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Handmade, modern and historical metal and leatherwork. 

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How revolutionary are you feeling?

Aurora Simmons

Handmade Revolution is now offering crafting seminars for adults, kids and teens in embroidery, sewing and chainmail jewellery. Read on to hear all about the reasons and values of learning to craft.

The thing about revolutions is that they require participation. No one ever had a revolution all by themselves. A revolution of one will get you institutionalized.

There are a few different ways to be a "handmade revolutionary". You can spend your money on work from artisans, instead of mass produced trash. You can learn to repair your clothes and household items so that they last. You can learn to make things for yourself so you have a greater understanding of what goes into producing something of worth and so you can be in charge, in a small way, of your own material destiny.

Things are hard to avoid.  In a big way our things help to make life worth living. When you wear something beautiful that you made yourself, you will feel empowered by every step, every unconstrained movement, and every time a stranger says, "what a nice coat". The ability to craft is power. It gives you a piece of control of your every day environment. It makes you a little less of a cog in the wheel of some corporation's money making scheme. It gives you back a piece of yourself.

This has been my experience. There is nothing like the feeling of having made something successfully and being able to wear, or use it every day, so every time you look at it you smile inside. There is incredible reward in fighting through one of those brutal craft problems that makes you want to pull your hair out and winning, trying one thing after another until you find just the right solution. There is incredible value in the process, as well as the product. I guarantee, if you start crafting in a serious way, perseverance and problem solving are just two the skills you will be honing. And the bonus is, you will have something awesome you can wear at the end, and the capabilities of making more.

In honor of this, my deeply held certainty that crafting is empowerment, Handmade Revolution is going to launch into the next phase of its existence. I will now be offering seminars in various craft skills geared towards adults, kids and teens. I have outlined some of the value I see in learning to craft, but here are a few more positive results, in case you need convincing. It is a great way to work on your hand-eye coordination, it teaches patience, it hones focus, it clarifies the mind, it is immersive (you can't be distracted while working on a craft project, so it can help you find calm when things are rough). For teens it can be a refuge from the chaotic ravages of life, and potentially a way to make a bit of pocket money. It encourages generosity, because you have to find something to do with the things you make. Need I go on?

I was raised around crafting. I attended a Waldorf school as a child, where handwork was considered an important class. My mom has always dabbled in knitting and sewing and in highschool I began making chainmail (I am well aware that this is not the correct name for it, but it's the one that post people recognize) as one of the most compelling ways to find sanity available to me. Who has money for drugs when you spend all your money on anodized titanium links? I also started sewing, and I started learning the basics of garment construction the hard way by trial and error because that's my favorite way to learn.

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 A piece of crewel wool embroidery in process.

A piece of crewel wool embroidery in process.

In honor of this, my deeply held certainty that crafting is empowerment, Handmade Revolution is going to launch into the next phase of its existence. I will now be offering seminars in various craft skills geared towards adults, kids and teens. I have outlined some of the value I see in learning to craft, but here are a few more positive results, in case you need convincing. It is a great way to work on your hand-eye coordination, it teaches patience, it hones focus, it clarifies the mind, it is immersive (you can't be distracted while working on a craft project, so it can help you find calm when things are rough). For teens it can be a refuge from the chaotic ravages of life, and potentially a way to make a bit of pocket money. It encourages generosity, because you have to find something to do with the things you make. Need I go on?

I was raised around crafting. I attended a Waldorf school as a child, where handwork was considered an important class. My mom has always dabbled in knitting and sewing and in highschool I began making chainmail (I am well aware that this is not the correct name for it, but it's the one that post people recognize) as one of the most compelling ways to find sanity available to me. Who has money for drugs when you spend all your money on anodized titanium links? I also started sewing, and I started learning the basics of garment construction the hard way by trial and error because that's my favorite way to learn.

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 I don't do much chainmail anymore but pictured below is a sterling silver dragonscale bracelet

I don't do much chainmail anymore but pictured below is a sterling silver dragonscale bracelet

When I started reenacting, I was catapulted into a world where I had every excuse to make clothing, and with the help of my knowledgeable historical sewing friends and in learning from many mistakes, my skills developed at a rapid pace.

 Me in a completely hand sewed medieval gown with embroidered accents.

Me in a completely hand sewed medieval gown with embroidered accents.

I regularly teach chainmail seminars to the kids at Inglenook community high school, the amazing alternative school which I graduated from ten years ago now. I often help new historical reenactors to learn to sew their own garments. I have worked at three different summer camps with kids and teens, and I regularly help teach an historical martial arts class to adults.

I love watching someone learn the complexities of the processes of craft, and the pleasure people get from their own unexpected abilities. Everyone is different and there are definitely those who don't love craft the way I do, but I find that most people can get some serious satisfaction out of learning a new skill, even if they don't plan to do it every day. 

So have a look at our events page, and see if there is something that appeals. If you are just looking to see some of our gorgeous new jewellery or if you want to meet me in person to talk about crafts and seminars you can attend our Tea and Treasures event at The Center for Social Innovation, located at 720 Bathurst street, on Sunday April 12th from 2 to 5.