Wednesday 9 May 2012

Collective Buzz: How To Form A Craft Collective

A while back we were approached about presenting something at the 'Craft and the New Economy' Symposium which is put on by the Ontario Crafts Council. We were super honoured, and jumped at the opportunity, but it wasn't until we sat down to plan our workshop that we realized how nervous we all were! We very quickly figured out what we could talk about ('How To Form A Craft Collective'), but who was going to say what? Who would go first? "Are you nervous? Because I'm so nervous!"...

Well, it came and went, and we did just fine! We had a great turnout at our workshop, and we walked our attendees through an English Paper Piecing tutorial as we went through what we consider the five key steps to starting a craft collective in your own community.

Step 1: Find a group of like-minded people.

This might be a group of friends that you already have, or it might mean that you need to get creative! Put up posters, join/start a knit night, look for local craft whatever you need to do to find
some people who are just as passionate about this idea as you are.

Step 2. Create a vision for your group.

Every craft collective will have it's own unique identity. For us, we were looking to connect with like-minded people and participate in skill-sharing and large-scale craft projects. For you it may be something very different. When you meet with your collective be sure to share the things you are excited about, because you never know what might come of it!

Step 3. Delegate tasks.

For the Beehive, the tasks 'fell' pretty naturally. Each of us volunteered for certain tasks, based on our interest and schedules, and the tasks that were left over seemed to naturally fall into place as well. It's important in a collective, where no one is in charge or specifically taking the lead, that you're very aware of sharing the load. One thing we've all appreciated about the Beehive is that there is an honesty and graciousness about what each of us can take on a different points throughout the year.

Step 4. Get busy!

Do the things that you want to do! There was a reason you started this collective - now, get to it! Host a craft fair, share your skills, start a garden, put on a workshop, create a collective art piece...there are so many different things you can do with your group!

Step 5. Share the love.

If you're part of a craft collective, there are lots of people who want to hear about it! Start a website, create a blog, share pictures, put together tutorials...there is so much to learn and so much we can all be inspired by.

Those five steps pretty much sum up our process, which we would all say has been a great success! We've got some exciting projects on the go, one of which we'll be looking for help with soon! You'll hear about it here in the next few weeks...

If you have a collective of your own, we'd love to hear your story! Or maybe you're thinking of starting one and you have some questions about our journey. Just leave your comments and questions below or send an email to, and we'll be happy to give some more insight. Thanks for reading!

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