Fiber Arts Club — learn, laugh and crochet

Courtesy of Abby Panzica

If you’re on the quad on a Thursday afternoon, odds are you will see members of the Fiber Arts Club chatting and working away at their latest creations. Abby Panzica (junior), Jay Shrestha (junior) and Eliza Kirk* (junior) formed the club in Spring 2022 as a space for Occidental students to come together and practice fiber arts such as crocheting and knitting. Since its founding, the club has grown exponentially.

According to Kirk, the vice president of the club, fiber arts includes a range of materials. She said that any sort of fiber is welcome to be explored during meetings.

“Fiber Arts Club is a club for Oxy students who do any sort of fiber art. What we mean by that is mostly things that involve strings or fibers. So, crocheting, knitting, weaving or embroidery. We have some people who make friendship bracelets. So really anything,” Kirk said.

The club was formed last spring after club president Panzica came to Kirk and club Treasurer Shrestha with the idea. According to Kirk, the group was very passionate about fiber arts and was excited to create a community for Occidental students to work on projects together.

“Abby had the idea for the club. She’s super into all sorts of fiber arts, and she really wanted to create a space for other Oxy students to come together and crochet because it’s more fun if you have other people there to talk to and work with,” Kirk said. “So she reached out to me and Jay. And yeah, we all kind of went in together on it.”

Shrestha said that it has been very fulfilling to form and lead the Fiber Arts Club, as the group has built a close community brought together by the arts.

“I didn’t know how just filling out a couple of papers and saying you’re a club can bring together such a large group of people who all really want to connect about something,” Shrestha said.

According to Kirk, the environment of meetings is very relaxed, allowing for people to bond over their projects and learn new things.

“We all kind of sit around in a circle and introduce ourselves, because oftentimes there are new members, and we want to make sure everyone feels included,” Kirk said. “Lots of people like to help each other. So if someone knows how to do one thing, and another person’s like, ‘Oh, I’d love to learn how to do that.’ People really jump in and teach each other, which is really nice. It’s all very casual.”

Panzica said that Fiber Arts Club is great for anyone who is interested in fiber arts or just wants a space to hang out.

“It’s for new people and people who are more experienced to come together and share their knowledge and tips,” Panzica said. “But it’s also just a place to hang out, just to talk and vibe.”

Courtesy of Abby Panzica

According to Panzica, coming to meetings with no experience is not a problem as members such as Panzica and Shrestha teach skills like knitting and crocheting.

“Part of the reason I wanted to start the club was to teach people, because there was so much demand for it. Usually, at every club meeting there’s new people that want to learn, and so we teach them,” Panzica said.

Shrestha said that teaching is very enjoyable for him, as he likes showing people how to crochet or knit.

“I think a lot of people will think it’s harder than it is. So it’s really fun to just show people that once you have one stitch down you basically know what you need to know.” Shresta said.

Kirk said that the group is very supportive of each other’s work, and said that people will often bring in their projects to show the group.

“A lot of times, people will come with things that they’re almost done with or they’ve already finished, just to kind of show it off, and everyone is always in awe and congratulatory toward these beautiful finished projects,” Kirk said. “It’s really impressive the things that people can do. So it’s cool having that space where people can get applauded for the things that they’re doing.”

Panzica described the group dynamic as silly, and said that people are always making jokes or laughing. She also said that this dynamic perfectly encapsulates why the group is known as FARTS club.

“I think that’s kind of the whole vibe, it’s just funny. Like, it’s all a joke and it’s not serious. It’s just people hanging out, I guess,” Panzica said.

Kirk expanded on this topic, and said that the nickname was created to help welcome in new members and make them feel comfortable.

“We call it FARTS club to kind of break the ice, it’s a fun and casual thing. So if you do come, just know that yeah, we’re gonna be silly. And we’re gonna be really laid back,” Kirk said.

*Eliza Kirk is a staff writer for The Occidental.

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