Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Clever Crafting Project

The Clever Crafting Project
Aunt Daisy's Cafe
Every 2nd Wednesday of the Month
7pm until late
Bring your crafting project, some money for coffee and friends, and meet other crafters from the region. We look forward to meeting you and having fun together. Yippee.
Friend Cleo and I have been discussing the need to create and bring together a crafting community here in this part of Wellington. People want to craft, to either take up a new interest, develop their current skills or complete a project that has been idling for too long.
We have between us been passing on whatever skills we have to those who asked, held "stitching" sessions in our respective homes, workshopped, networked and been part of the local craft market culture. We also love to make things - wonderful, creative, crafty things as gifts for others, gifts to ourselves, and the odd experiment just because we want to. Both of us are art students, my study is currently on hold while I spend time with Knuckles and heal.
A noticeable resistance at art school towards our love for 'making for the pure love of making' kept appearing, and talking to other art students (from other art institutes in Wellington) who see themselves as "craft artists" tell the same story. Bugger conceptual thinking sometimes, as if things can't be created without first doing 50 thumb sketches, research and so forth. My own personal take on it is that we are all conceptual. We make things that are of value and meaning to us. Sometimes it will appeal to others, sometimes not. Rather than fight the system of intellectuals who want to keep art their intellectual property, I am keen to create our own world, where the line between art and craft disappears. Where there are no boundaries. Where things are measured on the value the makers imbue, the enjoyment that came from creating the work, and the joy spread in an inclusive community that willingly opens it's arms to all, from novice to specialist. Where there is no such thing as a 'dumb idea' - where it is all good to get excited about a box of Nana's buttons, an old doily, a garage sale and secondhand shop.
Ah, the old debate: Craft vs Art. Who cares! I wonder if it isn't those 'art snobs' who wish to keep Fine Arts the exclusive property of the "haves". I work at a local art gallery, a wonderful art gallery that promotes New Zealand art and artists. All the established artists I have met are wonderful, open folk, humble and not pretentious at all. In fact what I notice is that they prefer to stay out of the limelight if and where possible. Rather it is those who linger around the artists, who develop the 'art patter' or 'art speak', and seem to live vicariously through the art scene itself, they are the ones who make my skin crawl. One man came up to me at the opening of an event and asked "What do you do?". When he discovered that I was only a gallery assistant he moved on. Later he was observed smoozing with 'the artists'.
What I love about the craft community is that the people I have met through various events including craft gatherings like workshops and markets, are down-to-earth, willing to share and help, create affordable creations for the average joe's wallet, and are passionate about their creations. Like me, they are more likely to salvage their resources rather than purchase them new at art and craft stores. They are also incredibly approachable and desire to make a wee profit where possible to fund their love for making. Many, like ourselves, balance study, work and family commitments, and craft is their creative outlet, their self-care vent. And why not?
I hear a lot in my capacity as friend, counsellor and deduce that we would all be better off if we spent a bit more time doing things we love, a little less time on things that stress us out, and got a bit more sleep, sunshine and good grown food inside us.
Good friendships and community are vital for one's life essence, I find my few creative friends absolute balm in a balmy world. We love getting together to nut out new ideas, share gifts, "show and tell" about current projects, get some feedback, troubleshoot any blockages and work together. Our friendships develop another layer as that support spills into our personal lives. How can we spend so much enjoyable time together and not grow closer. As a therapist, I appreciate the value of my own little community of friends which is not so precious about process as it is about connections between people and the pure joy that comes from making.
I am so excited as we turn this corner and open up what we have been doing to the wider community.
Aunt Daisy's Cafe has agreed to host a crafting community group here in Titahi Bay. As if I haven't waxed lyrical enough already, Aunt Daisy's is our wonderful local cafe situated right on the north end of Titahi Bay beach. She has become a local legend full of atmosphere and wonderful kitsch decor. The views are to die for and the staff are fun. They serve good coffee, exotic tea blends and a good scone. I had a dream about holding our crafting monthly event here at Aunt Daisy's because it seemed a perfect fit, and that vision will be a reality this coming Wednesday. Bless!
This year I want keep our Op-shop Crawls going, basically filling my 7-seater wagon with crafters and spending the day going from second hand store to second hand store, stopping for coffee and kai, and lots of yakking. I want to see our local community more formally established just so we can support those up-and-coming makers, encourage anyone who is keen to get started, and maybe we can get some income from local markets and the wider retail scene.
Seeing as how I will be home anyway, I want to continue to open my home for those who wish to come and work on their projects during the day, to visit those who may be homebound, to provide not just practical support but perhaps identify any additional needs in my community. Several years as a counsellor, youth and community worker mean that we can help those in our community who may need additional assistance.
The flavour of our project is pure joy from making. The "Clever" part comes from feeling good about making cool stuff.
OMG, can u tell I am excited ... so much sharing the love and passion of making ... yippee. Bring it on I say!


twisted sister said...

Tell us what you want
what you really really want...

india flint said...

if i lived in Titahi Bay i'd be there in the sewing circle at AUnt Daisy's drinking chocolate chili tea too...good on you!
...and i'm curious..did you want an Afghan rug or is there a more deeply hidden message to decode...?

anyway if i'm in the region on a Wednesday i'll swing in on the ocean breeze....

Ahipara Girl said...

Yes, I want ... lots of things. Too many to list, hahaha, that was a halfway thought that got interrupted by a crying baby and my mum demanding I hurry up and get dressed so we could go op-shopping. I got some cool stuff too. Wish u were here India, we got some cute things today. I am looking forward to Wednesday, with crafting ladies (and maybe the odd bod male). Bring it on.