The sewing circle is an age old activity wherein women have gotten together to gossip, create, cook, nurture themselves and lift the spirits of those they love through art, through food, through home.
Cut to the present, to a crop of hip, funky, modern women, young beyond our years, filled with life, serving our upwardly mobile jobs dutifully. We devote ourselves tirelessly to our loved ones, families and friends. But while we have to go out to earn the bacon nowadays, we still want to be able to slice it traditionally and serve it up with a side of craft. It’s a brave new world filled with Snax (spelled with an “x” because they’re x-tremely healthy, and let’s face it – it’s edgier), Sangria Sippin’ and Porch Sittin’, and most importantly, the reason for it all, to craft, share, and maybe even bitch a little.
Bitchcraft was founded three years ago by me, Janelle, and Taryn (who I knew I immediately loved when she popped her head sideways into my doorway one day and exclaimed “Hi I’m Taryn, you want a cupcake?”) We both work at Warner Bros. by day. We both have responsible, important jobs, but we were looking for a creative outlet and longed to share and expand our love for crafts and all things handmade. We had ideas bouncing around in our heads that we wanted to create and respectively had so many unfinished projects that languished, untouched that it was shameful. We had skills dating back to 8th grade home economics class and what the heck were we going to do with them? Realizing that we had a shared problem, and that several other women shared it too, we formed Bitchcraft, a weekly sewing circle that is anything but old fashioned.
More akin to little black dress than house dress, once a week we get together for some Sangria Sippin’ and Porch Sittin’, crafting-palooza, with a soundtrack typically provided by Rage Against the Machine. We are not a Perry Como sort of crafting crowd, sitting around with bridge mix and boredom. You’re thinking of your grandmother. ‘Tis a pity too cuz I heard Nana jams out to Nine Inch Nails, when you’re not around.
The only thing that makes us even remotely like those old time coffee klatches is that we’re still gossiping. What would a coffee klatch be without some yentas? Not as much fun, I say! So we get together, we drink wine, eat Snax, and make beautiful things, once a week for a few hours with our favorite bitches. It really doesn’t get better than that. Being productive, perhaps getting a lil’ drunk, and being with your best friends. I know it sounds too good to be true, and while Bitchcraft is magical, it’s also very real!
The core group includes me, co-founder Taryn, Xandy, Jenny and Scott and everyone brings something different to the craft table. Xandy sews, needlepoints, knits, has painted and decoupaged, made dolls, and even whipped up pajamas. Taryn has a passion for repurposing old clothes to make them into something new and fashion forward, Upcycling, if you will, and always with an eco-friendly spin. Our dear Jenny can do it all. She sews, paints, makes jewelry and is currently making a line of lovely clutches, purses, sacks n’ satchels. Scott is an artist, a painter, a sculptor, and our token boy. Me, I like to look at things a different way, make old things new again. I paint, sew, and am frequently combing Craig’s List or the trash to find anything I can turn into something better…one man’s trash they say…While the core group remains the same, there many other rad chicks that participate, including Kristy, Lauren, Marina, and some new gals, Toni, Jen and Francesca.
We’re all artists, we’re all friends, we’re all equals even though we’re not working on a communal project, which we sometimes do, but it’s not like a 2-drink minimum, it’s not required. It’s really more like a yoga class or a book club, only our main stretching activity is to reach the organic guacamole and the only reading we’re doing is on book pages we’re painting. But we are still growing, learning and coming together to expand our talents, share our abilities and have fun while doing it. We inspire each other, we teach each other new skills, and we are always taking on crafty new projects. Bitchcraft is our once weekly date, to laugh, to share, to support and be supported, to love and be loved, and most importantly to make amazingly beautiful creations.
Why we come back to Bitchcraft week after week, apart from the obvious Sangria Sippin’ and Porch Sittin’, gossip, Snax and crafts, is because we are like minded traditionalists, wrapped up in cutting edge ribbon. We all have a passion for the arts, for cooking, for home spun female activities. We are “jacks-of-all-creative-trades”. It’s just the stuff we make isn’t doilies and greeting cards and most if it goes up for sale on our Etsy stores when we’re done.
Xandy makes “Dirty Clean-Ups”, nudie pin-up girl dishtowels with French Knot nipples. I have a line of “Beaver Bloomers”, adorable thongs and panties and tank tops that are just a wee bit scandalous, in a good way. Xandy’s “Dirty Clean-Ups” and my “Beaver Bloomers” are sponsors of the “Sex, Stand Up & Rock n’ Roll Show” here in Hollywood hosted by Phil Varone. “Beaver Bloomers” were also featured on Mtv 3’s “Karlifornia” and various celebrities around town are sportin’ bloomers under their trendy garb. Taryn is currently bouncing around Hollywood with her “EcoDiva” TV show. Scott sculpts horror film creatures for modeling and moulding. While we all have Etsy shops, Jenny has created a lucrative business with her handbag line currently on Etsy.
Regardless of our projects, our one commitment is to each other. We are devoted to helping each other achieve our creative, artistic, entrepreneurial goals. We pitch in on each others’ projects as needed. We comfort, console, and cohort. And the best part is, honestly, the Sangria Sippin’ and the Porch Sittin’, because those two things make for an excellent evening of being creative. Or at least provide the lubricant we need to get moving down that slide.
So, if you’re lonely on a Tuesday, feel sorry that you only knitted one sweater sleeve and then ditched it for a “Mad Men” marathon and then never picked it up again, you need Bitchcraft. The main ingredients for success: talented artists and good friends, a nice bottle of wine, healthy snacks, and devotion to making this time YOUR time, every week. This week, we’ve decided on a group project. We’re working on the hangover cure for too much Sangria Sippin’. We’ve got to start by drinking the Sangria, so, we’ll let you know how that works out from the porch. Um, who has the corkscrew?!
Meet the core group: