they find around them. In recent years, there’s been an insurgence of places to share and sell ‘craft’ work including antique markets, fairs, stalls and the internet, which have opened crafters and makers up to wider audience. There’s also a growing demand for goods with individuality making the growing market place for handmade and unique items the perfect antidote to buying mass produced.

For those who are curious but have not yet dipped their toe in the creative waters or those who are more advanced, the web is overflowing with sources of inspiration, ideas and ‘how to’ tutorials encouraging you to have a go. TV shows and magazines have both helped to make the notion of ‘make do and mend’ more mainstream, even trendy. Love it or loathe it - it’s hard to have missed the craft revolution.

So let’s try to get to the bottom of what’s fuelling our national obsession with all things handmade and homemade.

While it could be the current economic downturn or even the miserable weather, here at Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, we believe that crafting has taken off on a large scale because it’s accessible to everyone, regardless of skills and training. And, what’s more it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to try it as you can use everyday items lying around your home and transform them into something beautiful. 

We’ve asked some of Britain’s most talented crafters to see what they think.

Edward Glew from Blithfield Willowcrafts makes beautiful baskets and sculptures from English Willow. He believes that historical tradition and the desire for modern authenticity could have something do with it. He explains, “I’m inpired by the past and present. We have a strong historical tradition with crafts as a nation which enables us to express our individuality in many different ways.”

You might have heard of the Arts and Craft movement which flourished in Britian between 1860 and 1910 and grew from a desire to bring back the skills and creativity of the medieval craftsmen and revive the simplicity and honesty in the way things were made. Perhaps we’re craving a return to this more simple, honest way of living?

Jayne Emerson, Textile Designer and Author says, “crafting has been underrated for too long - it’s just wonderful that so many people have discovered it. Creating something you are proud of is the most amazing therapy. I love crafting because I can lose myself completely in it and forget about everything else.”

Jaina Minton, owner of polka dot sundays uses recycled materials, mainly newspaper to make decorative pieces for the home. She believes that more and more Brits are turning to crafting partly because we’re stuck indoors most of the year and partly because it’s so easy to utilise and transform everyday items. 

She explains, “I use everyday materials such as newspapers, which I think has encouraged people to have a go - everyone has old papers lying about at home. I’ve been so encouraged by the number of people who have contacted me with their own newspaper sculptures - it’s just brilliant to see the results.”

No matter what the reason, crafting has made its way back into our lives and this time, we hope it’s for good.

What do you think?

Carrie hunter


Carrie Hunter