It’s midterm season at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and students are always seeking new ways to alleviate collegiate stress. Craft Crazy, UNH’s crafting club, is endeavoring to help by uniting Wildcats through a mutual love of crafting.
“It’s a weekly meeting, where anyone can come and just have some time to relax and do basic crafts that anyone can do, and just have fun,” sophomore biology major Meaghan Corbett, interim president of Craft Crazy, said. Corbett began attending Craft Crazy last year as a first-year student to destress from her busy school schedule, but ended up finding a wider community to get involved with.
“Just talking with people, because there is such a wide array of grades, you can get to know different peers and class members and that can maybe help you… make more friends,” Corbett said.
Craft Crazy was founded in 2013 as a way for students to “connect with peers and the creative mind through the subject of arts and crafts. [Craft Crazy] will teach one about valuable art skills, as well as what it takes to discover one’s creative mind,” according to the club’s constitution. Craft Crazy meetings are usually centered around a specific theme or craft, but members are encouraged to express themselves through any artistic medium they wish, such as decor-making, collage or painting.
The theme of last week’s meeting was Halloween. The atmosphere was relaxed as attendees worked on their crafts. Early 2000s pop music played softly in the background to accompany the easy conversation between members.
Students pointed to the calming environment and the therapeutic nature of art as their main motives for attending.
“I don’t really have to think about school when I [craft],” senior marine biology major Ingrid Havron said.
Art as a form of therapy has been around since the 1940s, according to the American Art Therapy Association, and has seen an increase as a means to help deal with stress or mental illness in recent years with colleges offering art therapy majors and minors. It has also been found that producing art at any skill level reduces stress hormones, according to a study conducted by Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions.
However, for some students the creative process goes beyond a need to de-stress.
“I like how [Craft Crazy] is a designated space to practice something that I used to love doing as a kid – it helps destress – but it also kind of reminds me of the person I was before coming to college,” junior economics, humanities and international affairs major Isabelle Kapoian said. “It maintains a continuity of self and that’s really nice… Art was always the way I knew how to express myself best, so there was a comfort in art growing up because it was the medium through which I understood myself, so now making art even when I’m not an art major or a studio artist, it just feels good.”
When asked what their future plans were for Craft Crazy, Corbett said that the club will continue to focus on its weekly meetings, but hopes to be able to put on a Christmas party later in the semester. For now, Craft Club meets every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m in MUB Room 164.
“[Craft Crazy is] doing something [that’s] kind and compassionate. It’s empathetic,” Kapoian said. “You’re making art and I think we all need to practice it a bit more in our daily lives.”