During the COVID-19 pandemic, several activities and hobbies, from chess to fiber arts like crocheting and knitting, became extremely popular according to Forbes magazine. Tik Tok, Instagram and Pinterest are overflowing with project patterns and inspiration on how to make your own bags, stuffed animals and even clothing. The fiber arts craze has also come to Drew University in the form of the newly established club Fiber Arts At Drew.
Jaden Mena (‘25), the club’s president and one of its founders, explained that the inspiration for Fiber Arts at Drew came from biology professor Jessica McQuigg, the club’s advisor. McQuigg spins her own wool and makes her own sweaters, and to Mena and Secretary Hailei Clark (‘23), this presented the perfect opportunity to bring fiber arts to Drew.
When asked about future plans for the club, Clark said, “I’m hoping that this club becomes kind of like a safe space and a creative outlet for all different members of the Drew community.” She also highlighted her desire for this club to preserve the dying art of making your own clothes, which is a more environmentally sustainable alternative to modern industrial processes. Ultimately, for Clark, fiber arts “teaches you to look at your own closet differently.”
Relating fiber arts to sustainability, McQuigg said, “One of the big things that is kind of important from the sustainability perspective is that the fashion industry can be pretty detrimental from an environmental perspective. It uses a lot of materials; it uses a lot of water; it uses a lot of fossil fuels.”
Not only does the fashion industry use a lot of resources at an extreme rate, it also raises issues regarding the human rights of the individuals who make the clothes that end up on store racks. “By learning these skills,” said McQuigg, “you’re putting yourself in a position where you can slow that process down.”
Fiber Arts At Drew serves the noble purpose of raising awareness regarding sustainability and fiber arts’ significant environmental impact. However, it also aims to foster connections. Julisha Moses (‘26), the club’s social media manager, said that for her, forming this club was about making friends and learning something new.
“It’s good to have a community of people that, you know, we can bond over a common interest. And I don’t know anything about crocheting whatsoever. So when Jaden [Mena] talked to me about this club, my first instinct was, ‘Oh okay, I can learn something new from a group of experienced people,’” said Moses.
For students interested in joining this tight-knit community to make friends, engage in more sustainable habits and learn how to crochet or knit, email email@example.com and follow @drewfaad on Instagram for more information.
Nicole is a sophomore majoring in English and French with minors in psychology and education.