I have very funny and wonderful friends. They've been listening to me describe a school of the handcrafts for years now. I had always envisioned it in my house (I have a big old house with a wonderful front room perfect for a classroom) as part of my everyday life - a vision my family did not exactly share.
One day I mentioned that I kept thinking "domestic institute" because the handcraft skills I was thinking of are the domestic skills of old, the skills people had to have to survive and thrive, and they took great pride in their ability. We are fortunate that home economics are not a necessity to survival, that here in the first world, we are free to choose which skills to learn and master.
I am an avid maker. I love to knit, I like to sew, I suffer from DIY-itus where everything I admire I contemplate how to make. I often get into one of these projects and realize that I am way in over my head. Part of making things is learning how to break down a project into the appropriate sequence of steps. I learned how to knit by knitting a sweater. I followed the pattern sequence exactly as it was written - knit the back, knit the left front, then right, knit the two sleeves, sew together at the shoulder, pick up all stitches along front and neck for button band, seam up the sides from hem to sleeve cuff. I had the pattern glossary and a reference book at hand, and stumbled my way through increases and decreases and buttonholes. Since I sew, I am very accustomed to ripping out seams and starting over, a skill and willingness that has served me well with knitting.
When I pictured this school, this institute, I pictured lots of talented people sharing their particular skill sets, whether it's knitting, sewing, leatherwork, carving, paper craft, whatever, and sharing information about the tools specific to each. I also pictured this institute having the tools on hand for people to access so that every new craft explored wouldn't have to involve an expenditure on tools. I pictured it as a gathering place for like-minded people, so that all these crafty folks could meet and share and connect.
"How about Craftstitute?" one of them texted as I wrote to her about my plans with the yarn store closing. "But maybe that sounds too much like prostitute," she continued.
Certainly it's a sassy name with room for lots of funny and suggestive taglines, but it describes what it's meant to be - a craft institute. I have to say it slowly so my tongue doesn't get twisted, but it works.
My partner in this endeavor is a fellow knitter. She has a community spirit and a curious mind, and is constantly out exploring new endeavors and talking to people about their particular niche. When I told her about this crazy idea, she got it immediately and started asking questions. That's how she works - always curious and open to new adventures. For someone like me who gets stuck on specifics (I'm still hung up on CraftScout for pity's sake), partnering up with someone like Lisa is a revelation. Funny how the right people show up at the right moment.
So, if you have a particular skill you would like to see taught, if you have a skill that you would like to share, please contact us. We're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as Craftstitute. We take possession of our school space February 15th, and plan to open March 1.