Members and friends of the Artisan’s Asylum kicked off the holiday season by commencing their third annual DIY Secret Santa gift exchange.
Participants have ten days, a $25 limit on materials and an endless supply of their own creativity to surprise their gift recipient with a unique, thoughtful handmade gift.
Molly Rubenstein, the interim executive director of the Artisan's Asylum, said the event provides a great opportunity for members in the artist community to come together in a fun way. Last year, she made her recipient an action figure of himself.
“It’s somebody who does a lot live action role playing, so it seemed appropriate,” she said. “He’s had it up in his space so everyone gets to see it. It’s really fun.”
During the registration process in early December, each participant filled out a questionnaire to give their Secret Santa a glimpse into their personality. Rubenstein said that in past years, participants were asked to pontificate on the meaning of life (or lack thereof), describe themselves in six words or less and to list their imaginary hobbies.
The Asylum also hosts a small gathering so Secret Santa’s can inconspicuously scope out their giftees, who are randomly matched.
“They know who their recipient is, and everyone wears name tags, so they can have a conversation with their recipient and get a better sense of who they are and what they are like,” Rubenstein said. “I think I called it the DIY Secret Santa Sneaky mixer.”
On December 16, the gifts will be exchanged and individually unwrapped. The recipients will try to guess who their Secret Santa was, and the gift makers will have the opportunity to explain their creative process. In previous years, gifts included a set of robotic pants, a knitted Smurf winter hat, a handcrafted board game and a box that snaps on your hand if you try to open it.
Rubenstein said the mission of this event is to have fun in the art community, but also to provide artists with a project that has a specific goal and deadline.
“Part of what we do is provide resources to make things, but also provide them with a structure to figure out what to make next,” she said.
The gift opening is open to the public. The event corresponds with the Asylum’s Tyler Street birthday party, which celebrates the one-year anniversary of the location’s opening. Visit the Asylum’s webpage for more information.
The Artisan’s Asylum is a nonprofit community craft studio whose mission is to support and promote the teaching, learning and practicing of multiple crafts. The organization provides a fully equipped manufacturing facility and affordable classes, spaces and equipment rentals to the artisan community at its location at 10 Tyler Street.