Cold-Weather Crafting

I’m using “crafting” here in the sense of “making stuff,” not in the sense of hauling out the pipe cleaners (what we now call “chenille stems”) and hot glue gun. “Cold-Weather Art Making” just didn’t do it for me, you know?


This is the time of year for most of us in the US (sorry, y’all who are enjoying spring! Please go outside and run barefoot for us, OK?) when we’re thinking about toasty fires and mugs of hot cocoa and heavy knitted socks. It’s time to sit in front of the fireplace and do handwork, is how it feels, never mind that some of us don’t have fireplaces.


[OK, let me just stop for a minute and say this: as I’m writing this, we here in West Texas are supposed to have yet another day of record-breaking warm temperatures, hitting in the 80s, never mind that it’s December and the trees are all going, “Dude, when do we get to rest already?” So while I’m not sitting in front of a fire (in large part because we do not have a fireplace), I *am* thinking a lot about cuddling up with a pile of cats and a lap full of stitching, even though the cats are all going, “Get away from me! It’s too hot to snuggle!”]


I’m thinking about how, when the seasons change, so do my interests. When it’s warm, I want to be outdoors. I like to do dyeing or fabric painting out on the sidewalk, letting things air dry. I think of larger projects, things that need to be spread out, things that need to dry from tree branches. I think of painting swaths of fabric, something I like to do with the windows open to bring in the fresh air. Large, expansive, things that have to be spread out on a table so I can move around them.


When it’s cold, though, my interests are completely different. I want to do smaller, tidier, more condensed-and-focused projects. Beading. Embroidery. Things I can do sitting on the day bed, wearing fuzzy socks, warm and toasty and not having to get up and move around (because then, of course, the cats will have piled around me for warmth).


What I’m working on is setting up longer projects so they will flow from one season to the next, with the surface design and dyeing taking place in the summer and the embellishment waiting for me once it turns colder. I can start half a dozen big projects–garments that I want to make fabulous and that will require many, many hours of work–doing the warm-weather work on one after another and then putting each away until winter.


And now that it is winter and the holidays are here, when everything work-related has slowed down because so many people are traveling or taking time off, it’s the perfect time to settle in for long stretches of intense handwork. I like to bead by a sunny window, jazz in the background, mug of coffee nearby. Or by lamplight in a dark room just after dusk, with a warm pool of light falling on my stitching, the room warm and snug.


This New Year, think about how your own work might fit into the natural cycle of the seasons, how it might become more organic, easier to fit into considerations like an unheated studio or months of snow. It can feel good to find ways to adapt to the earth’s cycles, and perhaps you’ll find your work reflecting this harmonious way of coming to life.

For more about creating things in different seasons, you might enjoy Delight in the Seasons by Lisa Pace.





Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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