Recently, I've been obsessed with crocheting baskets to use around the house. My first one was made with a giant hook and strips of cotton scraps; the result is a fabric that is thick enough to stand up well enough on its own and hold my current needlework projects. Now I'm working on a couple wool ones that will be felted (or "fulled") in the washer. And the crazy thing is that I don't know how to crochet!!
Okay...technically--or perhaps not-so-technically--I guess I do know how to crochet, or I wouldn't be doing it...but I don't know the right way to crochet. I don't think I'm making the stitches in the...ahem..."standard" way. I can't read a crochet pattern. All I know is that I'm pulling one loop through another loop. But you know what? It works! I'm accomplishing what I want, and that is to create a basket-shape piece of fabric.
When people are hesitant to try new things, I think that many times it's because they are afraid they'll do it the "wrong" way. Granted, there are some things that must be in a certain way, like, you know, performing surgery or repairing your car. However, this is not the case with crafting!
When it comes to crafts and the arts, I would definitely say that the end justifies the means. There may be an easier or more conventional way to do something, but it's all up to the artist. There is no cosmic rule that says "paint must be applied in this way," "your stitches must look like this," or "you must use this fabric." Though there are some people who might say these things, the craft gods aren't waiting to strike you down if one of these "rules" are broken.
Think about the very first artists. The people who invented knitting, weaving, the ones who did the first paintings on a cave wall. The first artists certainly didn't have anyone tell THEM what to do, nor did they have any training! They made it up, and it was alright. It was more than alright, in fact, it was the beginning of ART!
So to make a long rant short: when it comes to crafts, art, and creativity in general, do what you feel like doing. Some projects might not turn out as well as you expected. This is how we learn! And, on the other hand, you may stumble upon something original and completely fabulous.
PS--Folk Craft is having a giveaway! Check out the Folk Craft blog
and enter; a winner will be drawn on Friday, June 19th.