First CraftNight of the Year! January 4th, 2017

January 04

TONIGHT! Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 from 9pm until midnight (or later) it’s CRAFTNIGHT!!!
Project: TBD
$3 Donation Please 
$4 Drink specials! Akbar: The way and the life and the truth!   

It’s a TBD craft tonight, because I’m going craft supply hunting after I finish writing this!

I’m not gonna lie, January 4th is a rough day for me, it’s the 10th anniversary of the murder/death of one of my best friends ever: Helen Hill. The day she died, in such an abrupt and brutal way, well it pretty much instantly removed my soul and my sanity for a year and a half, shattering all of my known regulatory abilities to maintain any sense of normalcy that I’d once understood. I have never been the same.

Helen loved CraftNight. Whenever she visited town, she’d try to come to it and take part in the crafting. She was generous, fearless, and a big fan of “together art.” This compelled me to not cancel CraftNight the week of her death, even though I could barely function. And I’m glad I did it, because even though I felt the most crushed and frail and vulnerable, people came to me. We were together, doing and making art… even in a perfunctory numb sense, even though no one had any words, we had crafts. This was community, and it is why CraftNight is very much still happening, and now in it’s 15th year.

Before, CraftNight had always been there for others, but now I needed it more than ever.

The power of CraftNight is it’s constancy, it’s a light in the dark, it’s art in a world where people think that art and connection is unimportant, eschewed, forgotten, and lost. I share myself with you every week, reaching out even on days when I want to retreat, because I am committed to my life’s work: Making art, and getting you to make art also. Just when I feel like I can’t do it, you are there to do it with me, and I am restored.

Over the years, CraftNight has lost more than one Crafter. Tonight, we will have a candle lit for those we love and miss who used to sit with us at the Craft Table. In December of 2016, we lost Mel Ba, who was so goddamn sweet and tiny and awesome and arty! She would come on in and sit down and craft like there was no tomorrow. The last time I saw her, she was ailing big time, and said so as much, but after she hugged me, she walked right past me and reached for the supplies, because gurrrl, she had crafting to do.

I don’t like to be on display when I am vulnerable and thinky. But I also don’t believe in keeping grief shrouded, I prefer to stay lucid, to confront the excruciating and uncomfortable feelings as best as I can. Making a commitment to share this with you is part of what has opened my eyes and further honed my beliefs in arts and letters and love: we need each other.

Helen’s films can be viewed here, May I recommend “Scratch and Crow” for today’s cloudy day, a meditation of sorts, poetry and animation, not shy, ever endearing, forever brave. I will always have the joy, laughter and lessons Helen and I  learned together, and the things she taught me. Speaking of which:

In 2017, prepare to make more trouble, it’s CraftNight’s new year’s resolution. We will be using our voices, our puffballs, paint and glitter and glue to take action. We shall be visible, we shall be outspoken, and ready to help California fight the coming administration on climate change, immigration, healthcare, LGBT issues and more.

See you at the Craft Table,

JP Craft Captain

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