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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Makes Ya Feel: time to get crafty

Gallery hoppers, Spotify stalkers, bookworms, Letterboxd users and anyone who enjoys art, this is the place for you. Makes Ya Feel highlights art across all of its mediums, small- and large-scale, that (you guessed it) makes ya feel! Check back every other week for recommendations, reviews and discussions.

When schoolwork gets overwhelming, it can be difficult to find ways to de-stress. Though it is important to remain on top of our responsibilities, it is equally as important to take care of ourselves. Art can be a great way to reconnect with your emotions and forget everything else that is occupying your mind. That’s why I propose craft nights with friends as an accessible, fun and stress-free way to step away from schoolwork and relax.

Craft nights allow you to hang out with your friends and express your creative side no matter your prior experience with making art. I am not the greatest artist — despite always envying those who could draw intricate doodles in their class notebooks — but I have found so much joy in attending these events with my friends. I appreciate the much-needed break from all that’s occupying my mind where I get a chance to be present and creative.

Craft nights can be thrown together very easily, making them the perfect downtime activity regardless of your budget. You can acquire free crafting materials on campus — just head over to McCullough to pick up Vermont brochures with some fun pictures or even use an old issue of The Campus. You can also cut up boxes from recycling bins or grab a few sheets of paper from the printers to use as bases for collages or paintings.

Lily Charkey ՚25.5 shared that she loves to host craft nights with her friends and locally source her materials. She often goes to Monroe Street Books right off of Route 7 to collect discounted used books with fun pictures and words to use as collaging materials. Charkey has found books ranging from gardening guides to funky rug patterns to old atlases, all for affordable prices. She purchases additional materials — glue sticks, scissors and thick paper — from One Dollar Market.

“When I’m crafting with my friends I really get a chance to reflect on the day in a way that we don’t always do,” Charkey said. “When you’re crafting, you’re not usually on your phone, so you’re focused on what you’re doing and the people you’re with, so it really helps you to live in the moment and talk about whatever’s on your mind.” 

Craft nights can bring you together, whether you’re just doing an intimate one with your closest friends or a bigger event with people you may not know very well. Either way, crafting is great for getting closer and connecting with others. 

WRMC traditionally hosts a collage night at the beginning of every semester during one of their weekly general board meetings to encourage DJs to get crafty and promote their shows. DJs — who are typically only in the studio once a week to do their hour-long show — may not always feel connected to the larger WRMC community, so having events like these really allows people to grow closer to their fellow DJs. 

“I think it’s so good for bringing people together,” said WRMC President Natalie Penna ՚24. “Especially on a college campus, because there’s not a lot of time to have fun and be creative with other people. Crafting is such a personal activity where you can give an unlimited amount of your own flair to whatever you’re doing, so I think it’s a good way to get to know other people in that sense.”

Isla Mitchell ՚26 also enjoys attending craft nights with her friends. She doesn’t always walk away with a new piece of art after every craft night, however. Instead, she likes to collect materials to save for future projects, so her art pieces can slowly build up over a period of time. Once she’s collected enough materials, she’ll combine them all into one, cohesive piece of art. For Mitchell, crafting is also a chance for her to get to know her friends in a new way: through their art.

“I think it’s really fun to see the different things your friends can come up with because even though you’re starting from the same books or the same magazines, you all end up with very different products,” Mitchell said.

Craft nights with friends can look like a lot of different things: collaging in a dorm, attending pottery open hours or even just sketching on a piece of paper passed back and forth are all exciting choices. So gather your materials, find your friends and tune out the rest of the world for a bit — you may be surprised at how good you’ll feel after.