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The Glasgow Craft Mafia

Craft Collective, Glasgow, Scotland

Written by Claire Sawers

The neo-craft scene in Scotland has been growing legs for a couple of years now, and is starting to run away with itself. What started out as a few craft fairs in church halls around Glasgow and Edinburgh has now spread into a much more organised network of knitters, dressmakers, cupcake bakers and textile designers.

The first Scottish branch of the worldwide Craft Mafia™ was set up two years ago after Jo Gurney, a jewellery maker in Glasgow read about it online and liked the idea that a bunch of businesswomen in Austin, Texas had helped each other’s businesses along by teaming up and sharing resources.

The original Mafia members in Austin wanted to get away from the dowdy, old-lady image that craft has, and create something a bit fresher. The Glasgow Craft Mafia are on the same mission.
In their world, grassroots, DIY, hand-made, recycled and vintage = good; mass-produced, high-street, off-the-peg = bad. They also like to carry on the Craft Mafia’s slightly cheeky, sometimes risqué, get-that-hand-out-the-biscuit-tin tone, so you’ll still find hand-stitched doilies and frilly coasters, only when you get up close the dainty cross-stitch spells out things like, ‘I heart gin’, ‘sniff glue worship satan’ or ‘f*** the dishes’.


There are about thirty members at the moment, including Clare Nicolson, who is the ‘Don’ of the Glasgow Craft Mafia. She helps promote events they put on, pulling different types of craft together such as making knitted finger puppets of David Bowie and Salvador Dali and Bert and Ernie (pictured below), primary coloured tees with screenprints of rayguns and chopsticks or soft furnishings with chintzy fabrics and bird shaped cushions.


The Glasgow Craft Mafia are starting a brand new monthly event called Country Crafting! where crafty types (old pros or amateurs) can meet in a bar and listen to Kris Kristofferson while they get embroidering, or knit-their-own-beard to the sounds of The Handsome Family. They meet on the 1st Sunday of every month at Macsorleys Music Bar, on Jamaica Street, Glasgow.

Below are examples of some of the jewellery made by the Mafia, from Haberdash House (above) and We Are The Robots (below).



The crafting continues with Made in the Shade, a boutique/new designer showcase that feels a bit like walking into a timewarp. Inspired by the ‘the American 1950s housewife mother you never had’, it is co-run by Clare Nicolson and Carrie Maclennan. Two of those über-talented people who seem to have found the eighth day in the week, when they are not making their own ‘granny chic’ soaps or lavender scented cushions, they are organising fairs for their fellow stay-at-home crafters.

Those crafty little beggars have always got plenty more events up their sleeve too, so keep checking the Glasgow Craft Mafia and Made in the Shade websites for details.

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One Response to “The Glasgow Craft Mafia”

  1. While the Mafia are swell and all, they don’t actually run the Macsorley’s event in Glasgow. The very fabulous Clare Nicolson takes care of the public crafting project, ‘Country Crafting!’ and Carrie Maclennan (that’s me!) takes care of the [We Are] Fuzzy Felt Folk side of things. ‘Tis Carrie who plays Kris Kristofferson and hours of country twang! The Glasgow Craft Mafia have no part in the organisation of these events, but some lovely members do happen along now and again to show us some supprt and share their latest crafty creations! :)

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