Crafting in the Workplace

As us "crafty" types can be found in nearly every vocation imaginable, we find that some of us have jobs allow time or resources for creative expression, and some of us do not have that luxury. This does not mean that the rest of us in mind-numbing professions are not constantly coming up with ideas throughout the day, even if we are unable to see them through. Today I am suggesting four different ways that you too can still get your jobs done, and done well, but be able to support the other side of your brain that would be happier creating. Feel free to try these yourself and share with us the results!

Origami - This is much more about letting out a little creative steam than it is working on a personal project. But, for those of us who get a bit fidgety or need something to do with our hands, making origami is a simple way to get crafty. Origami is the art of paper folding, often associated with Japanese culture, yet is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, typically of paper. There lots of great How To books out there with instructions on how to do Origami, many of them bundled with ornate paper to take your creations to the next level. But you do not need fancy paper when you have plenty of random bits of paper around your place of employment. There are numerous free websites and tutorial videos with instructions on how to make origami forms, depending on sizes of paper and personal skill level. Keep in mind what resources you have available, from 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper to index cards, from fancy card stock to Post-It notes. Even burger wrappers and tissue paper could work, if you are careful. Once you have found your design and your medium of choice, then get to folding! If you mess up, you can always unfold and try again. As long as you aren't depriving your workspace of valuable resources, you can discard any mess ups and start over. Once completed, now you can decorate your piece with whatever pens or pencils you have at your disposal. The final result makes for a cute addition to any work space, or might serve as a friendly gift to cheer up a colleague who is having a tough day. For a tutorial video on how the make those adorable Post-It Butterflies, click here.

Creative Work Folder - Crafty ideas can come to us at any time! We can be commuting to work on a train, chatting on the phone with a client, and even struggling through a 3 hour-long business meeting. When inspiration hits, you certainly want to capture it before its gone. Although your workday may not provide any breaks between assignments or tasks, that doesn't mean good concepts should slip between your fingers and be lost to time. I suggest making for yourself something of a Creative Work Folder. This could be digital, but here I am suggesting a physical folder or binder that you have at work where you can quickly capture the ephemeral and lock it in place for later review. This could be a dedicated folder, or simply a divided space from another work folder that you keep neat and professional. Then as things hit you, you can write them down on sticky pads or whatever is most handy, to later adhere to the pages of your Creative Work Folder. A perk of this system is that, as you come up with more ideas, the workflow grows and changes because it can be somewhat modular, and you can always remove ideas that don't work. The key is to have it be unobtrusive so it does not interfere with your actual job productivity, but an organized space that you can throw ideas into for later use.

A Writer's Email Account - Depending on your job and your workspace, you might have your online tasks monitored for safety and security purposes. Even if you are productive and are not wasting time, any online personal use may be tracked and reported. Just because you are on your lunch break does not mean you want certain websites or blogs being readily visible for scrutiny from your bosses. For all of my writers and bloggers out there, a crafty workaround to keep a cleaner image is to create a separate email account (not through work emails) that you use to generate written elements. Work emails could be monitored as well, but if you log into a personal email, write as much as you want, and send it back to yourself at the same email, it will not be tracked. If it is something you want to work on for a couple of days, then you can leave the email up as a draft and send it at a later time. Imagine hammering out a blog post in 20 minutes of your 30 minute break, then once you get home, you can pull up the email, drop the text in your editor du jour, Again, while you are not doing anything wrong or doing personal work on paid time, this idea is more about the optics and allowing you another way to scratch your creative itch.

Mixed Media Collage - Whether scrap booking or journal making is your jam or not, playing with mixed media can be very satisfying. The results will vary greatly upon what scrap or garbage resources you have on hand, but you would be surprised at what you can create with a few well chosen pieces and a brief coffee break. First, collect your different types of medium from what is readily available. Does your work area have old magazines that no one wants or ever reads? Is there printer paper that gets discarded, or old financial print outs that are nothing more than large swatches of garbage numbers? Look for color, texture, patterns, or anything that might compliment another medium you have already collected. Then comes the fun part: piecing it all together. Decide how you want to shape the pieces with ripped and uneven edges, or clean and controlled cuts. Lay out sections and move them around until they feel right. You can usually find either glue or tape as your securing agent, but even those may play a role in how you assemble your final piece. It may not be a modern art masterpiece, but you should be proud to show it off at your workstation or at home. Other uses might be as a notebook divider, a book cover, shaped into a pencil holder, or even as the base for a Thank You card to be given to a colleague!

*Disclaimer: CraftyBGamer does not condone the use of company resources for personal use, the misuse of company resources in any way, nor the neglect of job duties while on the clock. This article is meant for employees to use cautious discretion in the materials they source and the time they allot for creative projects.