Friday, April 17, 2009

Toronto Junction Arts & Crafts Neighbourhood: Wise Daughters' Story: Part 2

Wise Daughters Craft Market Toronto Junction Arts Crafts NeighbourhoodCollage: Toronto Junction Arts & Crafts Neighbourhood: Wise Daughters' Story
Photos by Serena McCarroll
Part 2 - In the Zone

Crafters and artists have a habit of staying up all night when the muse is with them. Sometimes, knitters, weavers and sewers, to name just a few, sustain repetitive strain injuries. When the Wise Daughters local suppliers and I got together, I asked them, "Why did you choose this path – or did it choose you?" Nearly everyone present answered that they felt "compelled" to make things with their hands. Some referred to it as an addiction. All could relate to the feeling of being "in the zone", where time stands still and it's only about the creation process. One of the crafters confessed to raiding the school craft cupboard to feed her habit. The cross-stitching man among us was determined enough to overcome the stigma of being a boy crafter. Another admitted that she never could find her third eye in yoga, but beading... that did it for her.

Making things is undeniably therapeutic, unless it's in a mandatory grade 8 home ec/industrial arts class. For some of us, it’s the soothing rhythmic motion of knitting, needlepoint or carving that does the trick, allowing the mind to either clear or wander freely. For others, it’s the painstakingly precise action of sewing, beading or quilling that provides release. Regardless, it’s the process that matters. Nobody starts out making something for the purpose of selling it. It’s only when family and friends, or even strangers, suggest that the item is marketable that we consider the earning potential of what we do. But artists make art without regard to whether it will sell. Sales, however, can serve to validate this expenditure of time, sometimes in the eyes of dubious spouses, parents or children.

When we’re kids, we’re always being encouraged to draw pictures, proudly displayed on fridges. What happens when we hit adolescence? Suddenly we’re encouraged to pursue only those things were "good at", dropping the rest. Many of us abandon sports for years, if not forever. Others never pick up a coloured pencil or paintbrush again, or not until retirement, when such frivolity can be indulged with impunity. It’s a sad situation. It’s why Wise Daughters is encouraging grown-ups to come out and play again – to have fun making sock monkeys, moose head trophies, knitted face cloths, lovely greeting cards - but also to reconnect with that childlike joy that comes from simply creating, for its own sake.

2009 © Mary Breen
Owner of the Wise Daughters Craft Market

Wise Daughters Craft Market
Local handicrafts and do-it-yourself workshops

3079B Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, M5P 1Z9
(facing Quebec Ave, just south of Dundas, behind Crema Coffee)
There is ample street parking on Dundas and Quebec.
Via TTC: Junction bus from Dundas West Stn,
Lambton bus (or 15 min. walk) from High Park Stn.

Coming in future instalments... why those of us with mothers who liked to spray paint things in the 70s are compelled to make stuff, and why we choose to do it in the Junction.

Part 1 - It’s the Story
Part 2 - In the Zone
Part 3 - A Genetic Predisposition
Part 4 - The Junction Vibe

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