On Friday January 14th, eight people made it over to Inkling, an arts and crafts gift shop in Lakeview, for the first Craft Up Chicago of 2011. Organized by Columbia senior Casey Champion and yours truly, Craft Up Chicago aims to inspire everyday creativity and to create a greater sense of community within the Chicago craft world. From seven to nine pm, participants snacked and chatted while knitting, needlepointing, sewing, and working on paper snowflakes. The latter served as the craft of the night. Though at first everyone marveled at the apparent complexity of the three dimensional snowflakes, after a short tutorial, they soon dove in and began creating their own. The motivations in the room were varied: some worked on gifts for friends, others planned to sell their work, and some just came to socialize.
Stephanie Keller (the owner of Inkling), Casey Champion, and I, on the other hand, had similar intentions. Stephanie had previously hosted craft get-togethers in her home, but after opening Inkling in June had not been able to find the time, though she still desired to do so. At the same time, Casey and I, both art history students at Columbia, had started to become friends over a shared interest in DIY craft and craft history. Inspired by the Church of Craft, a non-profit craft get-together with chapters in cities throughout the US (though not in Chicago), we set out to create a craft up for the Windy City. With the success of the first Craft Up Chicago held at Inkling, the three of us ended the night excited for the future of the event.