Yesterday, my friend and I decided to spend our Good Friday walking around Melbourne. We followed along Nicholson Street, without any expectation or knowledge of what was ahead.
And on our way, we discovered this little coffee shop: Crafternoon. As the name suggests, this coffee shop was not only a place to enjoy coffee and food; also, it was a place to make arts and crafts.
On each table, beside the napkins and the sugar jars was a case of color pencil case and crayons. When the waiter came with the menu, she also gave me and my friend two pieces of paper.
“Do you want to make some badges as well?”, she asked “Or some crafts?”
We declined, aware of our limited time and talent for crafts. But we did spend half an hour there enjoying our coffee and creating our own artworks.
My friend painted the logo of RUBICS – the organisation that she founded in order to raise awareness of autism in Vietnam. Meanwhile, I was much less sophisticated, as all I could produce was a big fat cat.
I really enjoyed my experience here. I loved the colourful walls, the cozy and artsy feeling of the shop, as well as my sweet mocha. However, what impressed me most about Crafternoon is that there were not only adults but also many children staying in the shop.
In fact, Crafternoon is designed as a place where parents and children can spend a Sunday afternoon together, where children can have fun and express their creativity outside their home, and where adults can relax and enjoy a high range of dishes.
The cutest thing that you can see in Crafternoon is the scene of a family working together on something. For example, when I was at Crafternoon yesterday, next to my table were a father and his two children. Seeing them cutting pictures from magazines, pasting them on their papers, drawing, painting and laughing with each other really melt my heart. This made me love Crafternoon even more. It might not be as fancy and sophisticated as other famous coffee shops, but it had something that other shops don’t have: the homey feeling, the sweetness and the comfort that you often find when you are at home with your parents, who will always love you unconditionally.
Growing up in Vietnam, I never had the chance to have a homey, community space like this. When I was a kid, I watched TV most of the times, whilst my parents were also hardly home. I didn’t go out much, either, because there was not much garden or playground in Hanoi. Though I did go to some local arts centre, it was only for a very short time, and even then the fact that always I had to follow certain standards, rules and repetitive topics soon killed my interest for painting.
I don’t intend to complain. After all, I had a decent childhood and a lovely family. But I do sometimes wish that I had grown up making arts with my family in cozy, homey coffee shops like Crafternoon. In other words, I wished to do something together with my mum and dad. That’s something I lacked in my childhood, and the consequence is still apparent now. Yes, I love my parents, but because we don’t talk, share and do things together much, there is always a gap. I don’t understand and know them just as they don’t really know and understand me.
That might be why I really appreciate and adore Crafternoon. It is not just a coffee shop. It’s an art hub, a community hub, and a family hub.
And I would definitely return to that shop soon.
All the photos are taken by me, Mai Nguyen. You can see more of my works here
The most comprehensive centre of man’s worldly life, and its mainspring, and a paradise, refuge, and fortress of worldly happiness, is the life of the family. Everyone’s home is a small world for him. (From “The Tenth Word” – The Words – Risale I Nur Collection – written by Bendiuzzaman Said Nursi)