By Tiffany Carlson
In our overwhelmingly digital world, there’s something magical about receiving a gift that you can touch and feel. Sharing joy through little things like handmade cards is an art that you may think is forgotten — but you would be wrong. This March, students at the University of Minnesota have an opportunity to learn card-making from a local maker, and then to share these pieces of joy with those around them.
”It started with duct tape,” Hannah Sipe says. “Then I went to T-shirts, and now card-making.”
Hannah hails from Big Lake, Minnesota, and creates cards to sell through Coping Through Craft. She created the website in May 2020 during the state’s “Stay at Home” orders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hannah has long used crafting as a way to cope with her pain from a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and progressive muscle weakness; with the pandemic, her crafting transformed into her business.
Hannah, who has been making crafts since childhood, now has a studio set up in her home, from which she runs her business.
Bringing More Crafting to the University
Hannah brings her card-making expertise to Walter Library on Wednesday March 23 at 3 p.m., when she will teach interested students and staff the basics of creating cards on the Cricut maker. Spots are limited for this free workshop, so register online today.
Carolyn Bishoff, Innovation Lead for the University Libraries, is also looking forward to the workshop. “I’m excited to learn the basics and pick up a few more skills I can show to students in the future,” says Carolyn. She’s also hoping that students will be empowered to create cards to spread some caring to others in their lives. “Cards are such a simple way [to spread joy],” she explains. “And I hope they pick up a few new Cricut skills, too!”
Hannah says she is most excited to bring to the students a way to share “handmade kindness,” an important concept in the card-making community.
Expressing Yourself through Craft
Hannah expresses her creativity through crafting. “Being able to put my feelings on paper is a comfortable way for me to express myself,” she states. “It helps me heal.”
Card making on the Cricut and other makerspace crafts also are important to Libraries staff like Carolyn, who enjoy providing students the chance to do something creative and to take a break from thinking about class work. Partaking in an activity like card making in the Breakerspace is a great opportunity for students to relax, take a breather, and enjoy creating as a community.
“There is joy in making things together,” Carolyn explains. “I hope students share ideas with each other and leave with a sense of belonging.”
During the workshop, students will have the chance to ask questions, and then create their own cards using the Cricut Makers in the Walter Breakerspace and HSL Makerspace.
Representation in Crafting
In addition to making cards, Hannah also creates stamps, and one of her favorites being an assortment of custom stamps featuring people with disabilities. She had noticed a gap in the market: she couldn’t find stamps portraying people of all abilities. She was motivated to create what she wanted to see in the world: “I got to work so others would not have to go through the frustration or spend the money that I did [to make custom stamps].” Now, she uses those stamps to make custom cards that show all body types and abilities.
When she’s not creating cards for her business or visiting local craft fairs, Hannah enjoys rock climbing, planning her wedding, and spending time with family and friends. If you’d like to learn more about her work, you can find her on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.