Skip Navigation

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Subscribe Now
Campus & Community

Crafting a Community

New Club Offers Space for Student Makers to Come as They Are

By Maggie Haslam

Two students work at a table with colorful markers and rainbow flags

Kate Brown ’26 (right), uses a press to make a pin designed by Joidan Bentivenga ’27 (left), during Queer Crafting, a low-key campus crafting club for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

Photos by Riley N. Sims

When Maggie Ratcliffe ’26 created a club on campus for fellow crafters at the University of Maryland, she had no idea how tight-“knit” it would become.

Queer Crafting, which the Student Government Association officially recognized in August, offers a welcome space for LGBTQ+ students and allies to make friends and make art, from crochet and costumes to paintings and paper crafts.

Queer people are often associated with crafting, said Ratcliffe, an elementary school education major; an informal poll at an LGBTQ+ welcome event her freshman year confirmed she was in good company.

“And I was like, what if I just go off the stereotype, because it’s kind of true?” she said.

Ratcliffe launched a Discord with a few other students within the LGBTQ+ community; the platform quickly grew as members shared craft projects, asked for advice and cheered each other’s successes. Ratcliffe worked with the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy to secure a space, and members started cleaning out their parents’ closets for yarn, paint and other materials.

close-up of hand wearing a rainbow ring coloring in a pink and orange circle

A year later, Queer Crafting has blossomed into a nearly 200-member group that meets Friday afternoons in the Stamp’s Cozy Corner to make and mingle. The club is low-stakes by design, said Ratcliffe: no agenda, mandatory meetings or commitment.

“I just wanted everyone to come and make whatever they want and maybe make some friends,” she said. “And crafting in your room alone is boring.”

On any given Friday, tables are blanketed with free crafting supplies, from origami paper and watercolors to beads and a dazzling array of markers. Clusters of students commandeer couches or communal tables to assemble friendship bracelets and sketch, work on homework or just chat.

“I call it the queer social hour,” said Kate Brown ’26.

[‘We Are Here to Celebrate and Uplift': LGBTQ+ Equity Center Welcomes New Director]

Other clubs have tapped into the group to create décor for events, including last April’s Pride Prom. The SGA funding will help pay for additional crafting materials; Ratcliffe has started a wish list based on members’ interests.

While the university boasts a strong, supportive LGBTQ+ community, queer students voice concerns about safety and discrimination. Other students may not have come out to peers or families. Beyond an artistic outlet, Queer Crafting is space for students to be authentic, said club member Wren Doyle ‘24.

“It’s just a special thing because no one cares about what other people identify as,” they said.

Doyle and Moss (who didn’t want to use their last name but who helped co-found the club with Ratcliffe) agree that while Queer Crafting is a growing group for the LGBTQ+ community, it’s a safe space for everyone.

“No matter what you’re here for as long as you’re nice, you can make some friends,” said Moss ‘26. “But if you want to try something new, we’ve got that too.”

students with blue and purple hair smile over a colorful cloth and laptop
Michelle Berry ’27 (left), crochets a hexagon patterned cardigan while chatting with Jamie Brunty ’27 and a group of friends. "It's just people coming together, making stuff and having fun," said Berry. "It's awesome."

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.