One of the biggest draws of craft clubs may be that tackling new challenges – however daunting – is easier with friends. Find out how craft clubs and collectives can boost your creative confidence.
Ever wanted to crochet a giant unicorn, exhibit a dress you’ve made or meet creative people who live near you? Whether you’re an enthusiastic crafter in your spare time or a creative professional craving new opportunities, craft clubs or collectives can give you fresh inspiration and a chance to make a bunch of passionate friends.
Meet creatives and get feedback
Catherine Mugonyi of Blackpool-based craft club Aunty Social says, “Coming together and ‘nerding out’ over craft can be a wonderful experience. You come away with great advice, new ideas, improved skills, heaps of inspiration and new friends.”
Aunty Social was set up to provide a friendly, informal space to craft. “Soon we found that there were lots of people who liked making bonkers craft, like giant fluorescent crocheted unicorns and cows, and having a laugh over all kinds of silliness,” says Catherine.
Members find great support in the regular meetings, where they can share their passion and help each other progress. They’re also encouraged to sell items via the club’s connections as well as the club’s own outlet, Charabanc which gives members a safe space to test run their products as they move from hobbyists to professional makers. “Charabanc was one of the first suppliers of my products and through it our business has grown,” says member, Emma Cottam of C&E Designs.
Gain new skills
Hannah Goring runs Tibenham Craft Club (TCC) in Norfolk where members indulge in crochet, knitting, patchwork, screenprinting and more. Through running the club, Hannah herself has gained confidence and has gone on to enroll on a certified printmaking course as a result. “The feedback we give each other inspires you to keep going and to try different things!”
Similarly, TCC member Gilly Spencer says: “I have found that by being part of a craft club you can learn from each other, particularly if there is a skilled member who can really teach and sort out any problems as you go along.” Gilly says the group has encouraged her to craft it forward by teaching others to crochet, beadwork and to make felt decorations.
The group also holds an annual craft fair and takes part in a craft competition, to give them goals to work towards.
A friendly push
Another group with big plans is seam, a textile collective in Bath, formed as the founding members Desiree Goodall, Linda Row, Tabitha Stewart and Penny Wheeler, finished their textile MA in 2013. The group often shares useful business tips on blogging, marketing, planning events and running exhibitions with each other – and they’ve even taught themselves how to write a funding proposal.
While seam members teach and sell their creations independently, they still enjoy the chance to work together through collective exhibitions or simply supporting each other’s individual projects.
“We’re all doing completely different work, but we bounce ideas off each other,” explains Desiree. “All of our ideas have been collaborative. It’s been in discussion that we’ve come up with the best ideas,” adds Penny.
But it’s not just a creative inspiration members of seam get, they also motivate each other professionally. “It’s good to try something that’s outside of your comfort zone, and having the support of other creatives will help you do just that,” shares Penny.
Find a creative club near you
Illustration by Chrissy Lau