By Carol Endler Sterbenz
Author of Homemade: The Heart and Science of Handcrafts
Have you been thinking about learning a new craft? If so, I hope you will feel inspired to try whatever it is that has been intriguing you. I have been making pretty things by hand for a long, long time, and yet I am still captivated by crafts I know little about. Learning a new craft is still compelling and possible to me as long as I keep in mind the following tips, which I discovered along the way.
1. Foremost, love what you are going to make, really connect to the design (or to the materials or to the anticipated zen of getting the new methodology). Your enthusiasm will carry you through the unfamiliar steps and motivate you to finish the project to your standards and satisfaction.
2. Invite a friend to join you. It’s always more fun learning a new craft when you have company, someone who gets as jazzed about craft stuff as much as you do. Put on the music and the tea kettle, prepare your work space, and share the creative journey with a kindred spirit.
3. Take your time. Plan a reasonable period of time to get a feel for the new technique. Break up your hands-on crafting time according to natural pauses in the process. For example, if glue or paint needs to dry, stop at that natural point in the process, resuming when the materials are ready to work with or anytime thereafter that you want to.
4. Expect to make mistakes. They are part of any learning process, but so are the creative jolts that will come from treading on unfamiliar ground and then finding a solid footing, which will give you a sense of satisfaction and joy. Simply put, learning feels good.