The Beauty of Primitive Crafts
Items that are handcrafted, homespun and rustic in design fall into the category of primitive crafts. As do items that have been constructed from repurposed material such as wood, metal and glass. And one of the real joys of primitive crafts is that they are easy to create and/or replicate for a DIYer.
Primitive crafts can be broken down into several different categories. Here are just a few:
- Wood crafts
- Holiday crafts
- Country crafts
- Functional crafts
Let’s break those down even further and take a closer look at some of these categories.
Many antiques are simply crafts from an earlier era. Creating needlework samplers, hand carved figurines, embroidered linens and primitive dolls and wood crafts were ways to while away the evening hours. Remember, there was no TV in those days! You either read or enjoyed working on some sort of hobby or craft.
You can collect and display these wonderful items as artwork in your home where they can act as inspiration or be used as patterns for modern day crafts that you might enjoy. Who knows? Someday your needlework may be for sale in an antique shop and inspire some young person of the future.
Wood crafts and dolls
Carved wooden toys, figurines and functional items such as tools, bowls and utensils were affordable to make as wood was plentiful. Men enjoyed sitting on the porch whittling and carving as they relaxed and the end result might be a beautiful bowl or a hand carved set of animal toys for a young child.
Primitive dolls were also easy and affordable. Fabric scraps were used for the body and clothing and eyes and other facial features were easy to embroider. The same techniques can be used today to create special toys and dolls that are safe and sustainable and can be handed down from generation to generation.
Halloween and Christmas are particularly good times to create hand-crafted items as gifts or for decorative purposes.
Halloween crafts might include:
- Pumpkins, ghosts and other Halloween motifs made from scraps of wood can be used to decorate the front porch to scare away the trick or treaters or used indoors as wall or table decor. Keep the design and finish simple and rustic to maintain the primitive look you are going for.
- Stencil and embroidered designs can be done on table linens, pillows and mantle scarves in fun Halloween designs you make yourself. Do you remember potato stencils where you cut a design in the center of a potato, covered it with paint and pressed it onto a piece of fabric or paper? Your kids will enjoy this country craft as much as you did and you will create wonderful holiday memories in the process.
- Gourds and pumpkins can be carved and decorated and turned into many different objects. Hollow out a pumpkin and use it as a candle holder on your dining table or glue artificial flowers to a pumpkin for a sophisticated country look. Gourds come in so many different shapes and sizes and can be turned into funny looking creatures or use them in their natural form for a beautiful display.
Christmas craft ideas can be just as simple and fun to make:
- Wooden signs that spell out holiday greetings, made from old wood and hung with a metal wire offer a simple country welcome on the front door.
- Ornaments can be hand crocheted, knitted, embroidered, painted or carved from small pieces of wood. They will add a warm and personal touch to your holiday tree or given as hostess and teachers gifts, for example. Most people enjoy and appreciate an item that has been lovingly and painstakingly made by hand.
- Scraps of fabric can be wrapped around a Styrofoam ball and used to fill a bowl with country style balls. You can choose fabric that coordinates with your home decor, use traditional holiday colors or create a patchwork quilt effect with different colors and fabric patterns.
Americana style crafts have been popular for a long time but have experienced resurgence in that popularity during the last decade. It provides us an opportunity to display our national pride.
Americana crafts are patriotic in design and color and include:
- Stars and stripes in all different forms. Weathered tin stars can be grouped on a wall indoors or outdoors. Add a needlepoint flag pillow to your sofa or side chair. A tattered old flag can be framed and used as artwork or paint an old board with milk paint to look like an old flag.
- Red, white and blue are the colors of Americana crafts. Bright primary shades do not work particularly well in a country setting so use more muted shades or “muddy” them a bit to get the desired color. This color combination can be created through the use of fabrics on items such as table linens and pillows or with paint on wooden crafts like painted boxes, furniture, candlesticks, glassware etc.
The term artwork is subjective but to most of us it includes items that have been created by a trained artist such as oil paintings, hand blown glass or hand thrown pottery pieces, custom quilts and needlework suitable for framing or custom designed furniture and other wood pieces. All of these items will provide you with a prized piece that you can proudly display in your home for years to come and is usually well worth the price you pay.
Functional crafts are items that are hand crafted but serve a function as well as being decorative. This includes things like primitive furniture pieces such as tables and chairs, dishware, blankets, quilts and other bedding, linens, utensils, tools and lamps, just to name a few.
Sources for primitive crafts
You can purchase primitive craft items at art fairs, antique stores, flea markets and even garage and estate sales.
If you are looking to make your own, primitive craft supplies can be found at specialty art stores, discount craft stores and even from online retailers. Here you will find the necessary paint and tools as well as some primitive craft patterns that will inspire and guide you. Wholesale suppliers are also available to those with a business or resale license.
Regardless of whether you purchase them from an artist or create them yourself, primitive crafts are a fun and personal way to add color and personality to your country home.