Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Crafting Events: Crafting Over Cocktails

Traditionally when you think of a “crafter” you envisage someone working alone, perhaps in a cosy workshop with nothing for company except the radio. For many undertaking a craft project is a wonderful way to carve out some “me” time and tune out the white noise of everyday life.
Intructions were supplied as part of the workshop

It doesn't have to be like this though and for those who enjoy sharing what they are working on social networking has made it much easier to “meet up” with like-minded individuals who share your hobbies. Crafters have been remarkably adept at changing with the times. Websites have sprung up, on-line forums exist and even crafters who specialise in fairly traditional arts casually refer to tit bits they have picked up on twitter or on the creative crafting site. So its no great surprise that there is an increased demand for social events, which include a craft element. Taking the world of cyber socialising and replacing our avatars with real people.
I’d seen a few of these events advertised and was quite intrigued. As I associate my hobbies with that pleasurable time when the rest of the world sleeps and I can be totally alone with my projects I wasn’t sure I liked the idea but a few friends had attended a local event and had been very enthusiastic.  So a few weeks ago I headed to a craft night in Liverpool. The premise was that we would be taught how to make lanterns whilst sitting in a trendy cafĂ©, catching up with old friends and perhaps making a few new ones along the way.
My Cupcake themed lantern

I’m always excited to learn new things and as I did my hair and make up I thought how a few years ago I would have been making the same effort for a night of cocktails. Either crafting has become trendy or I am a young fogey (don’t answer that)
The night itself was surprisingly popular. I had gone along with four friends and when we arrived there were at least another twenty girls already seated with drinks, ready for the tutorial.

So what about the nuts and bolts of learning a new skill in a “girls night out “ type atmosphere. The demonstration on how to make a variety of lanterns wasn’t terribly thorough and even though I consider myself quite adept at turning my hand to new disciplines I wasn’t particularly clear what to do. The saving grace though was that detailed handouts were on each table so we were able to quickly work out what we needed to do and go and load up on materials, which were all, piled high on a supply table.
Claire with her lovely green lantern
Maybe it was the company I was with or the pot of delicious apple and cherry tea I was able to buy from the bar but having arrived sceptical about social crafting I absolutely loved the experience of making lovely items whilst catching up with friends. Having all opted to glass paint old jam jars it was wonderful to see how different each of our finished lanterns were. One friend Helen decorated hers with red hearts and fashioned a clever little tea light holder using copper wire whilst another Claire went for a delicate green palette and a distinctly vintage flavour. For mine I decided to make a lantern for my little girl so using a little bit of decoupage decorated my lantern with pictures of cupcakes and a pale pink glass paint wash.
Social Crafting is fun

In terms of really digging deep and learning all there is to know about a particular craft these classes probably leave a lot to be desired but for a fun creative social experience meeting like minded people I highly recommend them and skipping home carrying my new lantern I had the lovely warm feeling you get from a good night out with none of the hangover the next morning.


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