2020 is forcing all of us to spend more time at home. Some are using those extra hours stuck indoors to pick up a new skill or practice. Making art of any kind -- whether it be painting, sewing, or crafting -- has proven to be a creative outlet for many.
Trisha Yocum is owner of Art at the Bodega in Washington. She says hands-on artistic activities help alleviate some of the stresses and worries this year has brought.
“Arts and crafts are so good for your mind and your overall psyche. Just ding something and talking our mind off of everything else that is happening is super awesome and a huge plus," Yocum said.
Cliff Vieira and his wife Jodi opened Crafted DIY Studio and Bar in Peoria this past March.
Viera says it's been hard not being able to open their studio to the public as they anticipated, but they are still trying to make it work through take-home DIY craft and drink kits.
“And although we are not doing it in the studio now, the fact that we can send that experience home with you so that everyone during the holidays and during some darker and tougher times can get away from some of the craziness and just sit for a couple of hours in a relaxed atmosphere and create something they are proud of, execute and create something that is really nice and certainly wall-worthy in their own home,” Viera said."
Michelle Lohrenz, Co-Owner of Quilt Corner in Morton, says a lot of younger people are taking a new interest in sewing and quilting.
“We have seen more in the last few months really young people coming in trying to find something appropriate to do. There are beginning sewers that have started up. We do have machines for those as well," Lohrenz said.
All of the new arts and crafts projects might also lead to more handcrafted gifts being given away this year. The question now is, what is being crafted?
Yocum said Christmas and holiday items continue to be the best sellers.
“Everyone is trying to get in the holiday spirit and it is a bit harder to do so this year, so pretty much anything holiday," she said.
Viera at Crafted said while customers are interested in the Christmas items, they are always looking for something new and different to craft.
“The holiday stuff is certainly the most popular. We have got a lot of painted signs. We have got a lot of traditional but also holiday designs," Viera said. "The leather projects were popular for a while. So there is a leather clutch, leather wallet, leather passport. To be honest, I think we have seen a wide range because people are just looking for something unique, something different that they can do either for themselves or to give away to someone.”
Michelle Lohrenz at the Quilt Corner said there is beauty in things that just pique your interest.
“'Oh, I like that. Maybe I can do that for my home.' Our business, what we make is also useful. It comforts people. A quilt can be given to anyone at any time but it can be a very comforting thing," she said. "When customers come in, this is usually a happy place. A good zone to come into to decompress."
All of the store owners are encouraging you to get creative this holiday season, in an effort to both bolster your emotional state, as well as support the local businesses around you during the ongoing pandemic.
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