New Society Provides Creative Venue for Wesleyan Staff

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The Wesleyan Society for the Preservation of Domestic Technology held its first meeting Jan. 6 in Usdan University Center. At left, Joanne Rafferty, associate director of operations, crochets a scarf. She learned to crochet by watching a video tutorial online.

A group of Wesleyan staff members is forming a “close-knit” community over crocheting and crafts.

Bulaong Ramiz, assistant director of student activities and leadership development, learned how to knit in high school and was recently taught how to crochet by her friend and colleague Allie Grella. “I’m working on my first ever headband to keep my ears warm during these chilly months,” she said.

Bulaong Ramiz, assistant director of student activities and leadership development, learned how to knit in high school and was recently taught how to crochet by her friend and colleague Allie Grella. “I’m working on my first ever headband to keep my ears warm during these chilly months,” she said.

Dubbed the Wesleyan Society for the Preservation of Domestic Technology, the group held its first meeting Jan. 6 in Usdan University Center. Participants gathered for one hour for crafting and camaraderie.

“You provide your own lunch and supplies, and we provide an environment fostering whimsy, creativity and technical facility in the traditional craft arts,” said group creator Nate Lerner, director of university events and scheduling. “All campus crafters are welcome!”

Lerner brought a cross-stitch project to the gathering.

“This is a scene from the Miyazaki film My Neighbor Totoro,” he said, stitching an umbrella. “It’s one of my wife’s favorite movies (Rachel Lerner ’06), and I’m making it for her office. I don’t have any other portable craft skills, so I plan on continuing to bring cross stitch projects to the meetings.”

Joanne Rafferty, associate director of operations, learned how to crochet last week by watching a video on YouTube.

“My mom used to crochet all the time when I was a kid and I always wanted to learn. My mom now lives with me so I thought I could help get her back into it and we could crochet together,” she said.

Kathleen Roberts, assistant director of university events and scheduling, learned to crochet only two months ago. But during this short time, she became crafty enough to create hats, scarves and other knitted apparel for her family and friends. During the Jan. 6 gathering she worked on a scarf with a bobble stitch.

“I sent two of two of my first scarves to Ireland this year,” she said. “They made great Christmas gifts!”

The group is open to all Wesleyan employees. The society will meet from noon to 1 p.m. every Wednesday in the Hicks Meeting Room, Usdan 136.

View additional photos of the group’s first gathering below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Nate Lerner works on his third cross stitch project.

Nate Lerner, director of university events and scheduling, works on his third cross stitch project.

Allie Grella, assistant director of events and scheduling, knits a cowl neck scarf to sell in her Etsy shop. She's been crocheting for two years. "Now that I have taught myself a thing or two I really love teaching others how to crochet as well."

Allie Grella, assistant director of events and scheduling, knits a cowl neck scarf to sell in her Etsy shop. She’s been crocheting for two years. “Now that I have taught myself a thing or two I really love teaching others how to crochet as well.”

Joy Vodak, associate director of the Office of Academic Affairs, worked on a cross-stitch of a colonial house and tree.

Joy Vodak, associate director of the Office of Academic Affairs, worked on a cross-stitch of a colonial house and tree.

Laura Patey, associate dean of student academic resources, works on a Kumihimo braided bracelet. Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese craft that has recently seen an upsurge in interest in the U.S. “One of my sisters taught me how to make simple bracelets and necklaces this past summer. I have been busy crafting and making more intricate gifts for family and friends ever since.” she said.

Laura Patey, associate dean of student academic resources, works on a Kumihimo braided bracelet. Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese craft that has recently seen an upsurge in interest in the U.S. “One of my sisters taught me how to make simple bracelets and necklaces this past summer. I have been busy crafting and making more intricate gifts for family and friends ever since,” she said.

Laura Patey begins a new Kumihimo braided bracelet.

Laura Patey begins a new Kumihimo braided bracelet.

Any Wesleyan employee with an interest in craft-making is welcome to join the group.

Any Wesleyan employee with an interest in craft-making is welcome to join the Society for the Preservation of Domestic Technology.

Amy Alfano, administrative assistant for Residential Life, tests out her latest crochet project.

Amy Alfano, administrative assistant for Residential Life, tests out her latest crochet project.

Michelle Myers-Brown, director of Usdan University Center, makes a snow hat for her daughter, Megan. Her mother-in-law, who has since passed away, taught her how to knit.

Michelle Myers-Brown, director of Usdan University Center, makes a snow hat for her daughter, Megan. Her mother-in-law, who has since passed away, taught her how to knit.