Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Start a Crafting Club in your Hometown

By Christina VanGinkel

Many people are solitary crafters, preferring to create their crafts on their own; taking advantage of the quiet time provided them to feel productive while enjoying their solitude. Others like to create crafts with the added inspiration of others though, at least occasionally. A large proportion of scrapbook enthusiasts seem to enjoy the camaraderie that a group of like-minded individuals provides, often seeking out others to share their much-loved hobby. Other craft enthusiasts do too, from those who crochet or knit, bead workers, even painters. Even those who are solitary crafter the majority of the time, might sometimes encounter times when getting together as a part of group has advantages.

Creating crafts for a fundraising event is one such example, or as a way to combine two loves, meeting friends to chat and share a cup of tea, along with trading ideas, patterns, even supplies to make your solitary crafting times that much more enjoyable. For whatever reason you are in search of a group atmosphere, starting your own craft club in your hometown is an ideal answer to your needs.

If you do not have a group of people in mind, run an ad through a local penny saver or similar paper, requesting interested parties to call. You could also post a notice on a church or other organizations bulletin board if you would like to keep a more tight control over those who first contact you. If your place of business has a board for private messages, that is another good option. Once you have an idea of how many people are interested, search out a location to hold your first meeting. This might be somewhere you intend to continue holding meetings, or just somewhere to get together to work out the issues of starting a group in the first place. If your local library has the space, ask if they allow such meetings. If they have conference rooms available they might charge you a small fee, but try to avoid paying anything until you have the ground rules set and only if others are willing to contribute to the cost.

Churches are often quite willing to host craft groups, especially if a sale of some sort is in the makings, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the church fund. If you plan to keep membership limited to just a few people, meeting in a home might be a good idea too. Some of the best groups I know of have members rotate who hosts the meetings each month. That person is also in charge of refreshments for the meeting, keeping the refreshments limited to just a snack and beverage.

If you cannot find enough people who participate in the same crafting hobby that you do, a general craft club, where each member brings an item of their own choosing to work on can also be a good foundation for a craft club. It is actually a great way for members to see and learn about other crafts.

Once you have your members, a place to meet, and a general idea of what you all hope to gain from such a club, set up an initial meeting to set your actual rules. Write them up; even if the rules are, there are no rules, so everyone knows where other members are coming from. Some examples of things that rules might cover include how often you plan to meet, if new members can just join, or if approval will be needed, and by whom, what goals the group might have, especially for fundraisers, and if there will be any fees including those to cover the cost of meeting. Also, keep track of issues such as rules of trading supplies, and use of other's tools at meetings.

Consider some of the advantages of being a member of a craft club too. If you all enjoy the same hobby, the possibility of buying supplies in bulk can add up to big savings.

Starting a craft club in your hometown can be a great way to meet other likeminded individuals, or to gather a group of friends to put their talents to work for a good cause. Take the first step and put together a club today!

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