Creative in the Countryside: The Cozy Club
Jessica : I’d love for you to start by telling us more about you and your business, how The Cozy Club started, and what it is you do?
Chris : The Cozy Club started really by a lightbulb moment. I had been hosting Christmas and summer fairs in my home for about five years where entrance proceeds went to a charity called William's Fund. The stallholders were situated throughout my house so people came in and noticed various decorative things that I had done. I was asked on several occasions how I made the items and had the thought that perhaps this might be fun to teach. Being a teacher by profession, I felt I had the tools already to proceed with conducting workshops. The name came simply because for as long as I can remember I needed to feel comfort :like being snuggled deep into a worn quilt, my hands wrapped around a mug of hot tea reading a wonderful book or enjoying the company of good friends...to me that is cozy and I try to always try to incorporate that into my life. I think I feel I have a mission to try to make as many people as cozy as I can! To me, being cozy and creative are two very important aspects of life.I sat down one afternoon, looked at my fabrics and started imagining projects and that was ten years ago. Now, with the help from my husband, some of the projects are also done working with wood. The Mouse House has been a big hit to name one!
Jessica : What do you love most about what you do?
Chris : I love my Cozy Club days from designing the project to welcoming old and new friends to watching the process of their creations take shape. I would have to say that what I love most about what I do is to watch those who think they are not very creative see their projects emerge from their own two hands and see the pride in their eyes as they come to the realisation that they are indeed creative. I liken my club to an old -fashioned quilting bee where like-minded women gather to find interesting conversation, friendship , share a meal and a love of creating.
Jessica : Can you tell us about your work-space, and what a typical day at The Cozy Club is like?
Chris : A day at The Cozy Club begins with everyone enjoying refreshments and meeting each other. Once settled in the workroom on old farm tables covered with antique linen cloths, the project is explained and all materials are provided. Help is given, but all are encouraged to make their project unique. There is a break for lunch where all join together in my kitchen to sit down for something seasonal. As many come from far, I always cook something filling and from scratch. Candles are glowing and the table is set to celebrate the time of year. . At each place, a small present sits waiting to be opened by each participant ,again, something that goes together with what we are making. Once lunch is finished, everyone heads to The General Store where a collection of farmhouse finds, fresh flowers, ribbons, fabric bundles, candles, antique quits etc. wait for them to explore. The work on the project continues until about 4 pm when tea and cake will be served. A day at The Cozy Club is a relaxing but very creative event.
Jessica : What inspires your work?
Chris : I am inspired by two main things. The season and what I have collected to be repurposed. I try to use things that have had a previous life . Nothing gives me more pleasure than finding something someone else has rendered as useless and using my imagination to develop a project and give it a new life.
Jessica : What impact would you like to create with your work?
Chris : I think I would be thrilled if I knew that everyone who comes here leaves with fresh inspiration and a renewed zest for a slower paced life. Throughout the day I tell stories or present anecdotes of experiences that I hope will encourage all to take a fresh look at the ordinary and realise that it is actually extraordinary.
Jessica : And lastly, if someone reading your story were inspired to follow their own creative dream, what advice would you give them?
Chris : Advice for anything that one wants to do is simple. If you love what you do you will be good at it. Running courses that includes lunch, all materials etc. is a lot of work but the actual work element is small ( washing up etc.) because the day is a complete joy from start to finish. I especially love the time in the evening when everything has been cleared away and I go over the day. I remember the conversations, the laughter, the excitement of creating and I think to myself, it does not get better than this!