Therapy dogs? Been there. Stress eating? Done that. Crafts? It’s not the first thing that came to mind, is it?
Everyone has their own ways of coping with stress. Some people watch Disney movies, or play video games, or go for 10-km runs. But I think I’ve just landed on my personal favourite—almost entirely by accident.
Having recently started my master’s at St. George, I decided it was my duty to figure out what students do over there. While browsing through copies of The Newspaper, The Varsity, and The Toike Oike at the Hub in Hart House, I picked up a postcard advertising something called “Get Crafty”. It starts at 11 a.m. on Thursdays, which is not exactly early but kind of is when you live in Etobicoke like I do. So I corralled my friend Brittany Miranda (a 2015 UTM grad) and asked her to come along.
The day’s activity was button-making. We arrived in the Reading Room and two long tables were strewn with different kinds of paper, stickers, colourful tape, magazines, and glue sticks. We took seats and got started.
The lovely thing about crafts, for me, is that they make the rest of the world disappear. This probably doesn’t work for everyone, but at least for me, cut ’n’ paste is a lot like meditation. It was also fun to do a craft I couldn’t do at home; I don’t have a button-maker kicking around like Hart House apparently does. And, unlike my trip to the Gardiner Museum clay classes, there’s absolutely no pressure to be artistically competent. If you can use a pair of scissors and a glue stick, you’re set.
But most importantly, it forced Miranda and me to sit down and have a conversation, something that we don’t do that often since leaving UTM. It’s nice because there are gaps in our conversation where we both just quietly stick little pieces of paper together and listen to the hubbub in the Harry Potter-esque Reading Room. Get Crafty is a pretty popular event, although I’m not sure how many people show up to have tea and granola bars and end up making crafts by chance.
Incidentally, Hart House has partnered in their Get Crafty endeavours with UTM, where a similar event is hosted every other Thursday at the library. And, like Hart House, it’s free to attend and all materials are provided. The other advantage is that there’s no obligation to show up every week, or be there by a certain time. It’s a social activity without the constraints of yet another class or club meeting.