I am big into art and crafts.
I’m not into all crafts. I’m not even into useful crafts, but I really enjoy making new things with my own two hands. I go through phases of intense focus where I NEED to learn how to decorate cakes/use watercolours/pyrograph/découpage/make jam. Then, as soon as I’m good enough at it that I’m satisfied I could gift the results to some unsuspecting victim without having my skin fall off from the holy mortifying shame of it all… I lose interest. No sooner am I happy with the results of my jewellery-making than I’ve dropped all my beads and picked up some oil pastels, ready for my next challenge.
I’m like a tiny, fickle, Martha Stewart but without the multi-million dollar empire and the tax-evasion and the facial expression that implies she is perfectly capable of killing you with her own bare hands.*
For about two years now I’ve wanted to make a dreamcatcher. Yes, I’m talking about the tragically uncool, yarn-and-feather, possibly culturally-appropriative things that everyone used to have on their wall. They weren’t very useful for catching nightmares – or whatever it was they were supposed to do with your dreams – but they were a surefire sign that you were probably a girl growing up in the ’90s.
I have tried a couple of times to harness the power of the dreamcatcher, but every time I’ve just ended up with my fingers tangled in yarn. For about five glorious minutes, my creation looks like something spun by a drunk spider, and then it unravels completely, spilling beads across the floor. Every few months, I try. Every few months, I fail. You know what they say though; if at first you don’t succeed, just keep trying until you almost amputate your own finger by means of an accidental yarn tourniquet.
With this in mind, imagine how excited I was when I received an e-mail from Ikea telling me they were having an activity day during which there would be a craft class for how to make dreamcatchers. I was excited. I mean, I was really excited.
I put it in my calendar. I planned my weekend around it. I knew I wouldn’t have the car and Ikea is a trek away, so I plotted my route accordingly. When D-Day (Dreamcatcher Day) arrived, I set off on my adventure with high hopes. I took a bus to a place I had never been, and then walked to another bus stop where I took a second bus to a stop about half an hour from Ikea. I then walked (bounced, really) the rest of the way. I was going to CRUSH this! I would finally, finally, learn how to make a dreamcatcher. You know when cartoons think of money and dollar signs flash in their eyes? If I had been a cartoon in that moment, my eyes would just have been a series of potential dreamcatcher colour combinations.
I walked in the entrance to IKEA and looked around for my craft class. I was bang on time, so I knew it should be starting. It took me a couple of minutes, but eventually I found the sign for the dreamcatcher crafting crew. Once I realised I had found it, I stood, blinking, trying to comprehend what I was seeing.
The people making dreamcatchers were toddlers.
The “dreamcatchers” were big circles made of cardboard.
The “craft class” was actually just a sort of advanced childminding station.
Paralysed with disappointment, I watched as a dozen toddlers scribbled fiercely on their cardboard circles with fat, washable Crayola markers. A couple of IKEA employees moved from child to child, wiping snot and spit and encouraging them not to draw on the table. Tongues poked out in concentration as they pushed their markers back and forth, squiggling thick lines of colour all over the place.
When I could bring myself to move again, I glumly trudged to the homeware section and picked up a candle and a potted plant to soothe my soul.
Then I left, and got my two buses home.**
*Seriously. Does nobody else find her smile completely terrifying? I think it’s a combination of the smile and the wrinkle-free shirts. There’s just something very Patrick Bateman about her.
**To this day, I still have not mastered the art of the dreamcatcher.