One of the best parts of hosting CraftJam workshops (both virtually and in person) is all the amazing people we get to meet: life-long crafters, newbie makers and even folks who were just sure crafting wasn’t for them!

We love sharing stories, sharing skills and getting to know each other a little better. Which is why we’re excited to profile a few of our Jammers – starting with Gina Doyle, a dedicated CraftJam attendee and certified Zumba instructor residing in Sunnyside, New York. A life-long New Yorker, Gina attributes her love of making to her experiences with CraftJam (we’re blushing!) and has even hosted birthday parties and fundraisers with us.

Gina says it best, “crafting is a space for everyone.”

What’s your profession and what do you do when you’re not crafting?

I have been a stay at home mother to the sweetest and craftiest four year old boy since the day he was born. ☺  He and I do so many art projects together and it’s fun to see the joy in his face when he’s done!

What other hobbies occupy your time?

Finger print art session with her 4 year old son.

Finger print art session with her 4 year old son.

Since being home I’ve been into flower arranging and photo collaging. I’ve also really been into fingerprint and handprint art with my son. With him growing up so quickly I’ve been trying to figure out ways to capture every single second of his childhood, so I’ve been using his handprints and fingerprints and incorporating them into artwork.

How did you get into crafting?

To be honest, I really attribute my late in life love of crafting to CraftJam and the encouragement I’ve received from all the wonderful instructors. I was always one of those people that believed that just because I wasn’t “amazing” at art that I had no right to enter the crafting world, but they’ve shown me that crafting is a space for everyone.

What was your first experience with CraftJam?

My first CraftJam was arm knitting a scarf which is where I met the wonderful Nora and Païvi. To be honest, I did horribly BUT had the best time and loved that I could gather with my friends and enjoy an evening of being creative. I have been hooked ever since. ☺ I have attended countless workshops and have had not only my birthday party but friend’s birthday parties and fundraisers in collaboration with CraftJam!

“I[…]loved that I could gather with my friends and enjoy an evening of being creative.”

Do you have a project you are most proud of?

The most recent project I’m proud of is a “family tree” my husband, son, myself, mom and sister made in honor of my late father.  We all handprinted the leaves and my son loved that we could do something so “doo doo” (what my son called my dad) could “see it in heaven”. The painting is hanging in my living room.

What skills or crafts are you hoping to learn in the future?

Needle felting, calligraphy and knitting!

On Gina’s Workshop list: needle felting , Lunar New Year embroidery and calligraphy .

On Gina’s Workshop list: needle felting, Lunar New Year embroidery and calligraphy.

What is your dream craft project?

I’d love to be able to create my own cards but also add fancy lettering to them.

Are there any crafts intimidate you?

“ takes my mind off all my worries.”

Knitting!  I’ve always envied seeing people on the subway knit and the one time my grandmother tried to teach me as a child was a disaster!

Where do you find inspiration?

These days my inspiration is my family. I find joy in honoring or commemorating or recording times with them.

Who are your favorite artists?  

I love the art work of Simon Legno (aka Tokidoki), Roy Lichtenstein and Klimt.

Art work from Tokidoki, Roy Lichtenstein and Gustav Klimt.

Art work from Tokidoki, Roy Lichtenstein and Gustav Klimt.

Gina and friends at a CraftJam embroidery workshop.

Gina and friends at a CraftJam embroidery workshop.

What is your favorite thing about crafting?

That it takes my mind off of all my worries and allows for the ideas I have to come to reality. It’s a blessing to be able to create something and feel like it’s all mine.

Do you prefer the act of crafting or the finished product?

I very much prefer the act of crafting. CraftJam has been a godsend because it’s given me an opportunity to enjoy my friends while enjoying the fun of crafting. Often we’re hard on ourselves if something doesn’t turn out the way we wanted but I’ve learned that for me it’s much more fun to concentrate on the experience.

Who is your craft hero?

Truly? Nora Abousteit – truly. She is such a warm, brilliant woman who made me feel comfortable reaching for craft goals that I thought I couldn’t achieve. Not all heroes wear capes – some have looms and vision boards!

“They’ve shown me crafting is a space for everyone.”

What is your favorite thing about CraftJam and what workshop are you signing up for next?

Celebrating, CraftJam style!

Celebrating, CraftJam style!

I am definitely doing the upcoming Lunar New Year Embroidery workshop and can’t wait to try calligraphy. It’s hard for me to find time to myself these days but I am always trying. I love how CraftJam has adapted to these new crazy times and figured out a way we can still craft from home!

And finally: What’s your one-sentence philosophy about life?

Always take the picture, always take the trip, always say “I love you” because you never know when you won’t be able to.

Special thanks to Gina for her input and help in developing our Lunar New Year Embroidery workshop. We’re happy to share that a portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold will go directly to the Send Chinatown Love initiative, providing “relief efforts to small, off-the-grid businesses in Chinatown NYC”!