5 Ways to engage your inner hobbyist (without the stuff that goes with it)

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~My creations~

Charm soldering

Fine Art photography

Darkroom printing

Mixed media art

Sewing

Headband-making

Plaster sculpture

Encaustic wax

Diorama model making

Jewelry making

Lamp design (say, what?)

Purse design

Skirt design

Card-making

Book binding

* * *

This, my sweet friends, is a list compiled of my interests within the last six years alone.

Good grief, it’s frightening to look at it as a long list. Each and every one of these little forays into artsy-land brings a plethora of GEAR stocked and ready in my studio…and my home…and the attic…and the garage…

I’m feeling an epiphany welling up from my hobby-obsessed heart:

In the past I decided to dabble in a creative interest and proceeded to troll Amazon for every book known to man on the subject (used, so it’s ok, right?). I also managed to purchase all the fixins’ to get it going long before the drive to actually do the hobby showed up.

Madness.

In my bouts of purging and donating this past year, I began to stumble across little tombs of hobby supplies in all areas of my life. I expected to hear a voice ask me if I’d like to lie down on the couch for some inner excavation. It’s one thing to chalk it up to being creative and having a ton of interests, but quite another to realize that very few hobbies on this list lasted more than a few rounds. I think I actually believed that if the stuff was acquired for the hobby, I would actually do the hobby on a frequent basis.

That would be wrong.

Lest you fall into this same trap (or..sigh..you see this pattern in your own creative home), this is for you:

 

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1) Attend a class that supplies you with everything for a nominal fee. You pay your fee, make a craft, have some fun, and evaluate whether you’d like to do it again. No fuss, no muss (and no vats of plaster loitering in your studio closet either…true story. Yikes.)

2) Watch someone do the hobby and do a mini interview about why they like it. Observe, ponder, shelve it. If you are dreaming about it 2 months later, it might be time to take a class (see #1).

3) Find a buddy who’d like to share in the cost of the needed items for a specific hobby (a soldering gun is not cheap, friends. It’s especially distressing when you make 10 charms, badly burn your index finger and call it good).

4) Commit to a hobby that doesn’t require gear and see if you actually follow through for at least three months…mmmm..say, blogging...or writing. Minimal start-up costs, lots of rewards (funny how my favorite hobby ended up being the one without physical stuff! Epiphany, indeed).

5) Go on a spending moratorium for a specified number of months and see if you had any grand withdrawals over not being able to ______________ (fill in the hobby blank).

I’ve already admitted that I have an Amazon Issue…a sickness, really. My art/craft library is ready for its close-up—and rather than hang my head in shame, I’m committing to one hobby-dabble a month for the next year. If it doesn’t stick, the gear (and the books) must be given to someone who actually will DO THE HOBBY.

* * * * * * **

Being the prideful creative that I am, this post was hard to write. I had to admit some disturbing (and expensive) consumer-induced mistakes. Yet, I can honestly say I feel better now. Ready to fix the issue and press on in this simplifying journey. This blog is definitely helping me be brave and that makes me happy.

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25 thoughts on “5 Ways to engage your inner hobbyist (without the stuff that goes with it)

  1. I’m a quilter and sewer. I’m amazed at all the “stuff” required to make a “minimal” quilt! but I can’t let go of it. I’m addicted to all those scraps of fabric and big bolts of fabric as well.

  2. Great post! This is something a lot of people don’t seem to think about. I recently downsized from soapmaking, candlemaking, scrapbooking, stamping, sewing, crocheting, and a bunch of other random stuff to just the soap and the candles, and the amount of stuff I need for just those two is still a little disturbing.

    • Disturbing is a good word for how much GEAR I have/had. It has been the hardest part of our pair down. I think it’s because all of that gear represents possibility of what can be created—yet there are so many hours in a day, right?!

  3. Love this post! I recently decided I am never going to learn to crochet. Giving all the books away was a great feeling! I’m also organising a swap table at my next sewing group meeting, to let go of more unwanted things. And maybe I’ll be able to swap them for supplies I will use.

