Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Handmade: Family Edition, Passing Down Knowledge to Our Kids

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

It’s that time of year again when my oldest has a birthday, and this year he turns the big eight. It amazes me to see the way he progresses in every way, and his creative growth process is no exception. Drawings that were little more than scribbles of crayon, now take shape as dragons and ninjas. He practices drawing his anime, and slams his pencil in frustration when he doesn’t believe his work matches the picture in his head. Meanwhile, his little sister experiments with crayons on every surface she can find, including my walls.

C learning to draw from a book

As my children get older, I age as well. This year I will hit one of those big ages. I won’t tell you which one, but there won’t be a three in it anymore. I plan to stick around earth for a lot longer, but I need to impart my knowledge on to these minds. If we do not share our crafts with the next generation, who will? As time moves on and technology grows, fewer and fewer people know how to sew their own clothing with a sewing machine. Even fewer know what to do with a hand needle. What happens when the power goes out? By the way, my husband invited me to a fabric store for our second date, as he does know how to sew. I believe this is a large reason regarding why we are married today.

The beginnings of  K the mural artist

We need to encourage kids to make things with their hands. It isn’t as hard or overwhelming as it initially sounds. All it takes is a handful of crayons, paper, and glue. There are items all over the house perfect for creative moments, and the best part? They are free. You already bought the toilet paper, and you were going to throw the roll away. May as well allow the kids to play with them first. I remember dying macaroni and making necklaces as a child. A sand and water table can be enough to entertain and spark ideas in a child’s head. When they become used to the idea their hands can create things, it is easier to introduce the idea of bigger and more elaborate crafts.

C experimenting with the hammers at the bench

In addition, we can allow our children to watch us when we work. Perhaps handing an eight year old, even a very responsible one, a lit torch is a frightening prospect, but he can watch. If you separate your work out by tasks, there may be steps where they can participate. For example, my son often sands pieces by hand for me and contributes his opinions to the design process. Other times, he brings his homework to my studio, and we are just sharing the same air space.

With it was still an experiment, C said it was a bracelet - He was right

What happens if we don’t share these incredible skills with the next generation? What knowledge will we lose as a society? We are forever changing our world we live in, by building on to to past, which can be a great thing, but should we completely forget where we came from? How do you share with future generations?

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