7 Crafts That You Can Get IntoWritten by Gavin Humphreys
“I made this with my own hands.”
Who amongst us can say those words? How many things do we own that we crafted ourselves?
For the majority, not many at all (if anything!).
Yet, there is little as rewarding as a hobby where you are making something. A hobby where you can stand back at the end of a day and hold what you have created.
At Beckett Simonon one of our guiding principles is the preservation of the shoemaking and leatherworking crafts in Colombia.
With modern disposable fashion and disposable just-about-everything, our craftspeople are part of an important battle. And you could be too.
Healthy crafts keep skills alive and vigorous. It also helps us rediscover the joy of quality, loved, hand-made items as part of our modern lifestyles.
Plus, of course, with the increase in working-from-home arrangements, many of us have a little more free time on our hands - and fewer motivations to be up and active.
So, how about getting crafting?
Here are some ideas to get your brain, and hopefully your hands, into action.
Woodwork is a great hobby to get into because you can create all kinds of useful items - whether that’s a chopping board, a bed, or shoe rack!
One side note… If you do make a bed - remember to take into account the mattress. My friend, Big Dave, forgot that detail and crafted a gorgeous bed that his wife can hardly climb into!
He is currently working on a home office project - planing down some sycamore wood to make himself a desk.
One of our Beckett Gents is also a woodworker. He goes under the tag of Mr. Escobar Woodworker By Day, Stylish By Night.
I got in touch with him to ask what is so special about a craft like woodworking. He told me, “I absolutely love working with my hands, and to master a piece for a customer to have in their own home is something that is priceless.”
How does the average Jo become a woodworker? Escobar told me, “If someone wanted to get started, having a few tools is all you need. Practice, practice, practice, and you will become a craftsman in no time.”
Fashion is about stories. Our shoes, boots, sneakers, and accessories all have an amazing story behind them. Fashioned by artisans who are part of a centuries-old tradition of leatherwork in Bogotá, Colombia. Each artisan is full of fantastic tales about the craft.
In my opinion, that is what makes them great.
By creating your own clothing, these items will be packed with meaning and history.
Why not start small? Buy yourself some cotton (or some silk?) and learn how to cut materials and use a sewing machine. Create a simple scarf, a pocket square, a face mask, a handkerchief…
You might get the bug and soon be crafting shirts or pants!
Pottery & ceramics
A turning wheel in your shed might take your spare time in a whole load of new directions.
We’ve all seen folk try their hand at this - and the first time is usually a disaster. Keep at it, though, and you will soon be creating vases, teapots, goblets, plates, plant pots…
It is quite an investment to buy a turning wheel and a kiln - so why not start by finding a local potter and asking them to teach you, or there might be a potting group in your area that you can join in.
Taking old things and making them as good as (or better than) new is a rewarding hobby. It can also turn a buck or two.
It might be that you buy some secondhand furniture and upcycle it for your house. You could also make a habit of calling by at the local thrift store and looking for the ‘next project.’
You can upcycle all types of things, from furniture, to ornaments, to rusty knives, to refurbishing old cars.
There is beauty in imperfections, so you might even want to bring to the fore signs of aging in the item.
Around 70% of our customers reuse our Beckett Simonon shoebox after they receive their order. It is amazing what you can repurpose and reuse when you engage the imagination.
This is a craft that is close to our heart. All our leatherworkers are skilled, professional craftspeople who have devoted their lives to this - but that’s not to say that you can’t pick it up as a hobby and see what beautiful things you can create.
Leather is versatile and can be used to craft all kinds of things. Again, start simple, get to know the material, how to cut it, and how to look after it. Where is the best local supplier? What types of leather do they offer?
An easy start is a passport holder, or perhaps a set of coasters. Once you get into it you might attempt furniture, like the chair below, or perhaps a case for your laptop?
Metalwork and jewelry
This is another one of those crafts that can add to the style and wardrobe of the gent.
All the metal pieces in our accessories are crafted by hand using ancient methods. The molten brass is poured into sand molds created for each individual belt buckle or bag hook and loop.
Once you know more about metalwork, you might try your hand at making your own knife or a gate for the garden.
Given the variety of types of metalwork and jewelry making, there are probably a thousand different entry points and directions to take it.
Chiseling away at a rock until you have a grand statue for the garden or the hallway… It sounds romantic, but what a great way to pass the evenings.
It’s about imagining something in three dimensions and making it come into reality.
We might automatically think about stone sculptures, but it doesn’t have to be. You can also chisel wood to create a figurine or perhaps a nice walking stick.
Then there’s the beautiful, fleeting worlds of ice sculpture and sand sculpture.
Of course, for the more ‘geeky’ amongst us - there’s the whole universe of sculpting and painting miniature figures for D&D and other table-top games.
If you want to get into stone sculpturing, however, you can get a cheap soapstone to start off. Invest in a basic starter hammer and chisel, and a little file - and off you go. You have the power in your hands to create your first sculpture.
You’re a crafty so-and-so
Believe in yourself. If you get into a craft, you will see yourself improve, learn, de-stress, and perhaps give happiness to yourself and others with the things that you create.
This blog looked at seven broad ideas, but there are many more crafts out there that men can get into.
It is worth noting that many crafts have traditionally been seen as female - but they don’t have to be! How about knitting a sweater for the winter? You could even spin and dye the wool.
Then there is craft brewing. Your homebrew is for more immediate consumption and not a creation for posterity, but then you are still arguably creating something beautiful! Plus, if you include this, then why not fermenting kimchi, making preserves, smoking meats and cheeses, making kombucha, cheesemaking…?
Or get outdoors - there are crafts for the garden, such as creating drystone walls or wooden decking. Zen gardening might also sneak in as a craft - creating peaceful, rock landscapes in miniature.
There is no end to the opportunities to get crafting. Since all our products are crafted by hand by passionate artisans, Beckett Simonon would love to inspire our customers to get hands-on themselves and create a world that is full of long lasting, high quality things made by human hands and with natural materials.
So go be a crafty so-and-so, and create something special!