    • I think I’ve got a bunch of hobbies I just need to throw the towel in on. Plaster sculpture seemed like a good idea at the time of holding the cool book in my hand, but I’m just not that girl. I think swapping supplies is a great idea. I’m heading in that direction.

    • I’m thinking of a swap table too at my school. I also think my classroom might inherit some of my gear—because heaven knows 3rd graders can go through craft supplies like nobody’s business 😉

  4. I can relate – I bought paints and brushes, only never to paint. I bought needles and fabrics, only never to sew. I bought cardboard and stencils, only never to do kirigami. I gave it all away, and just focus on my main love: writing 🙂 No materials needed (apart from pens and notebooks).

  5. Love this! I just took a learn to knit kit and screen printing supplies to the donation drop off. The only things I have knit are dishcloths, so I kept the needles. Youtube proved more helpful than the learning to knit book anyway. The screen printing supplies never came out of their wrappers! My craft cabinets also consist of some stamping and scrapbooking supplies, neither of which I do. Those are the next to go. Now I’m evaluating what sewing supplies I really need and which ones I can live without. This is the hobby I love and that I sometimes get paid for, so they can’t all go. Such a relief not worrying about that dress I never screen printed for my daughter and scarf I have yet to knit. I’m a Florida girl, so there’s not really a need for many scarves anyway. The current goal is to use only the fabric I have, and only make new purchases when someone has a special order. This has certainly gotten the creative juices following for more than one project!

    • I think picking one hobby you really, really love and sticking with it is the way to go. There will always be Michael’s and Amazon out there if the need rises for other supplies, right? I love getting dishcloths from friends…they make me smile when I stand at the sink..which seems like so many hours a day.

  6. What we like to do for few months or weeks doesn’t mean we like to do forever. I know what you mean… I used to do watercolor…I still have all my stuff ( somewhere in a closet). Your advices are excellent. Thanks for sharing !

  7. OMG I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!! Thank goodness!!! I feel much better now 🙂 Also, thanks for the tips – I love the idea of trying a class – great way to meet like minded crazy hobby people too!

  8. I went through a process of decluttering my hobbies a few months ago after I realized most of them were not bringing me closer to the vision I have for my life. Keeping around the stuff of hobbies not connected to my life’s vision takes up my energetic and mind space. Every time I see them my mind thinks ‘I should really finish that project’ or ‘I need to buy x, y, and z to finish that.’ That’s when hobbies become chores rather than joyful activities. Now I try to keep my hobbies to things that I really love that don’t require a lot of stuff, like hiking and wildflower hunting, or things that will teach me a valuable skill that will enhance my life – like woodworking rather than scrapbooking. I love your idea of taking a class if something suddenly interests me. That seems like a great way to weed out those activities that will contribute to my life in a meaningful way and those that will only add more clutter. Thanks!

  9. Right there with you in the crowded craft supply boat! I agree with the your list and have used the same criteria. Though I do have those odd purchases from the “I will do this!” mindset. See if your library will take the technique books, that is where I get most all of mine to avoid shelf overload!

  10. I feel you! I’ve gone through a making potholders phase a couple of different times in my life, and it seems like I’m always finding stray loops around my room. However, I’m not really the best at crafts, so thankfully those are some of the only hobby-related items cluttering my space.

  11. Interesting that dish cloths have already joined the conversation 🙂 They’re the perfect first project (not a sweater) for those who wish to learn to crochet or knit. I recently bought a type of yarn made from some sort of oil product (I know, bad for the environment) that makes excellent pot scrubbers that can be rewashed and reused (excellent for the environment). I rarely need a scouring pad now. I spent all of $5 CDN to buy a hook and a ball of this stuff for someone who wanted to learn how to crochet, and she’s already through it (roughly ten put scrubbers). So, yes, starting slowly and with little money is key.

  12. Pingback: Midweek Reads #4 | Goedeker's Home Life

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