Embroidery and crochet aren't words that immediately shout 'fun' and 'youthful', let's be honest. But, all the same, recently, there has been a bit of a peaking trend in crafting. Young people are starting up creative businesses, and the rest of us, which aren't talented, is curious. Curiosity killed the clubs, not the cat. Clubs and bars are all the same, but doing something different is what we live for, millennials. We are thirsty for knowledge. One thing about our generation is that we are constantly on the look out for something different, but the concept of reinventing something from the past is as worn-out as it is on trend. What I mean by that is, from vintage clothing to the 90's warehouse rave scene, millennials have taken the past by its horns and made it their own and now crafting is the vintage victim of choice. 'But how?' you scream, 'how can crafting be cool?' Well, we've delved into London's craft scene to see what's happening and see why every trendsetter we follow on Instagram seems to be picking up a paintbrush or a needle and thread.
Embroidery, crochet, knitting, they all seem like ideas you save for your grandmother's living room, activities you do when you're past your heyday. But this new generation of 'crafters' have turned the stereotypes on their head and made crafting a community you want to be a part of. Businesses like The London Loom, The New Craft House, and Paperwilds, are teaching their talents to others. Eventbrite is saturated with craft nights, and websites like Obby, have popped up dedicated entirely to this movement. Political, aesthetic and with just the right dose of originality, crafting is the latest hype that everyone needs to be a part of. Crafting is becoming somewhat of an art, and all art has a societal message.
Feminism is everywhere, millennials live for it, and rightly so. It makes total sense then, that crafting has the feminist message tangled in with its running stitch. London Craft Club teaches a class where you start the evening with a debate on six popular feminists, including the ongoing discussion: 'is Beyoncé a feminist or a fake?' Swapping placard for needle and thread, Sonia, the founder of the somewhat cult class has said that the rise in young people taking crafting classes is inspiring. Feminism is something, for her, which goes hand in hand with her life. She runs her own business whilst leading a busy home life. It seemed a natural fit for her to start a class like this. She wanted to spread her opinions but without shoving it down people's necks. Crafting is a novel way to get people talking whilst they create a lasting reminder of the class to take home. The thing about crafting, whether it be stitching, woodworking or paper collage, the finished results are something you've made. 'You gain a sense of pride; it's something of your very own. It's a way to slow down and reflect on the meaning behind what you are creating.'
In the same sense, another class called 'Membroidery' has emerged. In an attempt to encourage body positivity, you stitch a picture of your...well...member. Whether you have male parts or female, this class is about loving what you have got and encouraging people to shun the taboo stereotypes surrounding genitals. It's a boozy affair, but all the same, it has an important message. It gives you a chance to be proud of what you've made, what you've got down there. It's time-consuming and requires your concentration, meaning it is perfect for taking some time to really think about why you are stitching that picture and the meaning of the class.
It's nice to know that a craft that would have perhaps died with our grandparents, is being revived in the hands of the future. They, as with everything they bring back around, are making it current, political, thought provoking and ultimately, very cool. With these gorgeous craft studios popping up in East London and all over the rest of the city, all we have to do is sit back and let social media do its magic. Before we know it, we'll all be stitching Beyoncé together on a Saturday night instead of down the local pub. Perhaps it will do a wonder for our health. Perhaps it will just send us all to sleep. Either way, we are nothing but excited to find out.