Opening a Business is Like Learning to Craft

Kimberly Vallance

Kimberly cutting the ribbon during Grand Opening

Learning a craft is never-ending. There’s always something new to learn – a new technique or application or way of doing something. Whereas learning to craft is, more or less, a once and done thing for each craft. You learn to sew, once; you generally don’t learn again. But with practice and experience, you get better at that craft. It’s like riding a bike… or starting a business.

Life in the Craft Room’s Grand Opening finally arrived. I had worked toward this day for the past 4 months every day, through exhaustive physical and mental effort with lots of help from many friends and friends of friends and several local artists. No, wait, I’ve worked toward this day for years.

The past 4 months have been experiencing my dream come true.

As I reflect on my path to this day, I remember the losses that crushed my spirit: death of loved ones, death of dreams, death of hope. In the beginning, I didn’t know how to handle my grief or where to turn. I didn’t have a group of friends to lean on for a long time as I was too scared to form attachments and risk loss. (Except for one who made me her friend and stuck no matter what – thanks AMC!)

I also remember the islands of joy that kept me going; I found that others enjoyed the same creative outlets I did. I joined the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild, visited several other local quilt guild meetings when possible, and attended quilt shows or retreats or classes as often as I could manage. I met people who enjoyed sewing and quilting as much as I did and relished those interactions. I taught a friend to quilt so she could make her daughter a wedding quilt. I spoke with strangers on the bus or airplane or in the library or on a park bench about knitting or crochet. I taught knitting, crochet, and cross stitch every year at the Maker Faire. I found a local class on weaving (because I needed another craft!) and fell in love with it! I taught two ladies kumihimo braiding while in the waiting room of my dentist’s office before my appointment. I met with several people each week to make greeting cards I then swapped with other people. I attended scrapbooking events to work on that cruise I took years ago.

I refused to work on my projects when I was angry or sad so I wouldn’t put negative energy into anything I gave away or sold.

As some of you know, I became extremely ill about 4 years ago. I had multiple doctors treating multiple ailments. I was in too much pain to walk. I couldn’t focus on anything longer than about 20 minutes before I’d get confused because I was in so much pain. I had several surgeries that may or may not have helped. The pain continued to increase. The disease continued to spread. I stopped crafting because, at first, I didn’t want to put negative energy into what I made. Then I didn’t craft because I was simply too sick to do anything. Until I found a path – of discovery, of self-knowledge, of moving forward, of dreaming.

I leaned on friends, both old and new.

And I learned. I learned my friends would stick by me. I learned to trust myself. I learned to listen to my inner voice that said “try”, that said “trust”, that asked “what if?” I returned to my craft room. I started to create again. I found that I felt better than just okay when I was there. So much better, in fact, that I would spend hours and hours in my craft room. Someone jokingly said I had started living there! So I asked: “What would it look like to live life in my craft room?” I began to think of the people I’d like to invite in and what I would do.

And things began to happen. Not all at once; more like at a snail’s pace at first. Looking back now on the last year, though, that snail turned into a rabbit, then a leopard, then a race car, then an airplane, then a rocket!

Thus Life In The Craft Room was created. As more people come into the store to find out what’s going on, they are interested in being a part of and supportive of building a creative community. Won’t you come join me in creating something wonderful?

After all, creativity is where time falls away, pain disappears, and joy fills you!

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2 thoughts on “Opening a Business is Like Learning to Craft”

  1. So happy for you Kim!!! Loved your story. So proud of you for hanging in there. Congratulations on your new business.

    Keep crafting & enjoy being with the Queen. I hope to see you both this year!!!

    Love & prayers
    Wanda

    Reply

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