Crafting has had a makeover. Post-pandemic younger generations have discovered the wellbeing benefits from putting down the phone and picking up the crochet stick instead, inspired by TikTok and YouTube influencers teaching traditional skills with a modern twist.

It’s a movement that featured in the 2024 trend report from the Association of Cultural Enterprises. 'Creative wellbeing' was also highlighted by speakers at European trade show Maison & Objet. So, we were inspired to create a Crafting and Escapism collection to showcase the best books catering to this trend. We asked Sinéad, one of our curating team, to tell us more.

Where did the idea for a Crafting and Escapism collection come from?

We want to help retailers anticipate customer needs, so we are proactive as a team to identify new trends. We were especially drawn to ‘Craft and Escapism’ as an emerging trend highlighted in the Association of Cultural Enterprise’s latest report. We liked that it was about “creative freedom and expressing ourselves, to allow ourselves to have fun”, mirroring some of our own experiences and what we’d observed culturally. Crafting in 2024 embraces maximalist colours and is about nostalgia and fun, and we are noticing lots of new and exciting books reflecting this.

Why has crafting become more popular?

Many people turned to crafting during the pandemic looking for more purposeful activities, inspired by social media. I think people discovered how fulfilling a hobby it can be and have stuck with it.

There is definitely a drive to reduce smartphone use, and activities like crafting provide a more meaningful alternative to constant doomscrolling. I know myself, when I do something myself like crochet or drawing, I feel so much better than I would have if I’d spent that time staring at my phone instead.

But at the risk of sounding contradictory, I think a growth in online content teaching people traditional crafting skills has also made these pursuits more popular and accessible. These influencers attract thousands of followers on platforms, such as TikTok or YouTube, demonstrating that there is clearly a market for related products.

Selection of books spread out on a marble surface.

Who does this trend appeal to?

Crafts can be thought of as a more traditional, niche pursuit but the resurgence has been led by a younger demographic and as a result we’re seeing crafting repackaged in a modern, accessible way that is broadening its appeal. We’ve seen some beautiful books coming out, such as Crochet Crush, that apply crafting to current fashions, appealing not just to young people but anyone who appreciates style and creativity or just wants to add some fulfilment to their lives.

How can books be used to reflect trends?

It’s not always easy to tell how long a trend might stick around for but books can offer an accessible entry point into a new topic for anyone curious without being ready to commit. Books offer retailers a low-risk way to acknowledge a trend on many levels. For example, small picture books can provide a clear visual representation of a trend, but for a more informed customer base, in-depth hardbacks might be more suitable. Therefore, books offer multiple options whether you want to play it safe or fully embrace a trend, depending on what type of business you are.

So how did you approach curating this collection?

From my experience as a gallery shop manager, I had previous knowledge of what my customers were looking for as they started out in crafts such as weaving, macramé, or embroidery. But we wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, so we were keen to incorporate themes of wellness and mindfulness into the collection too.

The collection features drawing, collage, textiles, puzzles and even botanical pursuits such as flower pressing and terrariums. We specifically chose bold, bright and visually appealing titles but also wanted to ensure that we were catering for all skills levels, from beginners upwards.

What are your highlights from the collection?

Bold cover for crochet crushCrochet Crush really stood out to us. It’s colourful, on-trend, and on-point for what is happening on social media. The modern take on crochet is very evident there.

Drawing People emerged as a popular title at trade shows. People were very drawn to it, and I think the illustrations are very charming. It’s very playful and at a fair price point too.

The Pocket Book of Macramé is part of a series, alongside knitting and weaving. It’s great for beginners. It has a lot of substance to it but it’s very visual, so it’s not too intimidating. It retails at £9.99.

And I like Baking for Pleasure. This collection isn’t just about crafts, it’s about making things and giving people permission to spend time on their passions for no other reason than it makes them feel good.

Browse the collection