Unwind With Fibre Arts

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Still feeling stressed even after visiting with the llamas at Mission Bay? Then consider attending a general meeting with Procraftinators, a new registered campus organization (RCO) who meet and bond over knitting, crochet, embroidery, and other fiber arts.

Making time for hobbies while being a full-time student at UCSF may seem non-complimentary, however, I met with Procraftinators to learn how their hobby of arts and crafts has helped them with their academic and personal goals. Here’s what they shared.

Taking a break in between experiments or while studying can sometimes feel unproductive. Yet often enough, stepping away from the problems we’re troubleshooting can help us to see or think about the problem differently, rewire our thoughts.

Haley Gause, a second year TETRAD PhD student, found that being part of Procraftinators has helped her view her breaks as productive.

“It’s easy to forget we are more than just scientists. When crafting, your hands and mind are occupied. You engage in the present and step away from on-going things in your life. I get to see progress on my project (craft) and that makes you feel good about what you’re doing on your break from the bench,” said Gause.

Francesca Del Frate, a third year TETRAD PhD student, realized that knitting and embroidering, even in the midst of a busy schedule, has helped her manage her stress, maintain focus, and has nourished her creativity.

She joined Procraftinators to incorporate her hobby in crafts as part of her schedule.

“I found out that people I knew also enjoyed knitting. Going to the meetings are a way to set a specific amount of time aside to commit to crafting and balance my interests in arts and science. This hobby has always helped me with my focus and creativity, and it is great to spend time with people of different experiences,” said Del Frate.

Procraftinators was founded by third year TETRAD PhD student Natalie Whitis with the goal of using hobbies to build community and relieve stress. The creative RCO name, pieced together by the executive board, embraces their attitude towards crafting.

Whitis has found that crafting helps her handle the rigor and uncertain aspects of being a PhD student.

“The goals of a PhD student day-to-day can sometimes feel abstract but when crafting, you can pick up and put down your craft as needed, making it a tangible project. You also learn to be present in the moment, mindful, and get to step away for a bit,” said Whitis.

If you’re looking to learn a new skill or reboot an old arts project, the group welcomes all students at any experience level. Many members share their supplies and expertise with the group and engage in a fluid dialogue of science and crafts. Email Procraftinators at Natalie.Whitis@ucsf.edu for more information.

Members are currently working on independent or group craft projects but hope to include craft donations to charity once the group is more established.

They currently hold general meetings at the Mission Bay campus but are looking into hosting at the Parnassus campus in the future.