I’m having a lot of issues in my current obsession. I want to know why adults aren’t being more creative on a regular basis – looking online for craft books, I can automatically see one of the issues.
Gender bias with children’s items is already being dealt with. I remember as a child having almost exactly the same things as my two older brothers, either through choice, or lack of money. We all wore the same navy tracksuit with a white stripe down the arms, which is possibly why I enjoyed The Life Aquatic so much. It just seemed that way in the 70s when I grew up – women’s lib having an effect? Not sure.This vintage Lego advert above is a perfect example of a unisex toy, as well as the fact that the thing she has built is ‘beautiful’, it’s not figuratively meant to represent anything.
Anyway, now in the 2010s people are complaining again if toys are coloured blue or pink, or say explicitly on the box ‘for boys’ or whatever. This is excellent – I don’t know how or when it changed so that Lego became coloured pink for girls, but it did.
It’s not only children’s stuff though. Have a look at this book I found on Amazon.
This is a really interesting book, from what I can see from the preview. But, why is it made by DADS? I don’t even mean a male parent, although that’s annoying as well – Amazon recommended a book called ‘Geek Dad’ at the same time as it recommended a book on breastfeeding, which demonstrates child rearing gender bias at its best.
Why is it aimed only at parents? Why are all projects stuff you can do ‘with your kids’?
There’s no wonder people feel silly making stuff at home on their own. There are craft books aimed at adults obviously. They mainly concern jewellery or card making, scrapbooking, or Kirstie bleeding Allsopp. There are some good ones – renegade crafts if you will. However, there are few which don’t focus on a finished product.
I was chatting with these two lovelies at the weekend when I was making paper beads. They kept asking what it would be when it was finished. I have no idea myself, they probably won’t be jewellery, and I might end up teaching it when volunteering, but otherwise it’s merely a big box of paper beads, of various sizes and experimentation. Bearing in mind, these two are 6 and 7, and their mum is a milliner, even they were looking for the end result of making.
As a teaser, I put this on Instagram today. I truly, honestly think Charlie and Lola is one of the most amazing things – it’s not only a perfect view of what children are like, in their friendships, imaginations and relationships, it also advocates ‘learning through craft’ – now a lot of children’s stuff does this, but the fact that Charlie and Lola talks about CRAFT with children I think is a breakthrough.
Most children’s stuff encourages children to draw this or make that, but Charlie and Lola takes it to a new level – it’s EXPLICIT in the fact that children can learn through crafting, and it says it on the magazine – it’s not hiding the fact it’s a learning magazine, as well as a craft magazine, from the adult or the child. It always comes with stickers to put into the magazine as well as the craft kit on the cover. The former gives more guidance, the latter is free form. Children are encouraged to finish the magazine, and then go and use the front cover gift.
I’ve watched my niece (M) with this, and she treats it reverentially, making sure she finishes the whole magazine. I mean that might just be M as she’s naturally very careful with books, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact the magazine is not patronising to either adults or children. It’s playful, it’s silly, but it knows it is, and it wants you to be too.
Where am I going? Well, things are getting very exciting in Pesky HQ. I’m having meetings about stuff, writing lists, and I’m a bit determined. This usually means something is going to happen, and it’s either going to fall on its arse, or it’s going to be the best thing ever. I’m excited to find out which.
Watch this space.