Students jump at chance to “Make a Frog!”

“Make a Frog!,” hosted by ilLUstrator, was held on Thursday, Feb. 1. As the event progressed, the founder of Frog Club, junior Laura Friestad, was diligently working on templates for sewing frogs as an untenable number of students arrived to the event. Friestad stated, “I was expecting 10 people, not more than 30,” as they only put up 10 flyers for the event around campus.  

Friestad would later emphasize that the most important part of the process for them is “finishing and making a bunch of frogs.” There is something cathartic “about putting them all on a table and setting them up, and looking at your work; it’s something to be proud of.” 

Friestad’s passion for art started in childhood, though they admit that they never really sewed until arriving on campus during the pandemic, opting for digital art and other mediums. According to them, where their passion for frogs comes from is rather concrete.  

“I have loved frogs since I was a kid, though my sister is more of a frog person,” Friestad recalled. “We actually got a frog when I was four and she was seven: we named him Tom. He is currently 17 years old.”  

(Left to right) Compound Interval, Bob and Ohio. Photo provided by Laura Friestad.

They explained that during the pandemic they found a Tumblr page (@boigameista) that sparked this fervor of making frogs. They remember each frog that they make, and they still carry the first frog they’ve ever made. 

“Bob was the first frog that I made,” Friestad shared. “I made him on Dec. 31, 2021 with a childhood friend.” 

They stated that the hardest frogs are the smallest as “it’s hard to get right, while bigger frogs are more time-consuming.” Friestad mentioned that “it’s hard specifically to get the eyes right with the tiny frogs.” 

After discovering their passion for sewing frogs, they contemplated the idea of starting a frog club; they then realized that this passionate hobby could be shared within Lawrence’s art club, ilLUstrator. Friestad stated that “making a club is a little difficult, so previous years I’ve gone to ilLUstrator, I had made frogs there, and I asked the leaders of the groups if I could make frogs a part of the club, and they said, ‘Yeah, sure.’” 

Friestad worried that the club would be too niche and stated that they would start under the ilLUstrater later in the Winter Term of 2022. Though now in 2024, ilLUstrator’s frog faction is by no means just niche anymore, Friestad mentioning that the frog events usually have some of their best turnout.  

“Mostly it’s just me cutting out all the fabric, and I wanted to get more people involved, and didn’t have enough people come to events to qualify as a club,” Friestad stated. “So that’s why they did it under ilLUstrator.”  

A pyramid of stitched frogs created by Laura Friestad. Photo provided by Laura Friestad.

Friestad dedicates numerous hours to funding material for frog making and the club itself.  They often sell at the farmers market, raising money for events and the ilLUstrator. Club members refer to Friestad as the “Frorganizer” within their club. Though they are the main brain development behind frogs in ilLUstrator, Friestad credits juniors Kai Coley and Nat Wienke with helping them start the club. 

Friestad emphasizes that they really want others to be able to hold the things that they create. “Anyone can make them, and no experience is needed,” Friestad contended. “I borrowed my mom’s sewing supplies and learned how to use a needle and [tie] knots.” 

Each frog Friestad makes commemorates a point in their life and has a history behind it. “Charles: I made it during a class, when I met a speaker in class named Jamison Green, who actually named my creation.”  

Referencing another frog they named after a chord: “Compound Interval I made while taking aural skills; the chord was spelled as iv^7 4/3.”  

Their first “frog time” was when they asked for a frog event to be held for their floor. It was, in a sense, a proto-Frog Club, as they invited a couple of friends to the event, finding it a good communal experience.   

They describe the experience of textiles with frogs as “relaxing, stressful, fulfilled” in these three words. There is an enjoyment in “seeing others’ reaction[s].” Friestad spoke about the children that run up asking to get a frog at the supermarket and the people who ask “Did you make these yourself?” as leaving them with satisfaction.  

“‘It’s nice to just have the time to interact with other people, do stuff with your hands and connect, and at the end you have a couple of cute frogs,” Friestad said.  

This is Friestad’s junior year, and they ponder the legacy of the many frogs at Lawrence that they’ve left and will continue to leave behind. They hope to leave more frogs around campus, and plan on having another frog making event this Spring Term.