Engaging in traditional crafts is an ideal way to create immediate and intimate connection with a culture of interest. As Aurelia Gomez explains in Crafts of Many Cultures, “Crafts are a universal language of cultural expression. … Looking at and making craft objects give us an unparalleled opportunity to learn about each other and ourselves.”
As our hands fold the paper, clean the brush or fold the clay, the actions can inspire our minds to ask questions: Does this shape or image carry any significance? Did the choice of color have any meaning? In this process we develop curiosity, empathy and better understanding of a culture and its people.
Books to Inspire Hands-On Immersion
The Culture and Crafts series is a good introduction for young readers to the cultures of other countries — including Canada, Egypt, India, Italy, Japan and Mexico — and features step-by-step craft instructions.
Adults will enjoy exploring and crafting with the following titles:
- Making Magic Windows: Creating Papel Picado (Cut-Paper) Art by Carmen Lomas Garza
- Hello Tokyo: 30+ Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute, Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle by Ebony Bizys
- Vintage Needlecraft: 50 Projects in Victorian Style by Dorothy Wood
- Beading in the Native American Tradition by David Dean
- Traditional Nordic Knits: Over 40 Hats, Mittens, Gloves, and Socks by Johanna Wallin.