In a country where the originality of crafts is going into extinction, it is imperative to ask some questions and look back on how the values of our culture are being abandoned. However, looking at years back which I’m sure the children born in the 90s will attest to; that local craft was a thing of pride. Basket weaving, knitting, paper craft, woodworks, beadworks and lots more were things of pride and joy then. But the question we ask ourselves now is whether local crafts have really been driven into exile in our nation.
I remember vividly how we use to mould objects out of clay, build houses with mud, make creative boats and airplanes from papers, mats and hats from straws, weave baskets and knit sweaters. It was such a beautiful time with lots of fun and experiences. This knowledge later helped some of us grow up to be lovers of crafts and arts thus making a living from them.
But, it seems that with the advent of social media, internet and modernization; local crafts have been relegated to backwardness thus giving crafts to only the old and local people. In this present dispensation, local craft has been pushed to the last position which I say is a thing of shame.
However ,to those wondering what this whole article is about and do not understand what I mean by local crafts, exactly the younger generation, I will briefly explain what craft means and how important it is.
According to Wikipedia; A craft is a profession that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. While Merriam-Webster dictionary defines craft as an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill. There are three aspects to human creativity and they include arts, crafts and science. But it seems majority of people in this century have gone with arts and science and left crafts to suffer the loneliness and pains of relegation and backwardness.
Furthermore, Handicraft according to Wikipedia is the traditional main sector of crafts. It is the type of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. The term crafts as further explained is often used to describe the family of artistic practices within the of family decorative arts that traditionally are defined by their relationship to functional or utilitarian products or by their use of such natural media as wood, clay, ceramics, glass, textiles and metal.
There are various types of crafts and they include: ceramics and glass, fiber and textile, leatherworks, paper crafts, wood and furniture crafts, etc. Also, there are a lot of beautiful ways to express yourself as a craftsman. The joy of being creative and using the things around you to bring your expression into life makes you feel like a mini-god. The proximity of the natural resources or raw materials to help create various aspects of crafts makes the whole craft idea very interesting, the raw materials are everywhere around us and with our skills; we can use these simple materials to make mind blowing works. For example from our everyday textile, we can make tie and dye, crocheting, appliqués etc. You can also make different objects from clay which leads us to pottery; beautiful house wares like flower vase, jugs and even pots can be made from clay. You get other beautiful materials from wood works, metal works, glass, fine stones, beads and paper crafts.
Also, do you remember how beautiful greeting cards used to be many years back? A birthday celebration without birthday cards is just incomplete. There was this joy, happiness and fulfillment that came with greeting cards then and you pride yourself as a celebrant in how many birthday cards you received. That is a beautiful example of paper crafts, an aspect of crafts that is gradually going into extinction. It is not all about internet surfing or white collar jobs alone, it is about bring our creative values back into existence.
Finally there is need for us to go back to the basics and remember how important local crafts are to us and our nation, to encourage, sponsor and increase the values of crafts in the face of the whole world. Let us teach and show our children the beauty of crafts and how important it is to them and the generation unborn. Let us bring back CRAFTS which is the forgotten one.