“If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft.”
- Snoop Dogg (yep that Snoop Dogg)
As you no doubt are already aware we like to refer to ourselves as a ‘crafty family’.
That is not to say that we are particularly wily or cunning, although my dear Mumsicles has been compared to a fox with two tails.
We are crafty in as much as we love, or perhaps need to craft, to create. We say ‘crafty’ to distinguish ourselves from those who might be considered ‘arty’. Anyone who has spent time with us will confirm that we lack the sober contemplation, pretentious posturing and relentless need to justify required to be ‘arty’, moreover we frequently entertain ourselves pouring scorn on those who do display such idiosyncrasies.
Our urge to make, do, mend, build, create, synthesise and assemble is just that, an urge and woe betide us when we ignore it. In each generation our particular tendencies vary and certainly at different times we will have various crafty projects on the go.
G’ma Keynko at different time has been known to create; Beautiful gardens of flowers and scrummy fruit & veg, cooks delicious meals of every sort and stitches, knits and crochets anything you can think of.
Grampy Keynko is a machines man, fiddling tinkering and pottering with any mechanical device he can get his hands on, if it involves engines, motors, cranks,cogs, flywheels, widgets and doohickeys then that is his ken. If he cant get it running, it isn’t worth running to which the seemingly permanent grease stains and smell of Swarfega will attest.
Mumsicles makes and crafts clothes in form and varieties from the best part of 2000 year of clothing, she knits, embroiders, generally making all the lovely things you come here to see. She also is co-director of the partnership responsible for a critically acclaimed line in excellent children.
Badger is a master of all things miniature, landscapes, buildings, tanks, trucks and troops all built and painted in immaculate detail. Recently widening his remit to include fancy wood workings and other such fiddly creations he also shares mum’s talent for costume making and the raising of afore mentioned Wünderkinder.
Bernard, with her wonderful talent for dance is the member of the collective closest to the terrifying ‘arty’ boundary line (so far I believe we have avoided the phrase “interpretive”). Her main craft however appears to be simply elegance of which the dancing is one outlet, but also in her day to day deportment and mannerisms. She is a dab hand at the crafty things she has tried with G’ma and Mumsicles in the past, but has spent a significant period of time in the past five years focusing on crafting a spectacular set of school results.
Even the newest addition, my fiancée (Irish Baby) fits in to our pattern through the infuriating ease with which she creates beautiful music. She is of course another member of the ‘at risk’ category for becoming ‘arty’ but we are ever gratefully for her on going grounded level-headedness and her recent love of crafty things she learned from Mumsickles.
I myself have dabbled in almost all of these, except perhaps gardening and dancing (do nightclubs count?) but to significantly less ease and success than my family members.
I can manage a scrappy running stitch and I think I know what seam allowance means. I can up tools and fix slightly less than 10% of the smaller mechanical faults on my bike.
I have collected and assembled a few armies of miniatures, clumsily plonked away of various instruments, partook in a famous incident involving spoon craft and even once or twice concentrated at school…. I think.
None of these things has been ‘my craft’ my participation in them always lacked some of the key features that make them like other Keynko’s personal specialities. And skilled as they all are, it is not in fact their brilliance that makes it ‘their craft’ as we shall see. I wasn’t even sure until just the other day what my craft was or even if I had one.
You see the thing that defines a Keynko crafter is the fact that we don’t just create for the sake of it, we don’t do it for the money (although at times many Keynko crafters have made a living doing what they love) in fact we craft because we are impelled to, and our general well-being suffers when we don’t.
Each persons craft is their wind-down, their head space or their ‘Zen’ if you will. A thing we do which doesn’t require all our effort or concentration. A simple way in which we take the disordered (bag of seed and compost,broken engine,unmade model, pile of fabric, set of moves, string of notes) and give it order (flower beds,working engine, painted model, beautiful jacket, breathtaking ballet or foot-stomping jig).
It is through this ordering process that we find the time to order our other thoughts, fears, concerns and queries. In other words the way we quiet the background noise of our brains. It is to this end I was pleased to come to realise last week that my craft, my ‘figure-painting’ is food.
Cooking is my chance to make the chaotic, ordered (and tasty) whilst I dabble in others, this is ‘my craft’ because it frees my mind where others take my full concentration (just ask mum about my sewing face). I loose myself in the process and love what I do and this makes for an enlightening and tasty way to waste an hour. My current living situation limits my time and facilities for cooking and thus has shut me off from my craft to the point that the chaos begins to take the forefront and so I have been forced to take some time to reconnect to give order and to create in the process.
Whilst We, the collective, are unique – a fact which I’m sure brings you peace, imagine if there were more of us ?! – we are not in fact unique.
And so I urge you to find your craft, your Zen, your head space. Find your thing that gives order to the chaos. Paint a picture, take a photograph, cook, knit, sew, grow, make, mend, do. Sod it just come up with a nifty system for organising your Books and DVDs.
Whatever it is you can bet your bottom dollar that you feel better, and all that extraneous background nonsense will be easier to deal with, if you take keynko tip and find what makes your ‘crafty’