Here is a good result born from the pandemic. Many more people have started using their hands and hearts to make crafts at home.
Those so-called artisans who used to say “If only I had time, I’d like to do (fill in the blank: tapestry, pottery, quilting, candle making, basket weaving, woodworking, painting or making macrame walls the art of bicycle tires and tights) had their chance.
As people found creative ways to entertain themselves and children during lockdown, pursuing small crafts has become big business.
Craft supply stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels have seen surprisingly strong sales during the pandemic, and their projections for 2022 remain strong.
In 2020, Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade items, more than doubled its revenue, and for the first nine months of 2021, its gross merchandise sales increased 39% from the same period of the previous year, according to Forbes.
Even small craft businesses have felt the boost. “Our business tripled in 2020,” said Shannon Brinkley, a fabric designer who runs The Meander Guild, an international online forum where quilters come together to explore quiltmaking styles from around the world and develop their crafts.
“When people were stuck at home, they tried to think of new things to do and creative sparks took hold,” said Jeff Herman, editor-in-chief of Lawnstarter, an app that lets users book cleaning services. lawn and outdoors. This month, his company released its “Best Cities for Crafting” report.
“We’ve all seen stories about how many people have put the extra time and money they had during the pandemic into home improvements,” Herman said.
“But fewer talked about how they used time and money to improve their homes and quality of life through craftsmanship. It seems like a huge trend.
Indeed, as a society, we have gone from wringing our hands to wringing tie-dye T-shirts and knitting our eyebrows to knitting afghans. Creating crafts has not only helped us pass the time in isolation and distracted us from the problems of the world, but has also made our homes more beautiful and sometimes brought dough.
Kat Kennedy is a good example. “I’ve always loved doing crafts,” she says. But when the pandemic hit, the 34-year-old mom took up finger knitting, a technique that doesn’t use needles. She started making blankets with a vengeance.
“Before the pandemic, I had probably done a total of three covers in my life,” she said. Since COVID, she has made 21. Several adorn her home. Some, it is sold. Others, it is given as a gift or given to the homeless.
Her boyfriend, Daniel Hardy, also caught craft fever. After Kennedy dragged him to a few thrift stores, he became interested in old furniture and began picking up a few worn but well-made pieces, including china cabinets, cedar chests and dressers, and learned to sanding, touching up and restoring them. watching YouTube videos. He is now selling his refurbished furniture.
The couple do it all in the living room of a 925-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment. Kennedy knits in an oversized chair, while Hardy works nearby in part of the dining room they’ve turned into a studio.
According to the “Best Cities for Crafters” survey, the top five are New York, San Francisco, Miami, Seattle, and Patterson, NJ. But more important than ranking is knowing what to look for in your community to help you succeed in crafting. . Here are the qualities researchers have found that can help ignite crafters’ glue guns:
• Access to materials: Having lots of craft supply stores per square mile helped boost a town’s ranking, as did having an abundance of hardware, fabric, and thrift stores.
• Artisan community: Cities where many local artists participated in their Local Artists Sunday — an art shopping event held each November in cities across America — ranked highest, along with those that had many groups of craft meeting.
“Having a concentration of artists nearby is important for both inspiration and networking,” Herman said.
• Educational opportunities: The more arts and crafts classes a city offers and the more schools that offer arts and crafts classes, the greater the opportunities for artistic growth and enrichment, and the higher a city scores in the ranking.
• Artistic events: A final measure of a city’s craft potential is the number of arts events, including craft fairs and art festivals, that a city hosts each year. Whether you tap into a creative community online or in person, artists do best when they engage with other artists.
Join me next week as we talk about what every crafting room should have.
Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books, including “Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go”. Contact her at marnijameson.com.