How this crafter turned author became her ‘gayest self’

· Updated on December 7, 2023

Sh*tty Craft Club is a truly entertaining and invigorating book. It’s part memoir essay collection, but mostly an invitation to get crafting with the refreshing, uninhibited energy that Sam Reece has built around her “Sh*tty Craft Club” community online and at IRL meet-ups. By allowing herself to make bad crafts, and finding joy in doing so, she’s inspired others to go on the same imperfect creative adventure. As a bonus, this bejeweled journey helped Sam become her “gayest self.” 

INTO chatted with the crafter, content creator, and author about her flop era, how watching The Bachelor changed her life, and what it’s been like to have her TikTok community watch as she discovered her true self —and her queerness.

The first craft in the Sh*tty Craft Club book is a trophy in honor of literally anything we’ve achieved: Chopping an onion, having a good shower cry, making it through the day as a lactose intolerant person. Have you celebrated something like this recently?

Oh, of course. I don’t have time to make physical trophies for every little win, but here’s what I would have celebrated this month: Staying on my dad’s phone plan at age 34, remembering to defrost the salmon, finishing an incredible 7-city book tour and not dying!!!!

What’s the best part about your crafting spirit and queerness intertwining? 

Both come down to authenticity for me. Sh*tty crafts have opened me up to exploring my personal definition of joy, allowing an evolution of self expression through fashion and creativity, building community, and feeling my feelings! All that to say…the best part is getting to know myself a little better everyday. 

What are the highs and lows of navigating your queerness for the first time while building an online presence?

Ooooooh love this question. Gonna take the Virgo route with a bulleted list: 

Highs:

  • Connecting with an incredibly cool and supportive online community of queer creative geniuses.
  • Queerness <handshake emoji> Authenticity means I can explore anything that feels fun to me.
  • Watching my growth occur in real time! I can scroll back through my feed and tell you what I was thinking and feeling in every single video. I’ve worked really hard to build self-compassion and self-love, and I love that I can see my progress occur through my video work.  
  • Freedom to create whatever the f*ck I want! 

Lows:

  • Feeling like there’s a right and wrong way to be perceived as a queer femme. 
  • Moments where I tried to create content others want to see versus what I’m interested in—a.k.a rejecting authenticity in favor of perfection…which doesn’t exist.
  • Burnout. 
  • If any of this resonates, just know that you’re already queer enough just as you are, self-expression is always evolving so keep going! You are the most important audience for your art!!! I love you!!!!!

What do you consider your flop era and what did you learn from it?

Probably the era when I had a swoopy side bang the size of California, exclusively dated 6ft tall men with the personality of a bucket, and only wore…neutrals. It was less of a flop era and more of a “hide myself as much as possible so I don’t have to feel anything” era.

Lastly, what is a piece of pop culture that is not explicitly gay, but that helped you learn about your queerness?

The Bachelor. It helped me realize I never want to date a cis, straight man ever again 🙂 <insert internal scream here>. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can find Sam on Instagram and TikTok, and purchase the ‘Sh*tty Craft Club’ book here

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