I was chatting with my friend, Moira, the other day. Like many artists who sell their work at conventions and craft fairs, she has seen all of her scheduled events cancelled this year. Some have been postponed or pushed back to 2021. Some may never happen again.
Presuming it will be safe, Moira’s next event isn’t until April of next year. She made a comment about her recent bouts of crafting, putting together new “shinies” out of her material supplies. She didn’t have to be making. She already has plenty of stock. The goal, however, wasn’t to make more jewelry. Her crafting was, she said, was an exercise in hope. Hope that the pandemic will end. Hope that next year’s events will go on as planned.
I admit to having spent time over the last couple of months questioning why I am doing what I am doing. Does the world need a blog about magickal crafting when so much is going so very wrong? Does it need a book about sewing or domestic magick? What’s the point of any of this?
All artists have suffered this year. Movies delayed, live theatre, concerts, libraries and museums all shuttered or with limited access. Every where we look there’s suffering. And for artists and crafters the fallout has been especially hard. Many depend on events to make a living. Online platforms are often only a fraction of their sales. Money is tight. Rent isn’t being paind. Food banks are being stretched thin. The oft heard criticism that we should all “Get a real job” has even faded. There aren’t any “real” jobs to get.
It is so very easy to lose hope in the face of all this. So, when I see Moira and my other maker friends still posting their work to social media I see people pushing back against the despair and weariness that has settled. Seeing “shinies” and quilts and paintings and vulgar embroidery reminds me of a fundamental truth: creation is magick.
A key component to spell work is intent; it gives the magick direction. We cast protective spells with the orders: “protect this person/place/thing.” When we sew a mask we do the same. We cast a spell of binding we say, “I bind you from doing harm to others.” We paint protest signs and stitch antifascist embroidery designs to the same goal. We burn candle spells dedicated to bringing an end to the pandemic. And we create “shinies” in the hope that we’ll be able to bring them to a craft fair when it is safe. The end goal is the same; the magick is just a variation in degree.
The point is not to broaden the definition of magick and witchcraft to the point that it has lost all meaning. I instead want to bring awareness to all the little magicks we do everyday, perhaps without realizing it.
Every act of creation–every one–is a spell worked toward maintaining hope in a time when it is especially needed. Every artist, every crafter, every newly minted baker, mask sewer and maker are contributing to a massive spell casting. No act of creation is insignificant, as it all adds to the overall work.
So, if you have been plagued by the question of “Why bother?” remind yourself that you are casting a spell.
You are crafting hope.
Header image from Pixaby.