It seems that the needle arts are disappearing more and more.
What is causing the old needle arts to fade away?
Is there anything we can do about it?
Why Is Handiwork Fading Away?
I looked up the approved list of courses to be offered in Texas High Schools. There weren’t any courses that could equate to the Home Ec of the 1960’s and 1970’s that I remember.
So the younger generations aren’t being taught handiwork in school anymore. It would appear that the current educators don’t feel that doing hand decoration of fabric is important anymore.
And the new technology is taking over the spare time that kids used to use for learning handiwork from their elders. Texting and video chatting are the ‘In ‘ thing now. Social media has taken over too much.
And with all of the game consoles and apps for smartphones, playtime seems to be another big time waster. I like Facebook like almost everybody else, but I limit my time so that it doesn’t take over my life.
And texting is just an easy way to keep in touch and ask a simple question or two. But to the newer generation it seems to be vital to share everything you are doing to Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, Vimeo and many more that I don’t know about.
And the pre-stamped embroidery, crewel and cross-stitch projects seem to be disappearing from the craft stores. It’s almost like someone is trying to tell us that handiwork isn’t necessary anymore.
Are We, As The Older Generation, To Blame?
Has the older generation contributed to this decline? The answer is Yes. But it isn’t just our fault. There are other factors in play also.
We have become a more mobile society and the kids and grandkids move away. And the extended family doesn’t spend the time together like it used to.
When I was growing up, my Grandparents saw us at least once a week. And it was a treat to spend time with them. They would talk to us about the ‘Good Old Days’ and show us what they used to do when they were younger. We learned how to work with our hands to make and embellish projects.
My Grandmother taught me to knit and make scarves and other smaller items when I was young. She would answer my questions when I got older and got stuck on a larger project that I hadn’t done before.
I also learned to do crewel and regular embroidery at a young age. And I still enjoy it today. It helps to relax me and then I have gifts for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and holidays. And it saves money because I don’t have to hurry out and buy something with money that is needed elsewhere.
How Can We Fix This Problem?
One way is by sharing our knowledge with our grandkids and others. Most people are curious by nature and some will actually ask you what you are making when they see you working on a project.
Something else that needs to happen is for all generations to take time away from all of the electronics and just enjoy time with each other and a hobby. Playing video games and watching movies won’t keep you warm and covered if there is a major disaster like some people are proclaiming. And even if it doesn’t happen as bad as they say, you will be prepared.
I realize that getting the younger generation away from their smartphones, tablets, computers, texting, social media and games is not going to be an easy task. But somehow we need to create a want in them for knowledge of using your hands to make a project other than a robot or some other electronic gadget.
Check out the local YWCA and YMCA to see if they offer craft classes. Also check with the local 2-year colleges and school districts to see if they might be interested in having you teach a class on your speciality.
Do an internet search to see if there is a guild or club in your speciality that offers a certification course to show proficiency for teaching. Some of the big box craft stores need teachers for the craft supplies that they carry. But most of them require a certification from a known group.
There are opportunities for getting teaching and/or proficency certifications in most of the needle arts. And I highly recommend that you get your certificate so you can pass your knowledge along. This blog is a way for Carl and I to pass along some of our knowledge. Right now, neither of us has any certifications, just years of experience and lots of knowledge about failures and successes.
Is It Really Worth The Effort To Teach Handiwork?
Is the passing along of knowledge really worth the effort? It is if just one person of a younger generation learns how to do that needle art. That way the handicraft continues on for a little longer. And it could become a needed craft sometime in the future if the predictions are correct.
Also, you can take pride in the fact that you know how to do something that is useful with your hands. There will always be a need and/or want for the handiwork that has survived for generations. And you can be the one to supply it.
Some of these handicrafts are centuries old and loosing that knowledge would be almost as bad as having an animal go extinct. Every bit of knowledge that is lost has an impact on all of us.
Next Friday there will be another article, so please come back to see what it is about.
Please leave me a comment below to let me know if this article was helpful. And let me know if the is any other subject you would like us to write about.