Unleash your creativity and make some new friends at Craft Club
Words: Charlotte Felters
I CAN’T DO IT! was my first thought when Doncopolitan asked me if I would like to write a piece about Craft Club. I had the same reaction when I read about Mamma Wheatley’s Craft Club back in December 2017, but here I am 6 months later, attending and writing about it.
Note to self, say yes to more things.
I originally became aware of Doncopolitan in 2015 at DNweekeND. I remember thinking then that it was more than just a magazine, it was a movement, a different way of thinking, and I wanted to be a part of it. Sometime after DNweekeND, I went to a photography class run by Shane Peagram where I briefly met the magazine’s founders, Rachel and Warren. After just one visit to Donco HQ, I was made to feel really welcome and even gifted a book and a gorgeous print by a local artist. Also, Warren very kindly used a photograph I took that night in an exhibition at the Notorious Aardvark record shop in Doncaster.
Life, work, low confidence and exceptionally low vitamin D meant that I had a long break from anything Doncopolitan related – until Craft Club, that is.
So, what is Craft Club? Apart from exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a group of lovely humans (and one dog) ranging from age nine, through millenials to quite a bit older, who all meet to craft, laugh and chat. Run by June, aka Mama Wheatley, we meet every Monday, 6.30pm – 8.30pm at the Doncopolitan HQ on Copley Road. It’s perfect for those who work all day. We only pay £5 per week and the money is put back into the group to pay for materials and snacks.
The number of crafters varies weekly, so there’s no pressure to come every week if you don’t feel like it. We make anything, from paper flowers to flowerpot men. I’ve even learned to knit, taught by a very patient Rose in an almost perfect (fully clothed) re-enactment of the pottery scene from Ghost. You can bring something of your own to work on or if, like me, you realise you’re not half as creative as you hoped, you can come mainly for the banter and biscuits.
Doncopolitan HQ itself is a really lovely space and it’s always nice to see which exhibition or artwork decorates the walls week-to-week. Most recent was the colourful work of local artist, Imogen, from her exhibition ‘Her World’.
For me, it just took a little bit of encouragement from cofounder, Rachel, to finally turn up. But, when I did, I was immediately welcomed into the group. You don’t need me to tell you the people of Doncaster are a good bunch and that shows in our craft club. If we’re not crafting then we’re laughing, dancing, having cuddles from Rufus (the dog) or being shown how it’s done from a very talented nine-year-old.
What’s also lovely is that, as the weeks have progressed, so has the nature of the group. We’ve had a couple of theatre trips and there’s even a faint mention of a #craftclubontour trip to Bali in 2019.
Of course, everyone has their own reasons for attending the group and equally everyone is welcome. Personally, mine is to try and make a small dent in the often disheartening and depressing cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat. I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. I just needed that little push.
So, if you’re reading this or you’ve heard about Mamma Wheatley’s Craft Club before and you think you might like to give it a go, then consider this your little push. We’d love to meet you.
Craft club is held every Monday 6.30 – 8.30 pm at Doncopolitan HQ, 83 Copley Road