Craft communities thrive on their sense of togetherness and the sharing of skills and ideas. If you’ve ever observed participants in a creative workshop you might have noticed the warmth in exchanges between them, insecurities reassured by supportive comments and genuine appreciation shown for each other’s work – it’s powerful stuff!

These are the subtle things that give sessions a depth of meaning for some that goes far beyond a simple gathering to create something together. Group creativity is providing a vital support for some people in our community, a place to be on a particular night of the week, an escape from the pressures of their daily lives and often an opportunity to meet people.

 

“I love learning from others and sharing new craft experiences together has been brilliant. We’ve had a tough year emotionally and the group offered us an opportunity to distract from reality and just be.”

“I’ve enjoyed arriving in the group at the time of making the quilt squares, Monday nights have given me space, time for reflections and exercising my mind.”

So what has become of these groups, now that all physical meetings have stopped?

Well we have continued to meet up online via Zoom. It was a bit strange at first and my connection was very glitchy, but it is good to see everyone’s faces and catch up with they have been making. At the first Monday Zoom meet-up, the regulars talked about how enforced downtime had been affecting their creative pursuits.

Although they had not yet tapped into the many online courses and workshops that had been popping up all over social media, they had found that they were now ‘having time to do things they don’t usually have time for,’ they ‘had a lot more energy’ and were ‘seeing more projects through’ instead of the usually amassed pile of *WIPs, UFOs and PHDs.

As a bonus, some members of the Monday night group who have previously only been able to support from afar are now able to join Zoom sessions all the way from the North and South of France. This Beeston born group has gone international! Polly Dextrous (Helen) and Le Petit Escargot Bleu (Ruth-Ann) have been popping in over the past couple of weeks to say ‘hello!’ They have both been so supportive of what we have been doing in the group so it’s great they have been able to be part of it finally!

Routine can be terribly important to our well being , which is why most groups have stuck to their original time to meet online.

A shared concerned is ‘how long’ we are going to be physically isolated from one another. Although it is relatively easy to order craft supplies over the internet these days and many local businesses are happy to post out or deliver, we spare a thought for those who don’t have access to the internet or are finding it difficult to connect.

Isolation can be incredibly difficult for many, especially those who struggle with their mental health, and within groups steps have been taken to keep in contact with individuals that may be suffering in silence. It is wonderful to see the local support groups online that have been set up to seek out some of these people too.

So with everything on hold, we will continue to make our connections online, creatively inspiring each other and sharing our current projects.

To quote our favourite craft studio Two Little Magpies ‘good things come to those who craft.’

*works in progress, unfinished objects and projects half done
DU