Don’t the words “craft swap” conjure up images of badass chics on the prairie trading patchwork quilts and raccoon butter soap? They do for me. And this pioneer fantasy is one I’ve lived in, at least in my head, since I was about five. (Read more about my early Make and Do whimsies here.)
So when I was invited to join something that was called a “craft swap,” I immediately said “Yeeeessss! Of course I’d loooooove to do it!”
Then I said, “What’s a craft swap?”
A craft swap is a group of people who hand make stuff for each other. Every month, each individual makes something for someone else in the group. So everyone in the group ends up with an awesome handmade something-or-other from a different person. It’s sort of like how my family picks names to exchange Christmas gifts amongst our 20+ cousins, only with more hot glue. Our swap has a $30 limit for the supplies you purchase to make your gift. Other than that, it’s a free for all.
Here are a some peeks at the poster, necklaces and DIY zen garden they whipped up last month. (How excited am I to be amongst this company!?)
This month, get to make something for Marla. I don’t know her super well. Like I’ve met her once or twice. For a total of about 31 seconds. I don’t have any idea what she likes to wear, look at, be around or decorate with. I’ve been stalking her Pinterest to try to figure out her style. I’ve found it a bit nerve-wracking to be making creative decisions “in-the-dark” so to speak. But in some ways it’s forced me to trust myself. This craft swap is a unique situation where I’m making something for someone who I know has good taste, I just don’t know what that taste is. When I make something for myself or someone I know well, I think I tend to pursue it like there’s one “perfect” way to do it so they or I will get the most possible enjoyment out of it. I’m figuring out that’s a pretty stupid idea.
There’s no one absolute best way to do anything creative. There are lots of ways. So many ways. This isn’t accounting. And that’s the beauty of it. So with this Craft Swap, I don’t know the one “right” style, color combo or design for Marla, so I’m just left to make decisions on what I think would be fun and cool. I’ve realized that the point of the craft swap isn’t to give something to someone that is the exact style they’d choose if they could pick anything out of an Anthro catalog. It’s to give them something cool. That you MADE. With your hands. For them.
In my experience, when you hold something that someone put their time, energy and creativity into generating just for you, you don’t care if the ribbon is exactly the color you would have chosen. And if you do, well, you’re kind of a jerk.
UPDATE: To see my completed craft swap project, click here!