Three middle-aged women stood around a worktable in Home Made Craft Shop and Studio in Middle Township swooning over a swatch of blue fabric while sharing sewing stories.
Lily Hueller, a Coast Guard wife and a stay-at-home mom from Ocean View, said she stumbled on the studio a few months ago when she was looking for a place to buy some yarn. Home Made has since become her home away from home.
“If I’m bored or feeling lonely, I’ll take a ride over to just look around or get some inspiration for my next project,” Hueller said. “It’s my happy place.”
The others echoed a similar sentiment.
“I’m in here every week,” said Tammy Davis, of Upper Township, as she flipped through a book of project ideas. “When you make something for someone and give it to them, they know it’s not just a pair of socks or a scarf. It’s a labor of love.”
There has been a resurgence in do-it-yourself crafting among younger adults during the past decade, coined the “makers movement.” It is propelled by art-minded entrepreneurs, such as 30-some-year-old Julie Petrella, the owner of Home Made, and Brittany Czekai, 30, of Ventnor, who owns of a similar art studio, Anchor Arts in Margate.
Likewise, the Noyes Studios in Hammonton held a series BYOB beginner painting classes for adults during the summer, called Canvas Uncorked, and the Stockton Center on Successful Aging is sponsoring a yearlong series of craft workshops for older adults at the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College in Oceanview.
Unlike people of the past who crafted mostly out of necessity, today’s adults are crafting as more of a hobby and an artform.
“There’s something satisfying and grounding about making something yourself, and there’s a lot of self-confidence to be built out of it,” Petrella said.
Her goal in opening her business was to create a haven for DIY crafters, which she has. Home Made offers workshops in sewing, crocheting and upcycling projects at all skill levels, from the beginner to the Martha Stewarts and the supermoms, and it carries brand name fabrics, yarns and other crafting tools.
Anchor Arts hosts similar art classes for adults, including canvas-painting workshops that are marketed as an alternative night out.
“People bring snacks and drinks and make a night of it instead of going to the bar,” said Czekai, who has a degree in art from Temple University in Philadelphia. “You don’t have to have a certain level of skill or to be a kid to play with paint.”
Davis said knitting is no longer looked at as a grandmother hobby. Her 19-year-old daughter now knits.
“It’s cool to craft,” she said.
Contact Elisa Lala:
@ElisaLala on Twitter