This isn’t your kid’s crafting room. At its new location on East Cesar Chavez Street, CRAFT continues to offer open crafting hours, group events, workshops and various shades of glitter.
How Does CRAFT Work?
Since 2013, CRAFT has been “everyone’s craft room” with 200 square feet of tabletop working space and walls covered in crafting supplies that are open for use. When patrons enter the studio, they get a tour of the workroom and suggestions on how the available tools can be used for different projects.
From there, crafters are encouraged to take as long as they need to dream up their project and gather supplies. The clock doesn’t start until the hands-on creating begins. Pricing is $10 an hour with a sliding scale, depending on how much of the next hour is needed. Some visitors may take a few hours, while others may finish a bit faster.
“There’s something really wonderful about not having to make a certain thing,” founder Eli Winkelman told me. Adults generally don’t have anywhere near this amount of craft supplies at their disposal with no set project to accomplish.
White walls, a wide-open space and plenty of light along with upbeat, background music sets the subtle tone for a workshop that doesn’t step on the toes of anyone’s creative process. Crafters can bring in snacks and drinks, but these items are often forgotten once everyone begins “working.” In fact, sometimes it can get pretty quiet at CRAFT when people get “in the zone.”
There are only two major rules to keep in mind: 1. The paintbrushes go in water (no dried up paint crust allowed). 2. Don’t judge your own work or anyone else’s–just enjoy.
What Are CRAFTers Making?
Some visitors lean toward utilitarian projects like key- or card-holders, while others grab a cafeteria tray to collect all the items that look interesting before forming an abstract masterpiece.
“People make things we would never be able to think of,” explained Winkelman. “Even people who come in here thinking that there’s no way they’re going to be able to do something come up with a project they’re going to make, and are really happy when they leave with their work.”
Projects range from silly to sentimental. During my visit, Winkelman pointed out the supplies to make unique cards and stationery like an enormous selection of stamps (some from Winkelman’s childhood), different kinds of pens and papers, cutouts, and quilling and embossing supplies. Recently, a graduating college student made a collaged “thank you” letter to her parents with the entries of “Mom” and “Dad” from old encyclopedias, complete with a crafted frame. On the silly side, Winkelman notes the creation of pet rocks and weird figures from random doll body parts.
Have a CRAFT Party
For groups, only a reservation and a chat with the CRAFT staff is required to have the perfect party. Most groups opt for open crafting, but sometimes a general project idea is appropriate. In the case of a recent baby shower, guests spent nearly five hours hanging out and painting blocks of wood to make custom baby blocks.
For bachelor parties, Winkelman can’t help but to “cheese it up” and tell party-goers they’re going to be making the wedding decorations. After seeing the crowd member’s faces fall when asking for volunteers for the “glitter crew,” she finally reveals that a sophisticated art class was planned all along with a drawing teacher and a nude model.
Workshops, Weddings and Memberships
Floral arrangements, bath and body supplies, brush lettering and terrariums are all subjects of popular making workshops available at CRAFT. Winkelman teaches an introduction to screenprinting. After completing the class, students can use the screenprinting materials in the studio or exercise their skills at home, since she makes it a point to teach the class in an accessible way.
For major events (like weddings) where some DIY help is needed, CRAFT will make prototypes of items like centerpieces. From there, guests for the special occasion can come make the multitude of pieces on their own schedule.
CRAFT is also starting a membership program to “commit to your creativity.” This includes unlimited crafting at $40 a month with a three-month minimum. And coming soon is CRAFT’s co-working program, which will allow for access to the crafting supplies as well as provide a home away from home to work in. In the past, one remote worker was able to complete her custom Halloween costume during her work-breaks.
Keep Up With CRAFT
CRAFT is buzzing with creativity and positivity. The encouraging nature of the staff members makes anyone feel at ease with their artistic ability, and the organization of the crafting materials alone is something to marvel at! CRAFT is located at 4704 East Cesar Chavez St. Check out their website for more information and follow them on Instagram and Facebook for class updates.
@MadameKLM wants to know:
What was your last craft project?
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