Eli Winkelman is the founder of CRAFT, and our neighbor at Artpost. She opened CRAFT in 2013 as a place where anyone – from crafting hoarders to rookies – could make a mess and create. CRAFT is a walk-in studio – they provide the tools and materials, all you have to do is show up during their hours with some creativity and inspiration!
Where is your happy place?
Honestly, the studio, late at night! I’m a night owl and really get going around 10 pm, so to be there in the quiet when I’m alone and can get in the zone is pretty great!
What do you love getting your hands on?
People bring us bags of craft materials that they don’t want, classic art supplies like paint and weird old stuff that can be used creatively. We joke (half-joke?) that we hoard so you don’t have to! Those bags are sometimes fun and sometimes stressful to go through. They’re always something. They’re fun because we might come across art supplies that we haven’t used before, and other times the weird old stuff that people give us is really cool! We recently got a collection of hundreds of slides from travels in Europe in the 70s. But that can also be stressful because it feels like we have to look at every single slide in case there’s a treasure in there!
Okay, that was definitely more complicated than simply what I love getting my hands on. Glitter? Obviously! New rubber stamps are always fun, and our collection is so big that I often “discover” stamps in the studio that I’ve never seen before.
Old books can be fun, like looking up ‘computer’ in an encyclopedia from the 70s.
Tell us about the last time you were inspired, and then acted on it.
I don’t have any formal training in art, and I’ve been inspired to learn more so I’m currently reading a book called Heroes and Heretics about “How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World.” People often think I craft all day, but I actually don’t do much crafting. I do have a window seat that I built at home, and I had some guests (a couple) who both wanted to sleep on it (versus one of them on the couch)! So I recently added a fold out part that makes the window seat twice as big so it can fit two people sleeping, for when they come back to town! Oooooh, also, we had to make a sign for the bathrooms, so I made one that says “bathrooms for all,” inspired by the bullshit that’s been happening in our State Capitol.
If you were an element, which one would you be and why?
As in, earth, wind, fire, water? Or the periodic table of elements? If we’re going with the periodic table, I’d probably say gold, because it’s shiny and the only one whose abbreviation I can tell you off the top of my head! If we’re going with the astrological options, earth, because there’s so much within it, including gold! 😉
What makes a place special to you?
This might sound superficial, but beauty — and that can be found in the tiniest thing, like a leaf. We need “bread and roses,” physical sustenance and emotional/mental/spiritual sustenance. Think about how you feel in a lovely place versus a school that was built in the 80s. It really makes a difference.
Describe a great time in three words.
laughter, energy, light