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Mystical Garden

Updated: May 19

Craft House in Review

Every week in St Andrews it feels like I stumble upon a new pop-up around the corner or in the nick of an alley. Craft House was one of those “glad I found this” events. Other than the massive sign labelled ‘Craft House,’ I would not have known to turn into the tiny gate on Queens Garden, finding myself in a grand garden spewing with artistic talent. Although I entered the venue when it was torrentially raining, no one seemed eager to leave. People were wandering through every cranny of the maze-like garden to admire pieces created by students. Craft House is a relatively new group that aims to promote artists in St Andrews and provides individuals with a space for their artistic endeavours and a platform to display their art. Although there were many artists whose work was displayed on tree trunks and branches scattered around the garden, the day was also accompanied by a talented DJ and live music. 

Founded by Alex Putzer and Eyoel Kassa-Darge in the Fall of 2022, Craft House aims to 'bring the art community at St Andrews together. [Creating] a space where artists could meet, collaborate, and showcase their work.' They aimed to create not just an art gallery, but a vibrant, interactive platform that "would foster creativity and connection among students and local artists." They host several events throughout the year, which display student artwork in a variety of mediums – from paintings to photography to music.

At Mystical Garden, Nathaniel Chapman sported his talents on the Saxophone (as per usual) in front of artists who were painting new projects in real-time. All whilst flashes of light were capturing the moment thanks to Samuel Lynn’s photography. Some of the hanging art pieces were for sale while other parts of the garden served as interactive experiences for attendees. One of the first tables I walked up to had a stack of canvas tote bags and paint brushes, inviting attendees to customise their own bags. Other activities included sitting around a mural and painting a canvas, creating a large piece that was the work of many different people. Even though the event began at 3pm and lasted until 8pm, there was so much to enjoy and admire that I could have stayed the duration of the event.  

In addition to wandering around viewing art and painting, VIP ticket holders could be spotted frequenting the open bar that was included in their £22 ticket (compared to the £11 price of a standard ticket). Next to the bar, was a cleverly placed food table where I expected the burgers to be as overpriced as they usually are at St Andrews events. However, I was surprised to see “Cami’s Kitchen” on the menu, which is a student-run catering service I had not seen nor tried yet. Students were running from a nearby flat into the garden to bring the fresh, hot, and delicious food as efficiently as their legs allowed. My wings were only £4.00 and the burger was 20p more; the kitchen had deals for their crunchy cookies, and the rest of the menu was priced just as reasonably. Not to mention, the lemon and honey wings I got were some of the best wings I have tasted in any restaurant at St Andrews, let alone a student-run catering company. 

With good food and a drink in my hand, I watched friends flock together for the live music while admiring the art. All props to Executive Director Pietro Barbini for making the space truly feel like an outdoor gallery after only one year of existence. Although Craft House is in its infancy, I would have never known seeing how well-organised the event was. Their advertising was professional and well-done and the artists, who can submit their work through a link found on their Instagram, were diverse in medium, background, and year, a factor important in their search for artists. Alongside, diversity, Craft House seeks passionate artists who "pour their hearts and souls into their work", an element clearly demonstrated in the work on display. The pieces for sale ranged in price from £15-100. You can find @crafthouse.sta and @camiskitchen.sta on Instagram for upcoming events and any new announcements. Craft House has only a couple of showcases per year, and I will undoubtedly attend all events that I can (and hire Cami’s Kitchen for my next dinner).

And Craft House is sure to soon become a household name, with long term goals to take their events and showcase to major global cultural centres, including New York, Los Angeles, Addis Ababa, and Tel Aviv by collaborating with other universities to explore and utilise their local art scenes and "foster a network of creative exchanges". Mystic Garden is a promising indicator of Craft House's future, with a shared love for art bringing the St Andrews community together, and creating an overall jubilant atmosphere of expression, inspiration, and artistic celebration.

Photo: Lizzie Rosenman

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