Contagious Craft is a regular craft group in Red Hill, Papakura, that has been meeting since March 2019. The group coordinator, Jan, tells us how the group came about and what they have been up to, even in Covid lockdown in 2021.
“Redhill Community Centre runs a mainly music programme, which I am also involved in running. One day a couple of the mums who come along to that were chatting about what they could do to have some ‘me time’ one night a week. That discussion soon led to the idea of a craft group open to anyone in the community to come along and work on a project of their own choosing,” says Jan.
The Contagious Craft group, as it is now known, meets at Redhill Community Centre for a couple of hours or so each Wednesday and Thursday evening. There is no membership fee and no need to register. Some people come to both nights, and others just the one. Everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender or ability.
“It is more than a craft group: it is a release for everyone, and some people just come for the company,” says Jan. “Most members are women in their 20s to 70s, but we have one man who regularly comes both nights and knits.”
Wide range of crafts
The range of crafts is as varied as the members: knitting, sewing, cardmaking, scrapbooking, cross stitch, diamond painting, quilling, adult colouring, shell craft, paper flowers, loom bands, collating digital photographs, and darning kids’ clothing are some crafts that have been tackled in the past.
“The centre has lots of space and tables, so people can spread out. Tea and coffee are provided for a gold coin donation, and there is often supper too. We have two donated sewing machines, as well as wool, card making and other materials on site for everyone to use.
“Learning a new craft is not a problem as most of the group are able to assist. We are able to use people from Sustainable Papakura to help teach as well. If any of them can’t help, we will try and find someone who can.”
Jan says future plans include having a specific night or day workshop focusing on one craft, possibly card making to start with. These sessions would be advertised in the community and have an attendance limit, with a small cost to cover expenses. And in a nod to the group’s social side, other get-togethers like movie or games nights or picnics are also in view.
“The benefits of the group are for people to get out of their house, chat with others, do something they enjoy or try something new, and be able to do things they haven’t been able to do at home. They can relax, have a laugh and chill out,” says Jan.
“It would be nice to welcome more members, particularly those who live alone and don’t get out much. If they can’t drive and live in the vicinity, someone could pick them up, I’m sure.”
Covid lockdown meetings
Although the Covid lockdowns put face-to-face meetings on hold, Zoom meetings proved a huge success.
“Most last at least two-and-a- half hours!” says Jan. “It was nice to hear one person, who is on her own, working from home and who only gets out once a week for groceries, thank us with a tear in her eyes for the fun, laughter and talkative night. She said it was just what she needed. It had lifted her spirit and she could face work the next day in a better mood. And that’s what it’s all about.”