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  1. #1
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    Finding like-minded crafty souls w/out hurting feelings

    As i've mentioned before, I seem to have trouble finding like-minded crafty souls. The tastes of the people I most often come in contact with are far from my own. I'm talking about the women who make the same church craft sale stuff my mom and her mom made (and items that aren't retro cool now). Oh, and also throw in the moms in the 'hood who scrapbook, but instead of thinking creatively doing their own thing, all follow scrapbook page recipes (making the same pages as their fellow group members).

    My idea is to put up a notice for interest in starting a local group at the local coffee shops, bookstore and library BUT (big BUT) how do I politely keep out those who are not like-minded but want to join everything?

    I have certain people in mind who drive me nuts but I am always too nice to be mean. I know they will latch on to any group I try to start just because and then I will end up bitter and ranting on message boards (hehe). I really feel like an awful person for suggesting I want to be picky. I try to be open-minded about most of life, but having already spent time in groups that were a waste and not very creative (See scrapbook mom mention above). I want to see what people make and what their idea about creativity is before I commit to spending time and effort on them.

    Geez, I am picky!

    My idea is to make up a poster/flyer and list magazines and websites (like this one) I like. If they like them too, they can contact me. Kind of like a personal ad.

    Geez, I still sound picky and silly!

    I need someone to think logical about this for me. Or tell me how you found crafty people you like. I'm at a loss. The closest I found was the 6th grade daughter of a friend down the street who made a bag out of duct tape after she found a copy of Ready Made. Nobody else in this bedroom 'burb outside of Indianapolis knows what that magazine is! I really don't want to hang out with 6th graders though! :(

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  3. #2
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    Pam O'Queen, I empathize.

    First, don't discount sixth graders in creative endeavors. Yeah, you won't be hanging with her, but in dance and writing groups, sometimes my kindred spirits were very young. Okay, not that young, but still too young to drive.

    What happens with them is their social circle is still proscribed. Sure they get stuff from the net and from print, but the scope is still pretty much limited by their life experiences. However you might get a lot out of recognizing and fostering her creative push. It might juice you, it might make you think about technique, and seeing her talent grow will be a pleasure for both of you.

    Second. Answering your Q about how to discourage wannabes.

    I don't know how to adapt this to crafting per se, but it's worked for me with writers, with naturalists, with dancers, with classes I've taught and with some work projects.

    Make your meeting schedule difficult. Tuesday early evening is not a time for wannabes but for havetobes. Sunday morning at 8, same thing. The dilettantes will not show up, but a core group will. Gradually, you can adjust the schedule to specifically address the needs of the core group. As in send out invitation only announcements.

    Start with a premade group. Church group, civic org, book discussion group, whatever. That limits the number of people right there, but you may get a few or a half dozen semi serious responses if you make it difficult regarding time commitments.

    That's another thing: if you can link it to productivity, that's great. Only dancers who will perform at X, only writers who will submit n pages weekly, only people willing to staff a particular need.

    If you meet in private space, you wil probably have to be open to other members of that org whether or not they meet the criteria. If you meet in some public spaces, like the Library, you'll have to be open to citizens of the county or somesuch. But eventually, you can pare that down by finding a space with no constraints.

    How about advertizing in a college arts building? or even the school newspaper? Most college students can't be bothered with off campus activity, so only the semi serious will apply.

    With my best writers group, we discouraged the wannabes initially by our very seriousness. We had humor in our group meetings and in individual effort, but we kept high standards. Didn't boot anyone out or strip them of dignity, but it's mighty hard to keep up a charade when the group around you is working at a higher level.

    My naturalist group would warn of alligators and disease bearing ticks and mosquitoes, when anyone sufficiently experienced to hike the distance with us would know that precautions were minimal and generally unnecessary.

  4. #3
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    Apr 2004
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    How about if your add said something like:

    "Tired of people who think crafts are for grannies? Want to adapt your art beyond kountry krafts, lace and frills? Don't want to make another crocheted butterfly fridge magnet, then you are the person we are looking for in our group of hip crafters! "

    You would be able to put it better than me. Maybe saying something against grannies isn't the best idea, but you know what I mean ;)

    As far as finding people who are serious and want to stay, that may be hard. I know for myself I will give a group a try, and may even promise to stick with it, but if it's not really me I will eventually drift away. And who wants people who have changed their mind about their interest to stay anyway?

    That said I sure wish you were in Seattle! I was just complaining to my gf that I don't have any friends who are interested in the same things I am.

