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My Advice to a Virgin Paper Crafter

Aimee Sheik

I've been making cards for about 15 years now. During that time, my skills and style have evolved and with each new technique I learn, they morph a little more. I remember showing someone my online shop a few years ago and they commented "Wow, you have such a variety of styles" At first I wondered if that was a bad thing, then I decided that if I'm going to continue to learn, it's going to continue to shine through in my creativity. As well, having an online store, and actually trying to sell some of my makes, lends itself to offering a variety to suit different preferences. 

A big part of my crafting journey, and my inspiration (as well as enablement) comes from a wonderful community of online crafters. Facebook is a terrific resource to connect with like minded artisans. You can find groups dedicated to particular skills and styles, to a specific brand, and even by theme. They're a great place to find resources to be introduced to new skills, compare notes, and did I mention, enable one another?

Almost daily, while scrolling through these online forums, I come across the following "I'm a new crafter. What are the top tools I need? What should I buy first?" The responses that follow are typically along the lines of "Don't buy everything. Don't do what we did." And it's so true.

When I started paper crafting, I thought I needed it all. Every single one of every single thing. I bought scores of supplies that didn't coordinate, and that I had no specific plans for. I still have some of those very first supplies, because after 10 years, I still haven't figured out what to do with them. Some of them even moved to the other side of the world with me, only to return in the same bin they came over in, few years later. It's tragic, really. 

So the only advice I have for new crafters when they are starting out and wondering what to buy is, take it slow. You don't need all the things when you're just beginning. You're going to be bombarded by crafters with many more years of practice and you can't master all the techniques the very first day. That's not saying I still don't buy scores of things, just ask my husband, but I've learned to look at projects others have created when I am considering buying something. I need to see the potential in the item. Am I ambitious enough to create something similar or do I know my style well enough after a decade of crafting to know that I'll never get around to learning that technique or having a steady enough hand to really be pleased with something I make using that item. That's my only rule of thumb any more. 

So yes, while we all want to be ambitious crafters, there are constantly new products and new techniques coming out, and no matter how long you've been crafting, you'll never have or know it all. So take it slow. And don't worry, you'll never run out of things to buy!


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