We’re used to the warm buzz of crafting for loved ones, but making for total strangers can give you just as much satisfaction. Celebrate #RandomActsOfKindness day by sending your handmade items into the unknown…
There’s great satisfaction in crafting for people you care about. With thoughtful, intricate detail, forging something by hand can leave a crafter quite content. As the maker your ultimate goal is to make your loved-one’s day. But how about making someone totally random really happy through your creativity? How about sending your craft into the unknown?
Random acts of (crafty) kindness have seen park benches wrapped in yarn, gift parcels sent to addresses you’ll never visit, and wonders tucked away in unexpected places – all for total strangers. Our world is still crammed full of amazing people whose creativity and playfulness are lifting the spirits of strangers…
Since 2005, after Mother of Yarnbombing Magda Sayeg first slipped a handle cosy onto her shop door, Knitta Please many more knit graffiti groups have emerged. For these yarn ninjas, crafting for strangers is a large scale project intended for the whole community. Their gran-plified lamp posts, knit-covered trees and cosied telephone boxes grab the attention of passers by, allowing them to escape reality for a moment. Although there are many known political reasons behind yarnbombing, some exist simply to fill you with wonder.
Artist Kerry Howarth’s Yarnbomb Consortium does just that, turning simple woollen garlands into colourful, dynamic spectacles. “When I’m putting it all together it’s like doodling. The repetition of making hundreds of tassels is tolerable because I know the end process.” Her aim is to change the way people feel about a space and, as she puts it, “to put a sparkle in their eyes.”
Also inspired by making folks smile is Marielle Coppes of Magical Daydream. Each of her Kindness projects are incredibly touching, but of all the projects she has carried out Marielle’s most enduring is 1000 Cranes for 1000 Strangers. The two-year engagement from first fold to eventual YouTube film resulted in strangers finding origami treasures in secret places. Although she has no illusion that her actions will change lives, Marielle believes everyone has the power to make small positive differences in their environment: “I see it as my personal mission to use my creativity to make others feel good about themselves and the world.”
This desire to make people feel good also gripped the imagination of wedding planner and stylist, Tiffany Grant-Riley. Without setting out to, Tiffany modernised the idea of the pen pal by coming up with The Curiosity Project. She dreamed up the concept in 2011 after discovering a hand-painted wooden box in a vintage shop and thinking “how special it would be to send a box of curiosities and gifts to a stranger.” And so, hundreds of parcels were sent to make someone random feel extra special.
In November 2013, tipping their hats to Tiffany’s idea, Oh Comely magazine invited people to join their Perfect Strangers swap box to right the “woeful lack of good post”. Participants were asked to include something personal, an inspiring snippet, and a wintry treat in the package to others who’d also signed up. Both The Curiosity Project and Oh Comely’s Perfect Strangers assist in getting crafty gifts to someone completely alien to you and making them feel genuinely special.
Craft It Forward
This movement isn’t just about yarn-dressed parks, thoughtful packages or secret notes. It’s about creating a ten-second sparkle in someone’s day and an everlasting memory. It’s about encouraging people to stop for a moment, wonder ‘Why me?’ and inspire them to continue to craft it forward. Get involved! Make a crane with our paper printable, take a pic of where it’s placed and send your craft into the unknown. Or if you’d like to do something for someone closer to you pop your paper crane and note into a kindness kit filled with handmade goodies – get craft ideas here.
This article originally featured in Mollie Makes 37
Illustration: Jillian Phillips
Featured image: Magical Daydream
We’d love to see your Random Acts of Kindness. Show and tell using #molliemakers on Instagram and Twitter or post it on our Facebook wall. Want to know what we’re up to? Check out our Pinterest page to see what keeps us curious.