In Paekakariki near Wellington, Shelley, Helen, Carmen and Jackie block out their diaries every Tuesday for their Little Gems session – inspiration, craftiness, hot cups of tea and Tim Tams.
The Little Gems are:
Shelley Gardner, soheartfelt: a South African who has only been here a year but loving it!
Helen Heath, showyourwork: crafter, writer, reader, blogger, mother, lover (of chocolate).
Carmen Slater, rosieposie: painter, crafter, book maker, grain farmerâ€™s daughter.
Jackie Haddow: lover of beads â€“ anything sparkly, vintage button collector. Moved from England 18 months ago, where I used to do various crafts (Paper Mache, glass painting).
How did you all meet?
Paekakariki is a small village and it didnâ€™t take us long to sniff out the fellow crafters!
Were your crafting sessions an organised thing from the beginning, or did the idea evolve?
Shelley: For me it started with the website Etsy. I loved the concept of a global crafting community. I also found many inspiring blogs which made me feel that there were many like minded people out there. When I discovered friends who got equally excited about op shops, vintage things, paper, glue and any other crafty widgit it made sense to “share the love” on a regular basis. It all started getting ready for the Paekakariki School fair so we decided to meet regularly. Before we knew it – we had signed up for a couple of tables at various crafting events.
What do the Little Gems sessions mean to you?
It’s a safe place for growing confidence, trust, inspiration, self expression, self worth and most importantly – having a good laugh.
Shelley: I remember walking into Helen’s house for the first time for our first get together and thinking “this is me – these are things I love – we speak the same language”. It meant a lot to me, especially coming from a different country with a very different culture.
Helen: Itâ€™s so great to be able to bounce ideas around the table over a hot cuppa and support each other through our craft doubts.
Carmen: Once my children went off to school I found the time to be more creative and hanging out with The Little Gems set me off on new craft path.
Jackie: I find it very inspiring, it gives me more confidence to explore all the crafty things I used to love when I was younger.
Do your meetings follow any kind of structure or are they informal?
The most important structural element is that there has to be a packet of Tim Tams.
Between the four of you, what crafts do you cover?
We are game for anything, on any given session there is: sewing, paper craft, bookmaking, jewellery, writing, baking. Weâ€™re always up for skill swappingâ€¦
I’m interested in hearing more about crafty groups around the country – if you and your crafty friends have regular get-togethers, write and tell me about it. Or if you’re interested in setting up crafting sessions, maybe there’s someone else on Felt who lives in your area. Post a comment below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.