NerdCrafts: Telling New Stories with Old Arts
As we nerds well know, there are tons of ways to express your fandom love, but one of my favorites has always been through creating things of my own that are inspired by the source material. I love to use fan art or sometimes fanfiction as a vehicle for this, but oftentimes, I like to go for something more hands-on.
Taking this approach frequently means using crafting methods that are, by all accounts, a bit dated — and in some cases, almost ancient. I’m talking about things like crocheting, cross-stitch, and calligraphy (and even some things that don’t start with “C”).
As much as I like to think I’m being innovative with this concept, I know full well I’m not — knitting, quilting, and other such old-timey crafts have been making a huge comeback in popular culture. And part of my interest in such things stems from that very rebirth. But even so, I like to think that I’m part of a subset of creative types who fulfill the desire to bring about something new by using old means.
And I can’t deny the fact that there’s something oddly subversive-feeling about using a skill that was once used to make stately, prim, ultra-feminine things to create nerdy things — especially snarky, nerdy things.
And though using old arts to bring new stories to life can often be done to humorous effect, I like to think it often goes deeper than that. Not only does it breathe new life into an art that might have fallen by the wayside, it shows the true potential that was inherent in that art form all along, but which couldn’t have been tapped into when the art form first came about. For example, cross stitch used to be primarily for creating wedding and nursery samplers and the like, and unless it was done really well, it could look pretty tacky. However, it just so happens that cross stitch lends itself perfectly to creating pixelated pictures like those you find within 32-bit video games. Charizard never looked better!
Another great example is calligraphy — this ancient art was created out of pure necessity, back when handwriting was literally the only way to record information. Out of that necessity eventually came beauty, though it eventually became a skill used primarily to create official documents; from there, it faded into relative obscurity, and is little more than a hobby these days. However, it’s recently become a way to beautifully represent favorite quotes and sayings from the stories we love. It’s an art form that forces those who practice it to slow down and really, truly think about the words they’re writing — to get the chance to contemplate words they find beautiful for their sound, appearance, and meaning.
Whatever crafting method you choose, there’s no denying that with a little ingenuity, you can use seemingly obsolete art forms to create something amazing — and sometimes, the new approach you take might be even better than the original.
Though these are some of my favorite ways to create nerdy crafts, there are plenty of other possibilities out there. What’s your favorite? What new way have you found to create something using an old, forgotten method? Tell us about it in the comments!
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