One of the great things about working in a creative field is that it's easy to find people who appreciate the art of making things like you do. My coworker buddies Jessica (product designer) and Roxanne (graphic designer on my team who also happens to be a fabulous catsitter) are certainly no exception. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I believe the idea sprang after a conversation about Etsy with Roxanne. While in art school we had both dabbled in crafts, but nothing serious - though we both thought Etsy was a great opportunity for us. Suddenly, the conversation shifted to crafting together and seeing if our friend Jessica was interested. Our little Craft Collective was born (or so I'm calling it, for now). This Sunday is our first little "meeting", and we'll work and inspire and help one another for three or four hours over a movie and perhaps a fantastic variety of snacks. Yummy.
The excitement over this, combined with my boyfriend's nearly incessant jokes over me suddenly "going Grandma" made me think: if the "make it / make it mine" attitude is becoming such a huge culture trend now, can't we redefine the idea of the craft circle? Certainly Etsy is helping to change the face of crafting from the ground up. With more buyers and sellers registering daily, I can't help but think of the new "craft circle" as a tool for the crafter that works similarly to the group critique of a fine artist. It's an opportunity to explore ways to improve your work and bounce ideas off of each other while in a relaxed social atmosphere.
Since I'm overflowing with ideas for my own little circle, here are some I'd love to share to inspire you to start up your own group!
- Meet weekly or biweekly. To keep it fair, rotate houses or apartments so one person isn't always playing host.
- Keep it social. Even if you're crafting for business, it's a great opportunity to take some time out and make new friends and get to know old friends better. We're crafting over some snacks and a movie (I'll probably suggest the BBC's Pride and Prejudice - after all, we do have a decent chunk of time set aside, and I've told Roxanne repeatedly she has to watch it. Mmmm, Colin Firth...).
- Share ideas and resources. I've pitched the idea that we share a "supply bucket" that we can all chip in for to keep our mutual costs down - it could contain anything from PVA glues to scissors to wire cutters. I'm also taking out my Gocco to share so we can all print business cards... but that's after we decide our line names, of course.
- If you don't sell through the same Etsy store, find another webspace where you can come together as a group to display all of your work and link to it on your Etsy profiles. This will get you the most cross-advertising for yourself and your other circle friends.
I'll definitely have more knowledge to impart once we get things going ourselves. I'll definitely keep everyone updated!