On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization issued a global health emergency related to a new strain of coronavirus, dubbed Covid-19. Mere days after the WHO’s announcement, President Trump declared a public health emergency in the United States on February 3.
By March 13, Covid-19 escalated to a National Emergency as U.S. cases continued to increase. Less than a week later, California became the first state to introduce a stay-at-home order on March 19. Most states would follow suit, issuing stay-at-home orders of their own in a bid to stop the spread of this novel virus.
As more and more American citizens found themselves in lockdown, they looked for safe ways to occupy themselves while staying indoors.
An aptly dubbed ‘craft renaissance.’
With many Americans now confined to their homes because of the pandemic, they turned to creativity, particularly arts and crafts, to pass the time. This trend was mirrored globally, with The Guardian aptly dubbing it an ‘arts and crafts renaissance’ in May 2020.
Some of the most popular screen-free activities in the United States during this time were crocheting, knitting, and flower pressing. Meanwhile, online craft retailer Design Bundles experienced a 113% increase in digital crafting file sales during the lockdown.
Suggesting many crafters were experimenting with digital elements like free svg files for Cricut and other cutting machines. When asked for comment about crafting during lockdown by Design Bundles, crafter Jennifer Royle had this to say:
“Crafting really stopped me going stir crazy during lockdown because it’s one of the few ways to occupy yourself without leaving the house! All you need are a few supplies and a bit of inspiration. I taught myself to knit during the first lockdown, and since then, I’ve really enjoyed developing this skill to make all sorts of knitted toys for my nephews. It’s been great for them as well as me!”
Will the craft renaissance continue?
Now over a year after the first 2020 U.S. stay-at-home orders, and almost a third of the way through 2021, Americans return to some semblance of normality. With many states open or on their path to opening up and returning freedoms (including socializing outdoors) on the horizon, there is a new question. Will the craft renaissance continue?
If Covid-19 taught Americans anything, it’s that it’s hard to predict the future. But with some Americans preferring to return to normal at a slower pace, and the ever-looming threat of a surge in new covid cases, potentially meaning more stay-at-home orders in the future, it might be a little too soon to ditch the crafting kit.
Emerging craft trends collated from Pinterest, Instagram, and Tik Tok also indicate the rising interest in arts and crafts may stick around into 2021 and beyond. Some of the activities trending in these digital spaces include:
- Resin crafts
- Volume sewing
- Polymer clay
- Textured embroidery
- 90’s crochet
- Tie-dying & ice dying
- Candle making
Whatever the future holds, arts, crafts, and creativity, in general, was a powerful coping mechanism that saw many through the worst of the 2020 global pandemic.
James P. Coomer