What beavery is this?

Platform shoes

I do not own these shoes, but would like to wear them whilst beaving.

I’m in a group called the Crafty Beavers.

Beaver—a large, amphibious rodent of the genus Castor, having sharp incisors, webbed hind feet, and a flattened tail, noted for its ability to dam streams with trees, branches, etc.

How can I describe these beavers who craft? This has proven difficult for me in the past few days. So many halted starts and I can’t do the beavers justice.

How do I love the beavers? Let me count the ways.

A beaver by any other name would smell as . . wait, no. Dammit.

Slang: Vulgar
a.a woman’s pubic area.
b.offensive. a woman.

Well, we beavers are mostly women (though we’ve had a few top notch male knitters on occasion) who regularly carve time out of our busy schedules to craft.

Idiom: Busy as a beaver—meaning industrious, hard working.

We meet a few times a month and we share space, gossip, food, stories, friendship, advice, scissors, expertise, dramas, traumas and the beaver list goes on and on. We surround ourselves with pretzel M&M’s, delicious baked goods, wine, beer, diet soda and gummy creatures of myriad variety. Religious icons like Buffy, Daria. Laura Ingalls or Beatrix Kiddo bless our gatherings from a T.V. on in the background. There’s usually a dog or cat on hand grumpily bemoaning the loss of their couch space or rifling through a bag of supplies.

“Please, ma’am, can you spare a salt and vinegar chip?” my dachshund begs. No, long dog, beavers need their salt fix.

Crafty Beaver—an individual who creates homespun crafts. Often a feminist of dirty and addled mind. An artsy follower of Amy Sedaris. Anyone who belongs to a club of crafters.

In our chapter (I imagine there are lots of other chapters, why wouldn’t there be?) I’d say we have a ruling body consisting of the die-hard, rarely miss a meeting beaver clan.

This executive board consists of:
Me—artsy dabbler, paint pen enthusiast, sharpie hoarder, portrait artist.
Andrea—experimental chef, crochet diva, purse-maker, idea gal
Elizabeth—blanket tatter, quilting queen, problem solver, craft technician
Emily—jewelry maker, constructor of hats, rebel seamstress, create-a-tron

For a ruling body, we’re pretty liberal. The first rule of beaving is . . . well, we never actually formed any rules about beaving. As a unit, we’re pretty against phallocentric paternalistic bullshit.

To beave is to craft with feminist zeal.—Meg

Our club forms itself at each meeting; we make ourselves up as we go along. It’s different each time depending on the people who come. We find a way of hanging together. We negotiate the gaps and construct new connections.

Our most recent meeting, for example, culled a few newish faces. While painting comedian Margaret Cho in the Virgen de Guadalupe’s sunburst body halo (it’s okay, she let Cho borrow it) I listened to get a feel for this burgeoning version of our beaver clan.

Madhu sits cool, erect and spits the cleanest, driest, vitriolic phrases.

We tell stories of freak pet accidents, the tragedies of rodents, long deceased. A solemn mistake. A wet hamster and a hair dryer.

Madhu: That’s too bad. Hamsters are really more air-dry anyway.

She doesn’t bat a kohl-lined eye.

The conversation ebbs and flows. Katie is irritated by the lack of sex shops in East Lansing. Emily thinks they are outlawed in our college town. Katie is practically trembling with protestation. The gears are turning-—How can we prepare a feminist flash mob?! Madhu has a campaign idea.

Madhu: “Stimulate the economy.”

Dead. Pan.

Katie, a radical femme feminist gymnast/teacher/writer/poet in combat boots sculpting wee turtles out of yarn will take to her twitter page later that night:

“Dear women: your breasts are an offense to the public peace & order. It says so right there in Ch. 26 Article II of EL municipal code.”

I fidget my fingers like Mr. Burns, Yeeeeehhhsss. These are good initiates.

Beaving is a collective re-visioning of domestic space.—Andrea

We beavers are a strange breed and we like that about ourselves. Here, I have to give a nod to Big Mama Beaver, Amy Sedaris, from whom we took our name. I started referring to us as beavers after hearing that the darkly quirky comedian was the president of her own group called the Crafty Beavers.

Her book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence really encapsulates where us modern day crafters are coming from. With both nostalgic respect and healthy disgust toward women’s domesticity and the projects of homemaking, Sedaris manages to offer useful tips while critiquing feminine work and space. In this book one can learn how to make a delicious pecan pie and how best to mourn the loss of your favorite pet. She proffers proper etiquette for hosting and attending a party and how best to aid a high friend, depending on their drug of choice. We learn how to make a googley eyed centerpiece and the ins and outs of scrubbing the period stains from your panties. This woman is chock full of advice!

The pictures in the book capture the 70s, the clear target of her nostalgic longings, yet they do not elevate the subject matter into a frothy dream of the era. Creepy vintage tschotskes peek out behind (or out of) a casserole, the food is shot so realistically that it shows the yummy/grossness of the meals.

A beaver has a love and/or appreciation for tackiness and/or kitsch.—Emily

Working against the myths of feminine perfection and the pristine happy home, she takes a kitschy joy in exposing the dirty underbelly of the sacred seat of womanhood.

People will poop or vomit in your house. Underwear will get dirty. Your bunny will die.

Martha Stewart may not talk about these things, but a beaver would, and she’d help you build a bunny coffin while she did.

Pass the glitter?

5 Responses to “What beavery is this?”
  1. ana says:

    ooops! it’s “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.” Sorry, Mama Beaver!

  2. If you live in an area frequented by hawks, don’t hang a hamster on the clothes line either.

  3. Lindsey says:

    I feel I must tell you that at this moment I have a tab up on my browser (it’s been bookmarked for months) for a craft blog entitled Crafty Beaver. I’m sure it’s one of the other chapters you mentioned that surely exist. Clearly they do. It was this blog that gave me the inspiration to improvise a crochet pattern for an Octopus via modification of a cloche hat pattern (I’m working on another octopus right now, hence the tab being up). Martha Stewart never instructed me on how to crochet a cephalopod. Long live the Crafty Beaver.

  4. ana says:

    @tony…excellent advice! wiener dog pups must also watch out for hawk attacks. truth.

    @lindsey what about an octopus cloche? very lady gaga, very now.

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