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Published: Sunday June 22, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday June 22, 2014 MYT 9:25:46 AM

Inspiring creativity

Our Craftypedia columnist shares her two cents, after hosting her first craft workshop.

ON June 14, I had the pleasure to host a StarLIVE Craftypedia workshop at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. It was my first time conducting a craft workshop and the theme of the day was on “How to sew a felt doll”.

While I’m generally better at crochet than sewing, the topic was decided upon for its popularity as well as its appeal to crafters of all skill levels. Thus, I spent days trying to master the craft and uncover the easiest as well as the most ingenious ways to sew a stuffed animal.

After numerous tries, I came up with a “prototype” for the workshop: a Japanese-inspired bunny complete with a sleepy expression that was both cute and friendly enough to be duplicated by our would-be participants.

On the day of the event, a crowd of 34 showed up, some of whom came with friends or their mums and children. Felt fabric, sewing supplies and doll’s stuffing were laid out on tables for six along with print-out instructions and a cut-out template for participants who wished to redo the project at home.

It was interesting to discover that, for most of the participants, this was their first experience attending a craft workshop. The handling of the needle and thread also proved to be a first for some, like freelance trainer and lecturer John Loke, who attended the workshop (with his wife Lilian) to satisfy his curiosity for the craft. We later got Loke, who is in his 40s, to give a live demonstration on how to thread a needle, a challenge that he very graciously took on (and overcame).

After a quick introduction, the participants were given the flag-off to start, and on a light note: the opening task was all about snipping away on the felt to form the body parts of the bunny doll, which had been pre-drawn on the fabric.

Next came the stitching, which was to be the most time-consuming part of the project, and yet the most therapeutic, as participants like Syazanur Husna Rahmat came to realise. I found out that the 17-year-old student, who will be sitting for her SPM examinations this year, had been searching for a new hobby for some time now. Boy, did she seem glad to have finally found something to start her off on her crafting journey.

A big part of the session centred on how one could make the best out of the simplest stitching techniques. Step-by-step instructions on how to master the backstitch, the whipstitch and the ladder stitch were shared. While many admitted to having sewn only buttons before, everyone picked up on the techniques in no time at all (of course, it helped that at least one participant on each table were generous enough to swap sewing tips with the rest).

That, and with extra help from the team behind StarLIVE, ensured that everyone was on the same page throughout the workshop.

It was heartwarming to see the sheer amount of determination that the participants had in them to master the craft. Prior to conducting the session, I had my reservations as to how long we would be able to hold the attention of the crowd before they screamed mercy and gave up on the task altogether.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many took to crafting quite naturally, and had no complaints over spending four hours of their Saturday on creating something from scratch, and just for fun too. Yes, what was meant to be a two-hour session lasted well over four hours, as most of the participants were more than happy to stay on to continue crafting and chatting over coffee (and tea).

I was very pleased at having met craft enthusiasts from all walks of life – people like senior manager Jo Ng, 41, who said that she was on the lookout for “101 things to do on the weekends” when she stumbled upon an ad for the workshop. The senior manager revealed that while some parts of the project were trying, the end result could only be described as “rewarding”.

Wong Sok Chun, 59, an avid follower of Star2’s fortnightly Craftypedia column on Sundays, said that she had always wanted to dabble in handmade crafts, but “never knew where to start”. After making the final stitch, the retired sales co-ordinator went on to candidly hug her doll, gushing that she felt “very accomplished”.

Though the theme of the workshop was on how to sew a felt doll, the session was really about re-introducing the joys of crafting to the people. As with many things, a big part of crafting is about enjoying the journey. So keep calm and craft on.

StarLIVE is a monthly free event organised by The Star covering different topics; previous events included talks on how to handle taxes and learning to be creative. To receive updates on the next StarLIVE event, e-mail starlive@thestar.com.my.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Craftypedia, Craft Workshop, StarLIVE

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