March is National Craft Month, and while the majority of my newsletters focus specifically on painting and drawing techniques, today I’d like to celebrate the idea of art, which comes in so many wonderful forms that we, as artistic individuals, recognize without even trying. And if you’re anything like me, you find joy in sharing things that you create, either by posting pictures of your work online, by selling your work, or by giving it to others, simply because.
For example, last year I took bits of free time and learned how to crochet. It was satisfying to give away my craft (a couple of country-style afghans and some adorable baby booties), but when Googling yarn, I saw the word “yarnbombing” come up in the search list. You can correctly guess that it peaked my curiosity. After learning more about how people were creating public art by crocheting colorful patterns around physical objects, I took my hook and yarn on a new journey and commenced crocheting earth tone stripes around the base of three connected trees in my front yard.
The tree earned a lot of rubbernecking from admirers and generated smiles along with raised eyebrows. I was fine with that. “You should make the colors brighter, so they stick out more” said one passerby, who so loved the concept. But my response was that I didn’t want the yarn to be too obvious. I wanted the unexpected art display to be a special token from me to only those who slow down enough to look around them. Those who do see it get a special gift of surprise, delight, or confusion; how they choose to receive it is up to them.
Andrea Matus deMeng, coauthor of The Art Abandonment Project: Create and Share Random Acts of Art, wrote, “We all know that you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate art, but I do believe that exposure to the arts is invaluable (share this idea on Twitter) in helping everyone gain a deeper appreciation for what the artist contributes to society. Art abandoners are taking on that challenge to make a change, one piece of art at a time. For individuals who find the abandoned treasures, the arts come into their lives in a very direct and usually meaningful way.”
Have you ever creating something with the intention of sharing it or giving it away with nothing in return? This is the concept of the Art Abandonment movement, which 7,000+ artists contribute to by making art and leaving it in public places for others to discover, keep, and enjoy, with no strings attached (well, unless string is part of the art, but you know what I mean).
Yes! I love this. The Art Abandonment Project offers ideas for participating in this national, grassroots movement. For example, Papergirl is an art project in which people distribute drawings and paintings throughout their cities, and it’s featured in this book, along with many other inspirational people and ideas.
I hope that you find a way to participate in National Craft Month, perhaps by making a piece of art to randomly share with an unknowing recipient, or by spending time on your once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece.
Wishing you all the best,