The Tufts Crafts Center is a place I had heard about throughout my years at Tufts, but which always remained just elusive and amorphous enough in my mind for me to wonder if it was really there. But much like Hogwarts’ Room of Requirement, the Crafts Center is very much there - if only you know where to look! Also like the Room of Requirement, the Crafts Center is sort of a jack of all trades: if there’s a crafting resource you are looking for, chances are you can find it at the Crafts Center.
Early in the spring semester, I was struck with a desire to take up pottery again - something I hadn’t done since my first year of high school. I decided to head over to the (window-filled) basement of Lewis Hall to check out the Crafts Center for myself, where I quickly fell in love with the open, creative space, especially the pottery room. The Center has one main room for open crafting with any of the abundant materials scatted across its shelves, and specialty spaces, like the pottery room, shop room, and print room extending off of it. The pottery room itself has four pottery wheels, an abundance of clay, shelves to store in-progress work, and a kiln for firing. There are also about 40 glazes to choose from (and combine!) when it’s time to finish your masterpiece. The best part? The Crafts Center is free to all Tufts students!
But the Crafts Center wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who run it. Julia, a computer science and Film and Media Studies double major, is one of the managers of the Crafts Center; she also manages the pottery room! And Fiona, a first-year, is working on starting a silversmithing space in the Crafts Center. Through the Center’s many volunteers, I have gotten to know more of the Tufts community, which I am especially grateful for given the challenges presented by this year. Every night, I have found community with new people, had fascinating conversations, and learned a few tips and tricks from more experienced artists.
For me, the Crafts Center has been a place to unplug, live in the moment, and focus my energy on something creative, even if only for a few hours a night. There’s something special about having your hands so covered in clay that you can’t check your phone! For others, the Crafts Center is a place to create props for an acting final, or to learn how to make jewelry, or to try your hand at candle-making. Everyone goes to the Crafts Center for their own reasons, but they are brought together by the creative process and the conversations they have throughout the night. The Crafts Center has been the most wonderful surprise to find its way into my final semester at Tufts, and I am so grateful that it did.
In short, the Crafts Center has something for everyone, and I guarantee you will find even more than you expected once you’re there. A word of advice? Don’t wait until your final semester to pay the Crafts Center a visit!