JSS CRAFT CLUB BRINGS GREAT JOY
By Sachiko Hata Pereklita, Craft Club Coordinator
If you are a JSS member I am sure you’ve heard of or been to our Craft Club. In 2009 I was given the opportunity to teach Etegami (picture letters) for the first time at this club. I had just retired from full-time work after immigrating to Toronto. I enjoyed staying home as a wife without a job for the first time ever in my life and I felt like volunteering. This was always my desire. While looking into volunteer opportunities in Toronto I visited JSS.
The need for an organization such as JSS became abundantly clear to me while participating in the Craft Club or the Konnichiwa program. I was asked by the director of the board at that time to teach Etegami and I immediately agreed. After my excitement in preparing to teach the class, I was disappointed to see fewer club participants than I expected. Other craft clubs in which I participated at that time were also extremely small. Why weren’t there more people in these clubs? At that time the renovation on the 2nd floor at JCCC had already been completed. Due to the conditions of use of the JCCC facility having been revised, the Club could not provide childcare services to parents with young children even though they wanted to participate in the Craft Club. As a result the club lost participants rapidly. The instructors were volunteers, almost all of the materials were donated and the room for the Club was provided by JCCC so it was not a question of money. In any case, I could not believe that there were so few participants. It did not make any sense considering the good conditions. I thought the instructors would be much happier if there were more participants so I became motivated to generate publicity at the office every time there was a Craft Club session. I was then asked to become a coordinator and once again I immediately agreed (perhaps a bit of an overstatement) and here I am.
We added photos to our flyers, we thought really hard about titles and headlines and we tried to make our amateur flyers look professional. We did all sorts of things to make the craft works look appealing. We also looked for new instructors and asked experienced instructors to teach new craft works. (I am grateful to the instructors for doing me a big favour.) I tried my best to provide a wide variety of craft works. I used to make colour photocopies at home and bring them over to the JCCC because there wasn’t a color photocopier at the office. Thankfully since last year one became available at the office. In addition, I have a companion who posts fliers to advertising media and has the office send our information to members. For this reason the number of participants is gradually increasing despite ups and downs. Now the Craft Club is lively with lots of smiles.
Two years ago, we succeeded in stabilizing the number of participants by making an agreement with the individuals to donate their completed craft works to JSS to sell and in turn waiving the class fee.
However the number of participants is now on a declining trend. It is very difficult to continue to develop new ideas for works to prevent the Club from getting into a rut. However, I have to come up with a strategy to encourage people who left the knitting club or Hawaiian quilt club to return. We also need to attract new participants. As I am writing this article I am happy to say once again that I am motivated to coordinate the “Craft Club that brings great joy” which suites for the JSS in every respect. It gives us the chance of sharing with each other the things we love doing in a way that is fun. I look forward to cooperating with instructors, more closely in determining their needs and helping to keep up with the latest trends.
I wish to thank everyone for your continuous support of this Craft Club, and please make a point of participating in our Craft Club if you have not already done so.