“It’s always rewarding when a student who comes in really nervous, or who comes in describing themselves as “not crafty,” discovers a new skill and accomplishes something they never thought they could.”
You don’t need to have a masters or degree to get started on crafting! With some patience and a great teacher, you will find yourself working on your next craftpiece in no time. In this week’s Host Spotlight, meet Elizabeth, a dedicated crafter with the ability to bring out the best in her students even if they were completely new to crafting.
Hi Elizabeth, can you introduce yourself and tell us about the classes that you offer through Verlocal?
Hi! I teach small classes in knitting, crochet, sewing, cross-stitch, macramé, and other crafts. I’m also the proprietor of an Etsy shop, ZombieCat Crafts.
When did you first become interested/passionate in crafts & DIY?
I’ve always been a crafter. I learned to knit and crochet only about three years ago, though, and I quickly became very passionate about those particular crafts. I think it helps me as a teacher that I was a beginner not so long ago. I remember what it felt like for me to be awkward, to make mistakes, but also the satisfaction of learning challenging new things. I learned to knit and crochet from a friend who taught me with infinite patience, kindness, and positivity, and I teach my students in the same way.
Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
I graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2011, but practicing law proved disappointing. I was doing contract work for several small law firms and filled my free time with crafting. A friend (Verlocal host Carol Johnstone) encouraged me to start teaching classes, and I started my own business, You’re Crafty! Craft and DIY Classes, in 2015.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
Crafting together creates community. Think of old-fashioned quilting bees or knitting circles. I think that women creating together are especially powerful in this political climate. For example, I’m currently participating in the Pussyhat Project (pussyhatproject.com). The goals of this project are to provide attendees at the Women’s March on Washington, DC, on January 21st (and sister marches around the country, including in San Francisco and Oakland) with a means to make a collective visual statement, to provide people who cannot physically attend the March with a way to represent themselves and support women’s rights, and from a practical standpoint, to provide marchers with a warm hat on a cold winter day.
All you have to do is knit, crochet, or sew a pink hat with kitty ears (a pussyhat, get it?) to either wear yourself or send to a designated marcher. This project has united crafters (mostly women) all over the world to use crafting as a statement of solidarity and protest.
How long have you been living in the Bay Area? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I’ve lived in the Bay Area since 1992 (with a brief hiatus in Charlottesville, VA from 1994-1996, while getting an MFA in Fiction Writing at the University of Virginia, followed by a year as a pastry chef in Washington, DC).
There’s no need to ever be bored in the Bay Area! It’s one of the most interesting places in the world, with so much history and culture. If you’re having trouble meeting people, take a class, join a group, find people with shared interests, and you’ll soon feel right at home.
Tell us about the favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your students when you were teaching your classes.
It’s always rewarding when a student who comes in really nervous, or who comes in describing themselves as “not crafty,” discovers a new skill and accomplishes something they never thought they could.
What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?
My crocheted versions of zombies from The Walking Dead. I love dressing as a zombie and performing Thriller every October with Bay Area Flash Mob, so zombies are a favorite cultural theme of mine. I liked the idea of combining crochet — something traditionally “feminine” and physically soft, cute and cuddly – with elements of horror and gore.
What are your goals for the future?
To fill all my classes and to expand my class offerings to the East Bay.
Any recommendations for someone who wants to pursue their passion for a career?
Don’t. Just kidding. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s very fulfilling.
What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal allows me to reach a far wider audience for my classes than I could ever hope to on my own.
From 1/27 to 2/3, comment under this post and share with us: Who would you give your first piece of craft to?
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