Craft, Minimalism and Nomadic Existences


Sometimes I feel as though there are two sides of my competing with each other. More in a ‘let’s have a game of scrabble because there’s nothing else to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon’ way than a ‘let’s fight to the death way,’ but still, competing.

There’s the one who likes clear surfaces, empty cupboards and the ability to move on easily and with everything she owns in a backpack when she gets itchy feet. And there’s the one who can’t leave a craft or charity shop empty handed, who is drawn magpie-like to anything shiny or sparkly, and who loves spending all afternoon creating something pretty.

Fundamentally,craft and minimalism, for me at least, come from the same place. The place that says we all need to tread lightly on this earth, leaving as little environmental damage as possible in our wake: whether that’s by buying less orre-using what we already have to make something wonderful. If I want another necklace or pair of earrings, I will make it out of things I already have or something I would otherwise throw away rather than buying anything new. I enjoy being creative but it’s also about living my values. I also have greater love for beautiful hand made (whether by me or someone else) things that you’ll treasure for a long time than for cheaper disposable alternatives. That is what minimalism is about for me: owning a few fantastic things instead of loads more adequate things.

However, there’s a practical reason why the two don’t sit well together. Namely the boxes or beads, bags of fabric and bundles of yarn that I’m keeping for a rainy day. At what point do you let something go when you’re sure that if you just keep it long enough you’ll eventually use it?

This is where I’ve got to with my purging of stuff. I’ve given away the easy things: the clothes I don’t wear, books I’ve read, CDs I’ve loaded to itunes and knick-knacks collecting dust. Now I am having to make more difficult choices.

The problem is:

  • three (small) plastic storage containers of beads and fasteners for making jewellery.
  • a drawer of nice paper (often something a present came wrapped in) for making cards.
  • fabric – which to be fair I am slowly using up by crocheting a rug.
  • a collection or fine line drawing pens, sketching pencils, pencil crayons, felt tip pens and quality paintbrushes.
  • needles and threads.
  • a bag of knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn.

I think perhaps that I should cut it down so everything fits in one drawer. Then again, if I’m not planning to take it with me to South Africa in a couple of months perhaps I should chuck it now? On the other hand, it won’t be doing any harm left at my parents house. I feel as though I really shouldn’t keep using my parent’s as a storage unit: if I don’t want something, I don’t want something. But I can’t seem to let the craft stuff go.


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