What springs to mind when community is mentioned? A village hall buzzing with jumble sales, meals for the elderly and toddler groups? A cosy roomful of friends chatting over tea and cake as they craft away the winter evenings? A running club? Maybe an online community? Or, perhaps we think of community more in terms of intangible concepts such as friendship, support, a sense of belonging and shared fun.
There is no doubt that when we look back through history it is the strength of local communities which have kept our predecessors going through times of turmoil; even in the recent twentieth century, the cohesion of our communities during the economic depression of the 1930’s and the war years of the 1940’s shines out in the midst of these dark periods.
Equally, it is eminently arguable that with easier travel, advances in technology and the disintegration of the multigenerational family unit, that people are more isolated. This in turn has led to increased loneliness and impacts on both mental and physical health. However, there seems to be a resurgence in the desire for local connections and the crafting community has been at the forefront of some of this. With our emphasis already being on producing locally made products using locally sourced raw materials and selling in local craft markets, local is a theme that runs through crafters’ veins.
You may already be part of an established local crafting community, and if so we’d love to learn from your experience. However, if this is something which you could integrate more into your life, we hope the following ideas will both inspire you and offer some practical suggestions of how to strengthen community within your own area.
Taking that first step towards building community can require courage, especially if our character leans more towards the introvert than the extrovert. Having a clear understanding as to why living alongside others is important is therefore a strong motivator. We’ve mentioned before that many people feel isolated and lonely these days. We are not designed to live in a bubble; we thrive best when interacting with others, when we feel a sense of belonging, and we know we are accepted and have friends around who care for us. When we are confident someone will give us a call or knock on our door if we don’t show up, and when we can share our anxieties and concerns with friends over a kitchen table with a comforting mug of tea or at our local pub surrounded by others facing similar dilemmas. It’s good to laugh together and celebrate together; to walk side by side during the tough times and party together during the high times.
Crafters have a number of natural meeting places out of which friendships can develop. One of these is through attending craft fairs. A sense of camaraderie often develops as you set up, maybe grabbing a drink for a neighbouring stall holder or watching over each other’s tables during the much needed toilet breaks. If there are two of you running the stall, it’s fun to take the opportunity to wander around and chat to other exhibitors, gathering inspiration and making connections.
As you begin to plan ahead for this year, remember to put your public liability insurance craft stall in place. There is always so much to prepare just prior to a fair, it is well worth sorting this out ahead of time. As a family run business which specialises in craft insurance we would love to chat with you to find the best package for your unique business. So, pick up the phone and let’s get your public liability insurance craft stall in place.
Another fantastic way of building crafting communities is around the use of shared space. Art studios, craft quarters or community workshops have been growing in number and popularity. This is exciting as the potential that they contain is huge. Many small craft businesses are a one person show, and this can be lonely. By joining together with others in a shared work area, not only can friendships can be formed and support networks grown, but through collaboration a multitude of creative projects can be birthed. This could be workshops for local people, where they can get to know others and learn a new skill. Or it might be a weekly club, where a consistent group who all share the same craft get together to share skills and swaps ideas. It might be an annual art exhibition within your locality, giving opportunity for individual workshops as well as the communal ones to be opened to the public. These are great ways to form connections with other like minded individuals. In this way, an established crafting community is ideally situated to blow on the embers of neighbourhood cohesion and light the fire of community spirit.
Of course not all crafters work alone and many of us have already established our own communities as the business has grown. Here at Craft Insurance we champion local businesses for many reasons, not least of which is the beneficial impact they have on their surrounding neighbourhood. By employing local staff, using locally sourced raw products and selling at local venues, local businesses not only provide a boost for the local economy but are also a hub for friendships and support.
The final mention goes to those crafters who use their skill and open up their homes informally to gather together like-minded craft lovers. Over warm drinks and an indulgent sweet treat or two, conversation flies as fast as the knitting needles and many cosy evenings are spent with problems shared, patterns swapped and hearts refreshed.
With some potentially tough times ahead for us all, maybe we could resolve to do our part in establishing or strengthening groups around our craft to build strong, cohesive communities who will weather the storms together.
And don’t forget, as you begin to book craft fairs for the year ahead, be sure to get your public liability insurance for your craft stall in place.