Isaac Pool and Crystal Palmer


Who we are:

Hobby Group was prompted by a mass email sent to Crystal from her local Jo-Ann fabrics. The advertisement read:

"We'll give you your space! We teach classes at Jo-Ann. But when they aren't in session, our classroom can be available for your meet-ups & group activities. Absolutely free."

Offering the services of a not-for-profit community center, the email read like a bulletin board posting at a rec center or local church but still retained all of the corporate design and formatting of commercial chain-store spam. She forwarded the message to me and I encouraged her to grab a space for us to curate during the holiday season. Her interaction with the associates at the store included a tour of the classroom and stipulations for displaying work that included:

- no nails, screws or heavy adhesives
- only scotch tape to adhere to the walls and cabinets
- quilts in the room must be maintained but are available for mounting work using pins

The agreement Crystal signed was mainly a liability waiver but outlined few guidelines for responsibility beyond returning the room to its original form, not serving alcohol and not producing a profit. This was definitely placing us within the boundaries of the company's corporate model but no monetary exchange took place for the reservation whatsoever.
Jo-Ann became like our really serious, paranoid / responsible friend with a spare room.

Hobby Group is a curatorial platform in response to the classroom's split engagement within the aisles of a corporate retailer and as a hub for the local folk art and crafts communities. Crystal and I wondered: If corporate personhood animates a social body, what about a singular one - what about Jo-Ann? Is she cool? Is she cooler than her competitors? How do we feel hanging out with her?