Discover more from Reign of Ravynn
Emotional Support Crafting
Crafting as a Familial Inheritance and Constant Lifesaver
As a result of having a crafty elementary school teacher for a mother and a creative handyman for a father, there was always an abundance of supplies for making in my house. I grew up in a house where there were rolls of blueprints and cups of blue and red drafting pencils, endless bottles of acrylic paints and every assortment of crafting paper imaginable. They got creative ingenuity from their parents: my paternal grandmother knew how to sew and needlepoint, and my grandfathers on both sides were good wood and machines.
I knew had no shortage of creative hobbies growing up. It helped that we almost never needed to go to the store for supplies when I got it in my head to try something new. There was always construction paper when I wanted to make paper dolls, long sheets of legal sized paper when I wanted to make newspapers for my dad, yarn for when I wanted to crochet or knit.
I come from people who could imagine something and instinctively know how to make it real, from what parts they needed to its final construction.
Keeping my hands busy isn’t just a quirky personality trait; it’s a familial inheritance.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve found a lot of comfort in making. When the safest option was to stay indoors, I immediately turned to my store of art and craft supplies and decided to make to keep myself centered. It eventually even turned into a fairly successful Etsy store. (I wasn’t able to keep it going long term with my job and book project.) I made so many beautiful things: painted Black girls as the focal point of polaroid pictures made of scrap papers, paper dolls, notecards, comics, painted canvases, handbound journals, mugs, resin keychains out of four leaf clovers, zines and so much more.
Crafting the last few years has reminded me that even in terrible times, I can still make beautiful things.
This mentality is still true. The world isn’t being kind to me right now. Aside from the large scale national issues I have concerns about, my particular problems are weighing on my mind, including the vacillating health of my chronically ill dad.
In an attempt to settle my racing heart after he had an episode earlier in the week, I did what I do: I grabbed the first things I could find and tried to make something with it.
The result was this “Writer” bag that I quickly turned over and added “Storyteller,” because things still hadn’t calmed down.
That was something I realized in the early days: my making tendencies keep pace with the level of stress I am experiencing. The more stressed I am, the more I make. And at a certain point, there is a limit, a fact which I discovered after defending my dissertation. It took me six months before I felt like making anything at all.
My people are lovely. They immediately praised my crafting, a few asking for a tote for themselves. For once in my life, I initially said no. These were my emotional support crafts. I was making them because everything felt sideways. These leveled out my world.
But I remembered that sometimes, it’s good to share. That part of the joy of making is being able to share the things I make with others. That if I loved to find beauty in creating, others delight in my art and crafts, and want to feel connected to me through the things I make.
I’m still being mindful of how much I make. After all, once it stops being comforting, I’ll need another emotional support craft. But for now, I’m making just a few for friends because it helps me breathe easier. For an hour or two, my mind doesn’t have to hold anything but a design, and my hands work of their own accord.
I let my inheritance bring me some peace.