In a world where screens dominate our attention, seeking solace in a creative hobby can help you relax and restore a sense of balance. And the best bit is you can enjoy your creation long after you’ve finished making it by hanging it on the wall at home or as a keepsake for your children.  

If you’re a newbie looking for easy hobbies, or you’re keen to extend your artistic skills and try something different, this is your starting point. We spoke to three artisans about how you can get started in crafting hobbies, such as macramé, calligraphy and textile art. 

 Brydie Stewart of Mary Maker Studio in a white shirt smiles to camera and stands in front of a white tulle curtain.
Brydie Stewart of Mary Maker Studio, which sells macramé materials and patterns.

Making Magic with Macramé

Brydie Stewart discovered a passion for macramé while working as a visual arts high school teacher. “I started macramé on the side as it was something I could do for myself,” she says of the creative hobby. “I loved the stillness.”

Brydie was enjoying the craft so much, she started designing her own macramé materials. Eight years on, Brydie’s business on the NSW South Coast, Mary Maker Studio, now shares gorgeous macramé materials and patterns inspired by Australian landscapes with customers around the world. 

A Simple-to-Learn Creative Hobby

Macramé is a creative knotting technique that can be used to make everything from wall hangings and Christmas decorations to coasters and jewellery. 

“It's a very simple craft to learn,” Brydie says. “Even if you feel you lack creativity, are pressed for time or are unfamiliar with the art world, macramé offers a therapeutic escape. In just half an hour, not only can you create something you’re genuinely proud of, but you’ll also experience a calming mindfulness that soothes the soul.”

She says the trick to macramé is mastering 10 main types of knots. “Then it’s what you do with those knots,” she says. “How you place an individual knot next to another will make a different pattern. And if you don’t like how it looks, you can just undo it.”

A pair of female hands with a selection of macramé yarns and materials on a table in front of her.

All You Need is Rope and a Stick

Brydie says compared to other types of creative hobbies, macramé requires very few materials. “You need a piece of dowel or a stick from your backyard and a roll of cotton string, and in a short time you can make an artwork,” she says. 

Macramé is also a creative hobby you can use to make great gifts. “I have so many people say they didn’t know what macramé was last week and after using a beginners’ pattern they’ve made three pot plant hangers, a hat hanger and a rainbow for their friend’s daughter!” Brydie laughs. “It’s really versatile.”

What to Try

SEE ALSO: 13 Art and Craft Ideas for Adults That Will Boost Creativity

A smiling woman wearing black sits at a table with a pen in her hand, surrounded by red cards featuring Chinese calligraphy. 
Amelia Tran-Bencio’s interest in Chinese calligraphy led to her launching her small business, Tranliagraphy.

Transforming Calligraphy into a Creative Hobby

Growing up, Amelia Tran-Bencio spent Saturday mornings attending Chinese school to learn to read and write in her parents’ mother tongue. But it wasn’t until her early 20s, when she stumbled across her dad’s diary of his time as a Vietnamese-Chinese refugee, that Amelia’s interest in Chinese calligraphy piqued.

“He documented everything, the atrocities of war, it was all there – in beautiful cursive handwriting,” says the Sydney-based artist. “I was able to form a deeper connection to my roots.” After taking formal lessons, Amelia started a small business, Tranliagraphy, introducing new generations to this ancient art form. 

Close up of four red pieces of cardboard featuring Chinese calligraphy characters in gold and black inks.

Start by Copying

Chinese calligraphy is a complicated craft that, to some people, can feel intimidating, says Amelia. “There’s so many strokes, and it can seem difficult to figure out the order for writing the strokes.”

Her advice? Just have fun with it and try not to worry about being perfect. “My approach is to make it appealing, especially to younger people,” she says. “Try not to be intimidated. A good way to start is the way I did, by copying. One of the easiest things you can do is place tracing paper over the text that you want to have a go at.”

Keep it Simple

The same goes for the materials for your new creative hobby. Amelia says she doesn’t use a traditional Chinese writing brush – called a máo bǐ – instead preferring to keep it simple. 

“My approach to all my work is to keep things as minimal as possible,” she says. “I use a pre-filled brush pen, and you can even use ballpoint pens in the beginning. Learning Chinese calligraphy doesn’t have to be costly or complicated.”

What to Try

SEE ALSO: Easy Hand Lettering Techniques to Try at Home

 A smiling woman in a blue patterned jacket stands in front of a wall full of embroidery threads. 
Nicky Crane is the owner of Thread Collective, which sells weaving looms, yarns and accessories. 

Getting Started with Embroidery or Weaving

Working with textiles has been part of Nicky Crane’s life since she was a teenager, but it wasn’t until she had children that she decided to put her corporate career on hold to start an online business importing and manufacturing yarn, thread and other materials for like-minded Australian crafters. 

“I’ve been doing embroidery on and off for my whole life,” Nicky says, adding she started the medium up again during the COVID-19 lockdowns after having her third child. “I rediscovered a love of cross stitch that I had since [my] late teenage years. That grew into the shop.”

The Brisbane local started Thread Collective in 2017 with a focus on weaving, embroidery and other forms of textile art. “Now we're Australia's largest weaving, fibre and textile supplies store,” she says. 

Weaving your Magic

Nicky started weaving – interlacing two yarns at right angles to create a fabric – to make baby wraps for her children. She says it’s an ideal medium for beginner textile artists.

“You can start weaving with some string, yarn or even scrap pieces of clothing using a basic frame loom, or you can make a loom with cardboard,” says Nicky. “You can go as simple or as complex as you like.”

A woman wearing black on an outdoor deck is seated at a loom set up with blue, green and purple threads.‍

Painting with Thread

If you’re inspired to experiment with needlecraft, Nicky says embroidery can help you use threads to add beautiful patterns, designs and textures to fabrics. 

“Embroidery is like painting with threads, so you need to be a little more artistic,” she says. “You can do embroidery on linen towels, or you can make something to hang on the wall. Thanks to the mending movement, there’s been a rise in using domestic needlecrafts for old clothing repairs. Embroidery is a form of textile art, even if you’re just darning a sock!”

What to Try

SEE ALSO: How to Make Textured Art That’s Truly Unique