CRAFTERNOON: A Guide to Getting Artsy and Crafty With Your Friends All Year Long by Maura Madden
Buy the Book ($16.95)
CRAFTERNOON: The Web site
CRAFTERNOON: The Blog
CRAFTERNOON is a book that speaks directly to the heart and soul of what I love about crafting: connecting with other people while engaged in the creative process. Maura Madden’s new book, CRAFTERNOON: A Guide to Getting Artsy and Crafty With Your Friends All Year Long, lays out the tools, projects, tips and even snack recipes so readers can easily put together their own Crafternoon groups and get to makin’ stuff with friends and family in a relaxed, fun setting.
Initially, I just loved the idea of an actual guide that motivates people to craft together for the simple pleasure of having fun and connecting with one another. Creating community through crafting is one of my mantras. But as I started reading the book, I fell in love with Madden’s wit, her glowing stories of crafting with her mom, and – mostly – with her preaching of pressure-free crafting and an embrace of imperfection.
Crafternoon is all about being around friends who support your work, who encourage your growing craftiness, and who inspire and get inspired by you. Crafternoon is about getting back to the roots of crafting. It’s about getting pleasure out of the process as much as the product. It’s about making room for the input of other crafter and allowing yourself to be open to new ideas. It’s about the contentment you feel when you are surrounded by happily crafting friends, friends who can see the beauty in imperfection, the pleasure of happy mistakes.
A philosophy on crafting and community doesn’t get much better than that.
Each month in the CRAFTERNOON book outlines everything from project supplies, tips and resources, to recipes for snacks and even provides a sample email you can send to friends to get them to come to your Crafternoon gathering. It’s a great source of inspiration (not to mention humor – Madden’s writing is easy to read and hilarious) and a nice departure from typical project-only craft books.
Another important presence in the book is Madden’s mother – whose warm personality and gentle guidance is what brought heart to the initial Crafternoon gathering. Reading Madden’s account of crafting with her mom, and the influence her mother had on Madden’s work and perspective is sweet without being corny and leaves me wishing I could sit in on a Crafternoon with Madden and her mom.
So often, I hear friends saying they want to get together and get crafty, but never seem to pull it off. CRAFTERNOON is the perfect remedy to all that. It takes the guesswork out of planning the event and serves as a fantastic catalyst to get your craft on, community style. And for that, it’s one of my all-time favorite craft books.
And Craftzine readers are in luck! We’ve got a copy of CRAFTERNOON to giveaway to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment to this post and tell us why you need this book. (Please make sure your email address is in your profile so we can contact you if you win.) All comments will be closed at 9PM PST on Friday, October 31. The lucky winner will be announced on the Craftzine blog on Monday, November 3. Good luck, have fun, and tell your friends!
Here’s a little more background on author, Maura Madden, and why she wrote the book.
What made you decide to take your Crafternoons and translate them into a book?
My dear friend Emilie thought that it would be a good idea for a book. It was really all her idea! But once I started thinking about it, I really got excited. The goal of the book is to inspire people everywhere to host their own Crafternoons. If I can do that, I will be so happy.
How does hosting/attending Crafternoons make you feel?
Crafternoons are mentally refreshing. But if you’re the host, they take a lot of energy, too. Being a good host of a Crafternoon is the same as being a good host at any party – you run around a lot, you make sure that everyone has something to craft, someone to talk to and something to drink. And that can be a little bit tiring, but so very worth it, ’cause you get love and good times in return.
What’s the most common excuse you hear people make on why they can’t come to a Crafternoon, and how do you overcome those excuses?
It’s usually some form of “I’m not really a crafty person” or “I’m just not creative.” It can be really hard to convince certain people that everyone has the potential to be creative and crafty. I just try to be encouraging, and I explain that Crafternoon is not about competitive, perfectionist crafting – it’s about having fun and letting your imagination take the spotlight for a few hours. I also let them know that Crafternoon is more about the process of communal crafting than about some perfectly crafted end product. If all else fails, I just tell them there will be lots of cool folks there. And if they’re single, I like to remind them that there will be lots of cool single folks there. That often seals the deal.
How do guests usually respond to their time at Crafternoons?
People have an overwhelmingly positive response to Crafternoon. They leave happy and inspired. The experience is really gratifying. And I know they’re not just saying so, because they come back, and they bring friends.
Describe your favorite Crafternoon experience you’ve had:
It’s impossible for me to pick just one experience, because each Crafternoon is so unique and cool, and there are so many great moments every time. But watching any self-described “uncreative” person try their hand at a craft project and really get into it – that’s satisfying every time.
What tips do you have for folks who are interested in starting a Crafternoon group, but aren’t sure if they are quite ready to commit to it?
You certainly don’t have to do a Crafternoon every month. You can start out by throwing one to see how it goes, and even then you can just throw them whenever you feel like throwing them. And if you do want to make it a monthly gathering, but you don’t want to have all the responsibility of choosing the date, hosting the afternoon and being the point person, you can recruit a group of friends to be rotating Crafternoon hosts. And that way you get to experience new craft environments each time!
How do you maintain playful crafting time in your busy work schedule?
You just have to make time. It can be very hard, and believe me, there have been periods when I thought I would never have time to host another Crafternoon. But important things like crafting and spending time with those you love – you just have to set aside time for that.
How would you describe your philosophy on living a creative, independent life vs. working for “The Man?”
It’s funny, because technically I work for “The Man.” I have a full time job in an office, and it’s a very creative company and a great place to work, but it definitely qualifies as working for “The Man”. But I’d like to think that I can inspire other “Employees of The Man” that you can find time in your life to be creative, and, in fact, it’s imperative to find that time. Because humans are creative creatures – isn’t that what distinguishes us from the other animals that roam the earth? It’s not just our creation of governments and currency – it’s our creation of ritual, of art, of writing, of performance. It’s our desire to express something. I firmly believe that we humans must express ourselves to feel whole and happy. So my philosophy is just lead an independent, creative life in your own independent way, which may include working for “The Man” to put food on the table, or may mean living off the grid, growing your own food. As long as you prioritize your creativity and community, you can live a creative life.
How does your relationship with your mom affect how/why you craft? My mom is the reason why I craft. She is an incredibly creative person, and, obviously, an incredibly crafty person. It’s kind of astonishing how many types of crafts she is good at, but she is an especially phenomenal knitter and seamstress. And we really get along, so it’s fun for us to hang out together and craft. I wouldn’t have begun hosting these parties if it wasn’t for my mom. She inspired them!
As for how the relationship affects how I craft? Well, it’s funny, because my mom is actually a very precise and patient crafter, the polar opposite of my crafting style. But maybe that’s where the rebel in me comes out. I like to do things my way, and maybe I don’t always want to do what my mom tells me. Besides, I know she’ll love whatever I make, so I can’t go wrong when I’m crafting with my mom. I also try to impart that feeling to my Crafternooners – nothing is wrong at Crafternoon.
What’s the one crafting supply you can’t live without and why?
My imagination. Oh, and glue sticks. I love a good glue stick. Liquid glue is great, but paper collages, which I love to make, require a glue stick. And every craft requires your imagination. I cannot live without that.