  5. #4
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    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnitzle
    How about if your add said something like:

    "Tired of people who think crafts are for grannies? Want to adapt your art beyond kountry krafts, lace and frills? Don't want to make another crocheted butterfly fridge magnet, then you are the person we are looking for in our group of hip crafters! "
    Wow this looks great! I was also going to suggest that you think of the things that would look attractive to you on the flyer...what would the flyer have to say to get you there. Hopefully the answers to your questions will make for a really cool flyer that will attract the kinds of crafty souls you are looking to gather.

    Good Luck!

  6. #5
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    Re: Finding like-minded crafty souls w/out hurting feelings

    Quote Originally Posted by PamTheQueen
    The closest I found was the 6th grade daughter of a friend down the street who made a bag out of duct tape after she found a copy of Ready Made. Nobody else in this bedroom 'burb outside of Indianapolis knows what that magazine is!
    Definitely mention ReadyMade, Hip Home Ec, Glitter, Craftster, Church of Craft & Stitch 'n Bitch in your materials. And/or use code words like hipster, craftista, glitterati, GenX/Y, radical, feminist, punk-rock ... Don't be afraid to steal copy from sites/books/magazines you like.
    And put your message where it will be seen by the kind of people you're looking for. Too bad Indianapolis doesn't have a Craigslist yet!

  7. #6
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    I personally would invite everyone to come to the meetings. Just because some of the women in your area are older or do generic crafts doesn't mean they don't have anything to offer. You may not personally find their crocheting to be cool, but I'm sure you can appreciate the work and time it took to make whatever it is. Likewise, they may not want to display a giant mod podge vagina in their house, but they might be able to appreciate the work and effort you put into it.

    People can learn creativity also. Maybe have an item of the week or month that everyone has to incorporate into something. Sorta like the macgyver challenge in readymade, or the Iron Chef on the Food Network. If they aren't open to something like this, they will probably flake out and just stop coming. No need to exclude them from the start.

    You might be surprised at what comes out of the woodwork. You might find that the generic scrapbooker actually did some really unique and fun things when she was your age. She might have marched in civil rights parades, or wandered around naked at woodstock. She could have been an early feminst who protested and worked to allow women access to a club or school. You never know what lurks behind a calm and conservative exterior.

  8. #7
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    I think I am kinda with Smudgy on this one. Although I like the advertising ideas thus far, don't be surprised or put off if you get some more crappy-crafters there.

    Some other points- The older crowd might have kids or even grandkids, that your ideas would go over well. Things they hadn't thought of yet. Imagine the delight on some junior-high face, when grandma creates a Starburst purse for a birthday present. That's a cool grandma, and maybe she just needs the idea.

    There are also some crafts that cross over. I am thinking for example, they were big last Christmas, those double-layer no-sew fleece blankets, that you fringe and knot? Know what I mean? Shoot, you have a million options with them, depending on why you're making it. Baby-size, afghan-size, lap-size. Kute Kountry print, or Elvis, or solids. Can make the matching pillow. Works for everyone. Yeah yeah quick and easy, and not particularly "artsy", but sometimes you just need a quick gift.

    The other thing is, there are some crafts that are on the verge of extinction, that older ladies are a valuable resource. I mean, for a long time, you know knitting was really going out of style, I'm really happy it's making such a revival with the *younger crowd*. I know how to tat. Nobody tats anymore. I think it's cool, just cause nobody does it anymore. It's not particularly useful and it's waaay time-consuming, but one of the reasons I wanted to learn, is because it's becoming a lost art. If you get older ladies with skill like that, you want to grab onto them. They can teach you how to tat, and you can all make record bowls, it's a win-win.

  9. #8
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    Maybe you should hold your first few meetings in a bar or a lounge? This might weed out any teetotalling-doily-making-kitty-cross stitchers...Seriously though, if everyone is the same you'll be bored! I think that if you gear your poster (or whatever) to the kind of people mentioned already then chances are that is more or less who you will find.

  10. #9
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    I'm with smudgy-cat as well. Perhaps the "generic crafter" is someone who could be a "hip crafter" if she only had a little inspiration!
    And I can honestly say that not all my crafting is "hip" or whatever. But I have tried a lot of different kinds of crafts and heard of TONS of other stuff I'd love to try(but never had the courage to). Some things you try are generic - because that is your first exposure and you do it that way until someone else say "hey, this is another way to do that very same thing - and look how much more hip it is!"
    So just see who shows up - if it isn't their bag, they'll eventually drift off and you'll have the core group of crafty folk you were seeking all along! You just never know who will turn out to be a fun crafting friend!
    Good luck & tell us how it all turns out!
    : miss m

  11. #10
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    One caveat about holding a crafty get-together in a bar/lounge: If smoking is allowed, it's not conducive to knitting or other fabric- or needlecrafts. I left an otherwise kickass S&B group for that reason - didn't like bringing home my knitting projects smelling like smoke.


 
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