Personal, Reviews

Lame Fresher Diaries: Craft Club @ Lakeside Arts Centre

It’s the end of the third week and, erratic eating habits aside, I’ve sort of unearthed the rhythm to uni life. Getting to all the important places (Library, Mooch, every food outlet, pool to swim off the post-cake guilt infestation) is absolute child’s play to this lame week-three fresher, so it’s time I started getting properly involved/stuck in/fingers in pies. Not curled up under my quilt, trying to master Middle English and spooning most of a Nutella jar into my gob at 1am.

So, when Alice revealed free tickets to craft club with the potential for contributing an informal web article about the experience, I opted in so that a) I would finally stop putting off writing, b) it was free c) there is a cafe at Lakeside Arts Centre. A remarkable cafe, I hasten to add, boasting a wealth of exquisite scrumptiousness – including the biggest, most current-packed scones conceivable.


Although name of the event evoked the image of dozens of unruly youngsters scampering around minimal floor space smothered in glitter and glue, we were assured that adults regularly attend this event and have a jolly good time of it. The subtext of this was in fact that the adults who come along are parents, and are accompanied by their actual children. Register signing was hence pretty surreal, since it requested we write the name of our son/daughter next to our own. Having only just entered the world of adulthood, we were all of a sudden back in that awkward age category which doesn’t quite fit the context in which it suddenly finds itself.

After pausing to take in the bizarre yet idyllic scene of serene, completely adorable parent/child harmony unfolding before our eyes, we headed over to the gallimaufry of various materials to scout the best fabrics and well and truly stuck in. As it happens, arts and crafts are still just as totally rad and awesome as when you were about seven. Setting the bar pretty high, we become utterly absorbed in fashioning an owl door stop out of various scraps of fabric. Here are the fruits of our labour:


(from left to right) My owl, Hector, and Alice’s, as yet un-named

Not especially owl-y, as you can see. Much less an effective doorstop; poor fabric choice/puny size made our owls ill equipped to wedge open a stonking great door – we gave up on that notion fairly quickly, stuffed them with cotton wool and labelled them desk mascots.

The making process, aside from proving that I am just as unable to handle a needle and thread as I was in KS4 textiles, was actually pretty therapeutic. Absorption in the in the making process alongside casual chitchat and some rather delicious tomato soup made for a totally chilled out, friendly atmosphere. The craft guru who was running the activity was an absolute saint, advising me on various types of stitching and assuring me that that Hector, contrary to my despairing opinion, was a fine specimen of an owl.

It was as if some sort of unwritten social law was in place: if you are sat in a room employed in a crafty activity and a complete stranger is doing likewise, whimsical conversation is entirely acceptable and not even awkward at all. It was so refreshing to share easy conversation with people I otherwise would never have encountered, and to be doing something that was totally alien from my degree – it was lovely to feel as though I was doing something worthwhile productive and, yet there was no pressure on me for it to be exactly right, and I didn’t have to cite the designer and distributor of the fabric I was using.

All in all, a highly chilled and pleasant experience. I have jested, but I really don’t think I could have anything better to do on a Saturday morning. And mark my words about the scones – there are raisins in there the size of your fist. It’s got to be seen to be believed.


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