Room to Craft acts as inclusive space for marginalized artists

Jessica Drake began the business in 2019 with her husband.

Jessica Drake and her husband opened their first brick-and-mortar business, Room to Craft, in 2019 after thinking of community business ideas that were lacking in the City of Bothell.

Room to Craft, located at 18215 Bothell Way Northeast, is a community crafting cafe.

“One morning I woke up and I was like, ‘I bet I could turn my crafting room into a business,’ and so we took about three years of research and kind of put together three different businesses and meshed them,” said Drake.

Drake enjoyed the paint and sip concept, where artists drink wine and paint the same portrait. However, Drake wanted to create more flexibility for those coming into the space. The cafe space in Room to Craft offers beer, wine and cider.

Room to Craft has a library section to act as project resources, with books on paper crafting, book making, art theory and mixed media, among others. Magazines are also available for artists interested in collages.

Room to Craft also holds space for artists to bring in their own pieces to work on, with one-hour sessions costing $12, including supplies. Room to Craft also offers art workshops.

“We have an alcohol ink workshop that’s super popular,” said Drake. “People really love doing the alcohol ink, and then we do a Cricut workshop where people can learn how to use their Cricut machines.”

Additional workshops offered include mixed media and a glitter canvas class. Currently, Drake is preparing for a fairy house workshop in July, which she is extremely excited about, she said.

While operating her business, Drake received a medical diagnosis.

“This past summer I was diagnosed autistic and ADHD, so it’s been really interesting figuring all that out while running a business,” said Drake, who described how throughout her life, she always felt like she was a little “odd,’ she said.

Drake described how she was happy to receive a diagnosis for autism because it explains everything, she said. Furthermore, many of her goals with the Room to Craft space are anti-racism and community based, which means being accepting of individuals with differences.

“A lot of the reason the space is here is for people who don’t quite fit in,” said Drake. “Everything I do is from the lense of anti-racism and supporting our marginalized communities, so I make sure to have products and things in our shop that support our favorite communities.”

Drake recalled one incident where someone wrote Room to Craft a letter stating the business needed to go back to Seattle due to the Black Lives Matter signs in the window. She described how after the incident, she put up even more signs.

To create a greater sense of inclusion and safety for artists and family members who are immunocompromised, those who visit Room to Craft are required to wear facial masks.

One of Drake’s favorite parts of Room to Craft are the variety of projects artists bring into the space. Recently, a man brought in large metallic ceiling tiles with hopes of making them look distressed and vintage.

“We figured out how to use embossing powder to get that effect, and it was just really cool to solve this home project with craft supplies,” said Drake.

Drake mentioned how she enjoys seeing projects community members bring into Room to Craft because she loves to see the creative process, and beautiful artwork that she cannot create, she said.

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Courtesy of Room to Craft Facebook.

Courtesy of Room to Craft Facebook.