Added: Thursday 15 November 2018
Give the Gift of Craft Skills to the Next Generation
The unemployment rate in Britain may be the lowest in forty-three years at 4%, but the future of the British economy remains under scrutiny as Brexit negotiations continue and the job market faces potential change. Perhaps it is time to consider the skills we teach our children when they are growing up to give them more options for a traditional trade rather than just academic roles. There are numerous traditional arts and crafts that we can learn and pass onto our children or courses that they can attend to satisfy a specific learning desire and many can be learnt and practised locally.
The importance of craft-making
Traditional craft activities such as sewing, painting and basket making allow children to be in control of their creations and can enhance self-expression, self-esteem, confidence and may raise their IQ. Such crafts may also encourage patience if a child has to wait for a creation to be finished and a variety of activities will allow their imagination to be fully activated. Locally there are many opportunities for youngsters to take part in group craft activities which will develop social and creative skills. Flying Saucers offers pottery painting for all ages and there are after-school art classes available for a variety of ages.
Crafts for personal development
There are other benefits of learning a traditional craft such as social, moral, cultural and personal development. This applies to adults as well as children. Such crafts allow participants to engage and explore sensory, tactile and visual experiences and will teach them to appreciate crafts as a hobby, potential career path or an outlet for relaxation. Crafts will give exposure to a range of materials, techniques and tools which can be tested. It may even be worth investing in a quality sewing machine for beginners to allow for additional practice and experimentation at home. Creating something or watching others experiment allows for critical reflection and feedback.
Potential career prospects
With creative industries contributing over eighty billion pounds a year to the UK economy and manufacturing making up over 6% of the workforce in Bristol, they are certainly worth considering for career prospects for those youngsters who want a creative job. Arts and crafts support many other sectors and industries and careers may be available in design, creative, heritage and manufacturing industries. Sewing and textiles, for example, could lead to a career in design, garment production or a clothing or textile technologist. There are local courses available for beginners and the City of Bristol College offers a variety of higher education courses in art, fashion and manufacturing.
Learning a traditional craft is beneficial not just for children but for adults too. They allow for a creative outlet, development in self-expression amongst other benefits, and they are a perfect foundation for a career in art, design, manufacturing and other areas. Not everyone is suited to working in an office or gaining additional qualifications, so it's important to develop skills where individuals can achieve success by producing something using their hands.
This article was written for the Bristol Folk House by Jacqueline Cryer