Craft Center lets students relive summer camp with home kits

Homes have become de facto offices, gyms, classrooms, clubs and who knows what else since the start of the pandemic. And thanks to the UO Craft Center, they can now be summer camps, too.

Following the success of making free craft kits available to students over spring term, the center is extending a popular home crafts program through the summer.

“For the students who are in town for the summer, we want to reach them directly and give them something physically to do, to actually put their hands on something and make it,” said David Wagner, assistant program director at the Craft Center.

Each kit, which comes equipped with all the materials needed to create the craft project accompanied by either printed instructions or a link to a video, will be promoted weekly on Instagram and Facebook. UO students can pick up a kit on Wednesdays at a dispensary site at the Craft Center’s outdoor area located on the east side of the Erb Memorial Union.

“We’re going with the theme of Summer Camp, so to tie things together that way we’ll do some classic summery-type activities,” Wagner said. “Some of the more popular items we’ll be doing again and we have some new options as well.”

Students can sample a variety of crafts, including embroidery, which Wagner said has been the most popular kit; a simple book binding project; and, keeping with the Summer Camp theme, a macramé keychain, a groovy 1970s craft craze that is making a comeback in a big way. They will also offer a kit for making sidewalk chalk.

“We provide the materials for making it and they can make whatever colors they want,” he said. “It’s a fun way to try something a little bit different.”

Students are also encouraged to post their craft masterpieces to the Craft Center’s social media sites for all the world to see.

“We’ve had such great feedback on the kits and good interactions with people personally as they’re picking them up,” Wagner said. “Our goal is to keep students involved and make sure they know they are important to us even though we can’t necessarily be physically present.”

In addition to the free craft kits, the Craft Center, though still closed, offers live Zoom classes at reduced prices for students in ceramics, fiber arts, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting and drawing, and paper arts and printmaking, as well as a series of garage woodworking workshops using whatever small tools people have on hand.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications