Every Saturday night from 7:30 to midnight, Mad4U hosts Craft Night in the Clubhouse, located in Madison Union. And every Saturday night since October, Kimberly LaVacca, freshman communication science and disorders major and her roommate Chelsey Nader, freshman biophysical chemistry major have been in the Clubhouse crafting away their Saturday nights. Chelsey, from Long Island, New York, was awarded a chemistry scholarship to come to JMU and it was here that she met her North Carolina native roommate and now best friend, Kimberly LaVacca.
They both live in the Hillside dorms and had the usual first year culture shock from the distinct difference between high school and college, with the added stress of being so far from home.
As most first years at JMU quickly discover, most of the late night entertainment that they know about at JMU from Thursday to Sunday is pretty minimal apart from of course the ever faithful Netflix tab. Chelsey and Kimberly began the semester by having movie nights during the weekends with the girls in their hall who chose not to go out to look elsewhere for weekend fun, but as the number of participants in their movie nights dwindled they began to look for other Saturday night plans. One thing led to another and they were both introduced to Mad4U’s Craft Night by one of their hall mates.
“We had a friend who told us that she and her friend were going and asked us if we wanted to come,” says Kimberly. “And we said yes and we’ve been going ever since.”
Now Chelsey and Kimberly craft their own safe space Saturday nights in the Madison Union Clubhouse. The girls agreed that having a space where the materials to craft are for free, readily available is another big draw to keep coming to craft night, on top of the fun Saturday night standing plans. The Clubhouse in Madison Union is a large room with several long tables to allow for a little elbow room for attending students to craft in. Mad4U provides everything from paint to bead work materials for their mostly free-for-all craft nights. A few times a semester they bring in an outside artist to lead attendees through a craft.Though the two girls agree with why they attend craft night, both have varying interests in what they craft.
Chelsey said that she finds inspiration from her Netflix shows, “I usually do stuff from TV shows I watch. I watch a lot of sitcoms so I do their logos, and I do a lot of things from music artists I like. My favorite piece is a skyline of New York that I did because, you know, I’m from New York.”
Kimberly also finds inspiration from a different genre of beloved TV shows, “I usually do work based on the animes that I watch. I either cut things out from paper and layer them together or I paint. My favorite piece is a painting based on character from “Tokyo Ghoul,” a show that I really like.”
Both Chelsey and Kimberly agree that the best part of Craft Night is having a space where they can be together, but also have a quiet few hours where they can de-stress and make some awesome dorm decor. With ever increasing stress on high performance academically and socially in college and it can be hard to find a time and place to chill out and spend some time with yourself.
“Craft night lets me make art for my walls, and putting it up…it makes me…it reminds me of home,” says Kimberly. “I mean obviously it’s not the same thing as my walls at home, but it helps.”
Chelsey and Kimberly are the consistent stars of craft night. They are two girls who are creating their very own place at JMU together, and they hope that others will attempt to do the same. Maybe not with craft night, as painting and bead work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but with other fun activities that JMU’s organizations offer.
“You have to make it, you know, a safe space for yourself,” concludes Chelsey.