Mississhippi's Madness

A place to share my creative pursuits

Craft in the Community: still alive and well in my local area


I am a member of my local art and craft group here in Sydney. They have been an important part of my creative journey since 1997, when I discovered they held art classes at night that I could attend to see if I had any ability to draw or paint.

I moved into a different area when I married, so I wasn’t a local. Because we spent so much time commuting (up until I left my job to have my daughter, I worked an hour and a half away from home), I didn’t even know more than a couple of my new neighbours. I am not a regular church goer, and because of my arthritis, sport is not really an option – so that removes two great ways to become part of a community. At home for two years with my baby, I was going a bit potty and needed an outlet – a mental health break I called it – and was lucky to find The group.

In the art room

I started just going to the art classes once a week on a Tuesday night. Then I started to go to the monthly meeting and met some of the wonderful women who take part in the craft groups on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Age didn’t matter, young and old work together, have fun, create, and share. I had found a community that welcomed me and made me feel a part of this area for the first time, over a cup of tea and some cross stitch!

Community groups like This one are not as numerous as they used to be, which is a great pity. But with so many people having to or choosing to work, not so many people have time to go and take part in community activities.

Craft group

All of the members are enthusiastic about their creative endeavours be it crafts, pottery or art. We share our knowledge with each other. If you don’t know how to crochet and someone else does they will sit and teach you. Want to learn to quilt, they can show you how. The kids art classes are extremely popular as are the pottery groups and classes. The women of the Fibre group do a lot of charity work, providing baby quilts, chemo hats and shawls for hospitals and raising funds through sales of arts and crafts created by the talented members.

I now take part in a lot of the activities at the group. It is where I go to play with clay, work with pastels and on a Tuesday morning have that cuppa while I knit or stitch and catch up on all the news. (I also now create the newsletter for the group, which is quite a task but everyone appreciates it so much it is worth the effort.) I help out in the office and I find it a very satisfying experience all round.

If it wasn’t for The group and the knowledge I gained attending classes there, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to attend college last year to obtain my Certificate IV in Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts. Their continued support whilst I was full-time at college was fantastic.

Pottery Room

I’ve had a lot of people tell me to be careful getting involved in a community group, not to sign up for too much responsibility. But if some people don’t do that, these community groups will die out, as will the knowledge the older members have of crafts that are not so popular any more.


Learning Embroidery

Embroidery Hoop

Scarf made of hand spun wool

Raku ware dogs made by Ilona Ede

As a member of The local group  we look after the Art and Craft rooms at the Local show This was a painting I entered a couple of years ago. I like to support the work My art group does whenever I can, donating art works to help raise money


Nothing beats hand made!

Do you belong to a community group? Are they disappearing in your area? I’d love to hear how arts and crafts are doing in your part of the world?


Author: Elaine

Artist, writer, married, mother, living with Ankylosing Spondylitis and winning (most of the time). My creative impulses have led me to drawing, pastel painting, writing, handcrafts and photography.

4 thoughts on “Craft in the Community: still alive and well in my local area

  1. Nice post. When I was about 8 my mother sent me to a craft group like this to learn embroidery properly from grumpy old ladies 🙂 But it stayed with me and I joined the SCA a few years ago, it is a slightly more specific focus but I really enjoy the opportunity to craft again. In fact I just posted about my bobbin lace on my blog!

    • I’ve always been a bit old fashioned in my choice of hobbies 🙂 so I felt it was time to admit to it! I’ll pop over and see your bobbin lace asap. That is another of those crafts that will be lost if people like you don’t learn it – good on you.

      • If people like us don’t learn and carry it on, who will be there to teach when we are the grumpy old ladies 🙂
        Although if you spend time on places like Etsy there *are* a lot of people out there doing crafty things, Steampunk has make it trendy

      • I think a lot of those talented people on Etsy work on their own or in small groups. Or in areas where there is easy access to learning. Where I live there is not a lot of access to learning crafts, or it is quite expensive to go to the classes, unless you have family to teach you.

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