Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post: The Anti-Craft aka Molly Keene

When Lois said that she needed guest posters, I only hesitated for a second before throwing my hat into the ring. Had I hesitated for two more seconds, I would have had a fascinating (and potentially humiliation-sparing) revelation:

I don’t craft for a reason. I’m horrible at it. I am the Anticraft.

Alas, patience and common sense are two things I lack in spades, so here I am – guest posting on a crafting blog about the crafts that I know best…

The failures.

I suppose it all goes back to grade school; my tissue-paper trees (you know, the ones you make where you wrap the paper around the pencil and then glue each piece on the paper plate) were abstract masterpieces. By this, I mean that they were a hot mess, not unlike many pieces of abstract art. I’m quite sure that my mother had the same reaction that I’ve had in many an art gallery:
(I know I’m supposed to appreciate this, but I have no idea what it is, but I have to say something…SAY SOMETHING!!!!)
And then the choked out phrase uttered by all mothers everywhere:

Later on, it was dioramas. Mobiles. Things with Elmer’s and glitter. I discovered that I was a pretty decent painter, but I painted with my father, who 1) had to be nice to me and 2) was actually a really talented artist. So “decent” is relative – it’s like saying I make decent pies because I can read the directions and stick the sucker in a stove.

And then I became a Latter Day Saint. You know, a Mormon. Here’s the thing about Mormon women: they are the Special Forces of crafting. The Navy SEALS of felt and glue. Quite frankly, most women I know are some sort of MacGyver when it comes to making creative things. Conversations go a little something like this:

Me: Oh, wow, how did you make that wreath/ pillow cover/ potholder that doubles as a cure for cancer?
Them: Oh, it was totally simple. I simply used fallen macaroni, a dab of Hodge Podge  (what I heard, I swear), and a piece of wire from my fifth son’s Eagle Scout Project. It was so. Stinkin’. EASY. You can do it, too!

And, fool that I was, I believed their honest, shining little faces and their sweet, musical words. Little did I know that I was headed down a path of craft failure previously unbeknownst to be in existence.

We moved to Michigan a few years ago, and in our ward (congregation), there was a monthly crafting group. It was full of women that I really liked, and sweet, adorable McCrafty (I changed the names to protect the innocent) held up crafts every month in our Relief Society meeting.

 It’s really easy, I’ll have the stuff all assembled and be there to help you.

I looked at her felt wreath covered in flowers/ vinyl lettering/ holiday blocks and decided that it was time to take a leap of faith.

Crafting nights usually resulted in words hissed from my mouth that wouldn’t be welcome in a bar, much less a church activity. I burned myself with hot glue guns. I wrapped felt into lopsided flowers. Vinyl letters peeled off in sections, rather than in one whole piece. But nothing – no, nothing – compares to the humiliation of the Holiday Blocks.

 I still get grumpy when I think about the Holiday Blocks.
McCrafty was kind enough to invite me over to her house to do my blocks. As in a private tutorial. It was like the remedial crafting class – a last ditch effort to save my crafting soul. She swears it was just because I hadn’t been able to make it to class, but I knew in my bones it was to help me experience some sense of success…and protect the other sisters from my hissed mild profanity.

I sat, going through the steps – painting, sanding, etc. – and I felt that I was experiencing some element of success! I could feel the giant, crushing weight of Martha Stewart start to raise off of my soul. I was doing it! I was CRAFTING!!!!
Then came the words. Words uttered from a small boy – innocent words.

Yeah, I’m making these for my teachers at school for Christmas.

My world came crashing around me silently. He looked at me across the table, and talked about how it was easy and how his mother said they’d like them. It had taken me hours – LITERALLY, HOURS – to get these @#$% things to a presentable state and Sammy Second Grade was discussing the ease with which he’d completed them? You had to be kidding. I moped out of the door and home, and put my holiday blocks on a shelf. They remained there until February. Maybe it was depression; maybe it was carelessness. Maybe it was both. But dust coated their cheery d├ęcor like something out of Martha Stewart’s worst nightmares.

So the next time you make a craft, or enter a crafting competition, or tell someone how deliriously easy that craft was, or how you could have done it with your eyes closed, or even how much absolute joy it brought you…
Think of me.

The Anticraft.

Who is watching Pinterest with envy and longing. 

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  1. I love this Molly. I feel your pain. Crafts don't come easy to me either. At least not as easy as Lois.

  2. I read this last night on my IPod while laying in bed. I nearly woke up my hubby I was giggling so much! Great job, Molly! You have a way with words and expressed how many of us feel about our shortcomings when it comes to crafting. :)


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