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December 01, 2005

P2: Revised Draft

P2: Revised Draft

CRAFT club bursting at the seams

It takes more than nimble fingers and a steady hand to be a master at arts and crafts. “You have to concentrate on the twists and turns of the yarn,” said freshmen Sarah Slates, member of Seton Hill University (SHU)’s new CRAFT club.

CRAFT, or CReating Art with Fiber Together, will assist anyone who has a burning desire to learn fiber crafts, and to learn how to eventually make them on their own.

“Knitting is not just for grandmothers anymore – it’s the new yoga,” said Maureen Vissat, the club advisor.

Members learn and grow by discovering new crafts, and using their skills to instruct others. While most of the members are beginners, some have been knitters for years and are using CRAFT as a vehicle to reawaken their talent and discover new ones.

“It's a way to provide crafty-people the opportunity to get together and create,” said club leader Moira Richardson. “We also want to create things that benefit the community at large. We want to use our joys and hobbies to improve the world.”

Though the goals are ambitious, the atmosphere is relaxed. Members chose their own level of involvement and meetings are not required. Its informal setting allows people to come and go as they please.

“There's none of this pressure stuff to show up to every meeting,” said Vissat. “There's an essence of real community.”

“We've had random people stop by our meetings and craft and that's awesome. We play music or watch movies at our meetings and just talk about whatever,” said Richardson. “There's no pressure to be a CRAFT superstar. It's all about having a good time, and in turn, sharing these good vibes with the world around us.”

Maybe it’s the methodical clicking of knitting needles or the casual environment, but members enjoy the stress reduction that comes from CRAFT activities.

“It’s a way to unwind, get some relaxation and ‘me time,’” said junior Evan Reynolds.

“They can take a break from brain work and work with their hands,” said Vissat. “I think they leave the room reenergized.”

CRAFT is currently made up of a diverse group of 28 members. There aren’t only art majors, but chemistry, education, math, writing majors, and more. An average of 10 – 12 members attend each meeting.

“I don’t have to put in a lot of time,” said junior Joel Brown. “It’s challenging but the skills I’m learning are relaxing.”

Though there is a binder filled with craft instructions, most members prefer to seek guidance from Richardson. She walks around quietly giving instructions; ready to solve any craft crisis that may occur.

“It started out as a joke on my blog, but then I really started to consider the idea,” said Richardson.

CRAFT members are interested in exploring all areas of craft including knitting, crochet, macramé, collages, card-making, sewing, embroidery, silkscreen, scrap-booking, and more. They made their campus debut during SHU’s House on Haunted Hill, where they offered face-painting and gave away friendship bracelets to children.

“Many people seem to be excited about the club. All of the clubs on-campus seem to do great things and I hope CRAFT can keep up,” said Richardson.

“This club is really unique. I'm impressed by the group's vision and community spirit,” said Vissat.

Projects are created both individually and collectively, and used to promote a sense of community and raise awareness for causes. They depend entirely on the interests of the members and the availability of local experts to instruct them.

“I like the community aspect of group projects. It’s nice to learn in a group,” said junior Michael Diezmos.

Some of CRAFT’s goals are to create a group art project to be displayed and solicit donations. Proceeds would benefit the Blackburn Center and the Westmoreland Food Bank. They’d also like to donate completed items directly to needy individuals in the community.

“I like CRAFT because it’s a combination of learning something new that I can do with my hands, and also getting the opportunity to donate,” said Diezmos.

They’re also interested in selling completed items in their own silent auction to raise money for the cause of their choice. They plan to donate completed items to various campus organizations for sale in silent auctions.

“I really want CRAFT to be out there in the community, doing things that make the world, or at least at SHU, a better place,” said Richardson.

Members are currently knitting squares for a “Community Unity Quilt.” The quilt will first be displayed on-campus, then in Greensburg’s Mustard Seed Gallery in the spring. It will then be donated to the Warm Up America Foundation.

“It’s our first semester. It’s kind of an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t,” said Richardson. “It’s mostly about fun, and hopefully we’ll do some good in the meantime.”

“CRAFT is very beneficial to the student community. They're producers; they have a desire to give and edify,” said Vissat.

Smaller craft projects like card-making and scrap booking are planned for next semester. Other plans include embroidery, fashion design, and quilting with the Sisters at Caritas Christi.

Meetings are Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Administrative Building. Members donate their time as well as their own supplies. Everyone is invited to bring any yarn and knitting needles they have.

Posted by Kayla Sawyer at December 1, 2005 01:26 PM


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