Hands at Home—My Top 10

Because I’m thinking a lot about makers and making, those “loving hands at home,” I want to explain my thinking a little more. I have certain activities that I love to do, to participate in, and others that I want to learn about and appreciate. These are some of the topics I’ll be writing about so you can think of this as a preview of coming attractions! If you love the handmade, too, what would you add to the list?

  1. candy making—this is on my mind a lot because it’s a business for me. I make caramels and chocolate candy. It’s a great creative outlet and makes the people around me happy, too.
  2. quilt making—this, to me, is the ultimate “hands at home” craft. The colors, the textures, the design possibilities!  The connections to the past and other makers. I love the most utilitarian quilt as much as the most carefully crafted, beautiful quilt.
  3. jewelry making—I studied this in college, took it up again at a later date, and should do more. I never feel more powerful and accomplished than I do with an acetylene torch blazing away.
  4. music making—do you play an instrument? Sing? I think we all should. I don’t do it often enough but there’s something about participating in the making of music that is essential to human nature, I think.
  5. gardening—I came to this late and have a lot to learn. For me it’s about flowers and loveliness but maybe you grow vegetables. Either way, watching things grow . . .wow.
  6. folk music—I like homemade music. I put this as a different list item than “music making” because, while I think we should all play our own music, I also want to listen to the music of the average person. I especially like the music of protest and rebellion.
  7. weaving—I don’t have the first clue how to do it, which is too bad since we have a big loom, an impulse purchase, sitting in the garage. I’m drawn to the woven items every time I go to a craft display or historical museum, though.
  8. textiles—I guess I should just admit that all textiles appeal to me. Those samplers done by nine-year olds. Those rugs hooked from rags, to warm the feet AND beautify the home. And all those tablecloths and dish towels, embroidered with bright colors. So much tradition and personality in each piece!
  9. folk art—this is in the front of my mind because we just made a trip to Shelburne Museum in Vermont, where they have a huge collection of folk art and it’s so cool. It focuses on utilitarian items, like weather vanes and duck decoys and scrimshaw. These were made by unknown hands, by people not trained as artists, and each item is simply lovely.
  10. 10. enough about me . . . what would you add as the tenth item on the list? What do you make by hand?