Story last updated at 4/8/2009 - 11:03 am
Spring is slowly seeping into Southeast and melting away the winter chill. New buds are bursting through, patches of ground are revealing themselves and birds are returning to get their craft on.
You may question the idea that birds are crafters, but let me assure you, we could take a few pointers from our fine-feathered friends. For starters, many of these flighty creatures recreate or redecorate their homes each spring. Using classic crafting techniques birds both locally and abroad weave, patch, plaster and gather their way to cozy nested comfort.
In Africa, weavers (ploceidae) create elaborate "apartments" with woven grasses, twigs and leaves much like we humans weave baskets. Fly to Australia where the tailorbird (cisticola) stitches its home out of living plants bound with spiders web. This sewing bird then lines the nest's interior with tree cotton (the basic stuff for quilter's batting). Yes, birds that sew, weave and quilt are at this moment getting in gear for spring. I've gathered some tips (from both human and ornithological species) to get your nest ready for the crafting season to come.
The first thing all crafters need when carving out a space for their work is research. This may sound intimidating, but it can be the most fun part of a redesign project. Natural resources are found at the library, online and in your own backyard. Look for colors, textures, shapes and organizational techniques that appeal to your senses. This space should be about comfort, but also about visual stimulation while you craft. The library has a plethora of resources new and old on the subject of décor, but don't be afraid to peruse photography and art books for further sources of inspiration.
Once you have some research, take a look at how it can relate to your space. Important factors in creating a room, especially for crafting, are color, organization and accessories. In Southeast we are faced with many rainy grey days that can dynamically change our living spaces and our attitudes. Take a cue from our local flying friend the raven and imbue your space with pops of bright color. The raven scavenges and recycles the brightest and shiniest of objects he finds to line his nest.
For an inexpensive room makeover, use your local thrift store to do the same, or repaint old frames and objects in a unifying color to create the same feel. Also, use color to help organize your space so that everything is quickly accessible and visually efficient.
Another factor to consider is lighting. We don't have the luxury of building our nests at the top of towering evergreens like bald eagles do, so instead we use artificial light. When carving out a crafting nook try to find a space with plenty of natural light. If this isn't possible, try purchasing full spectrum UV lights that will simulate natural light. This will help you see better with intricate tasks, and help lift your mood on rainy days (which can't hurt your crafting productivity).
Most importantly, make the space yours. Fill in the niches with items you have gathered on your journeys that remind you of familiar people and places. That way, when you come home from a long day you can feel comforted and inspired by your cozy spring nest.
Tanna Peters is a crafter and designer from wonderful, rainy Southeast Alaska. View her latest creations at suiteliving.blogspot.com and her shared crafting sitecraftaddicts.blogspot.com. Send local craft inquiries and info to firstname.lastname@example.org.