The Craft Mafia
Church of Craft
ethos and the
BY GARETH BRAN W YN
What do you get when punk rock DIY to provide members with mutual support, inspira-meets Martha Stewart at a quilting tion, and information. Oh, and to have tons of fun. If
bee? Well, you might get something the success of the Austin Mafia is any indication,
like the Craft Mafia and the Church of Craft, two there is certainly success in numbers. ACM mem-fast-growing orgs dedicated to spreading the good ber Vicky Howell’s knitting show, Knitty Gritty, was
word on crafting. such a hit on the DIY Network in 2005 that it is now
The Austin-based Craft Mafia ( craftmafia.com) joined by three new shows hosted by ACM members:
began in 2003, originally out of an alliance of three Stylelicious, Craft Lab, and Uncommon Threads.
women who owned craft-related businesses. “We You might think that the Church of Craft
banded together to pool money to take out print ( churchofcraft.org) is another club name where
ads we couldn’t afford individually,” says ACM your tongue belongs firmly in your cheek when you
cofounder Jenny Hart. “We’d get together to write say it. Not so, says Church cofounder Rev. Trismegista
off drinks and talk shop, lay out our goals, and get Taylor. She’s an ordained interfaith minister who firmly
inspired and informed by each other. It started to believes in the redemptive powers of making stuff.
grow, so we decided to make it an official group “I’d been hearing the call to ministry for a few
based on the same principles of pooling resources, years. It began with a performance piece I did in
cross-promotion, and working together.” which I played The Reverend Miss Myrtle Motivation.
One might think that the mafioso name and play- I’d preach about the power of creation and how we
ful posturing of the group could offend some, but need to make something every day. I got such an
Jenny says on the contrary. “In fact, people loved amazing response, I realized there was a need to
it so much, we were overwhelmed with requests from inspire and motivate people to create things.”
other crafters to use the name to start similar groups When a friend connected her with Callie Janoff,
in their areas.” Today there are 41 Craft Mafia “fami- who felt a similar call, the Church of Craft was
glias” in cities across the United States and Canada.
And while each group has its own flavor, they’re
all united by a desire to promote the DIY ethos and Today there are 41 Craft Mafia ‘famiglias’ across the United States and
the spirit of small business entrepreneurship, and Canada, and 11 Church of Craft congregations around the world.