An artist stands before a blank slate, their brush quivering, brow sweating and the demons of doubts loud in their ear. They make one feeble stroke forever scarring the pure white page. “Worthless” they mutter to themself. “I will never satisfy the art craving souls of Northwestern College, the stakes are simply too high.” They throw the canvas away and another artist’s self-expression is crippled by the fear of never being enough. Why should one create if they will not be deemed a great artist?
Founder of Crafternoon,”a low stake crafting club on campus, Elena Lee, would push back against the idea that if art is not great, it should not be done at all. When asked “Why should I do crafts if I am not good at art?” Lee responded, “You should do crafts because you are not good at art! And who defines good? If something makes you happy and you enjoyed the process of making it, then it is good regardless of how it turned out. There is no right style of art. Everything created out of love has beauty, even if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. The world could use more unique, imperfect art.”
In its rookie season, Crafternoon had numerous events. Lee had two favorites that spoke to the heart of what Crafternoon is as a club. First, was an event in the basement of Ramaker that included breakfast food, live music and painting. This event captured the essence of being the safe, self-expressive space that Crafternoon hopes to be. Campus musicians were given a place to share their talents without the fear of judgmental peers. Students were given room to paint without needing to impress those around them and everyone present left a little more seen and a little more appreciated. The second event was the building of bird feeders. Lee especially appreciated seeing the feeders strung around campus welcoming birds and inevitably the squirrels as well. Seeing bird feeders in trees makes college feel a little more like a home that can be decorated in small ways by those living here.
Already this school year Crafternoon has collaborated with Colenbrander Hall in a pop-up event decorating the vans for NW’s Inaugural Mini Van Parade. Crafternoon supplied streamers and washable markers to graffiti the vehicles. Smiley faces, polka dots, quotes and all sorts of doodles covered the rusted minivans. Taking what some might see as “no-good vehicles” and turning them into a colorful parade. These champions even paraded in front of President Greg Christy’s house, playing music, cheering and celebrating mini vans. In true Crafternoon fashion, the club took a thing that could be seen as shameful and worthless, and flipped it on its head. Making beauty and joy out of what the world may see as not enough.
This year, Crafternoon hopes to continue being a place that is safe for people to try new things, to fail and to get to know new people. They want to foster a campus that is accepting, creative and strive to make campus more beautiful through the things we create. They also hope to promote sustainably and recycling, a theme that will be present in many of their crafts. This last Saturday, Sep. 23, sustainability was evident in the creation of piñatas using recycled cardboard.
Be on the lookout for Crafternoon events in the future. Take a chance and tap into your creative side. There will be no better place to be the great artist you already are. Let your brush glide across a page and whisper to yourself, “This is good, I am good.”