Time off gives me time to think, to clear my head of all the things I ‘have to’ do and allows my mind to wander more freely. There has been no plan for this week, I have merrily flitted from one thing to another in a gloriously random fashion and enjoyed the lack of routine.
By the end of the week I had tidied my sewing room (again), dug out some old projects and made little parcels for some special people. I visited some of my favourite places, read a lot and had numerous cups of tea and glasses of wine with some great people, ending with our friends’ wedding that both my feet and head have been recovering from today. There is always something life affirming about a wedding, all those people gathering in one place for people that are special to them.
I often think about the power that a group of people can generate and how people power can effect positive change. One person can successfully come up with an idea or start a ‘movement’ but it takes a collective to give it momentum, you only have to look at a dancefloor for evidence of this. I had an idea two years ago, to start to run craft therapy sessions that were both affordable and open to anyone. I was inspired by the ladies of Open House, a charity that was founded by a group of local women to support others with postnatal depression.
I had no funding and nowhere to run them but after talking to a friend James, who at the time ran the Creative Beeston page, we came up with plan. Having run a successful taster session, in association with an exhibition I had collaborated with Open House on and collected information via questionnaires, I found a venue willing to host us and ran our first Bee Creative session. It was well attended and I got such a buzz from teaching the class and enjoying their success when learning a new skill.
I managed to get a team of fab people together that Summer and we ran one class a month, in the spacious room above The Candela Shop in Beeston. Milly has recently become a mum and hasn’t done a class for a while but I can fee a pom-pom session coming on later this year, Marie has since sold her children’s jewellery business and is now a Pilates Physio, Morag has been a constant throughout and has led many of the current sessions, in fact she taught the first one of our sewing classes that are part of our NEW weekly sessions.
After we lost our space at The Candela Shop, due to its closure sadly, we went on tour. We set up our sessions in pubs, cafes and shop spaces in Beeston until something amazing happened, a new gift shop opened up in town, with a craft studio at the back. Lucy of Two Little Magpies was delighted for us to test drive her new space and we have been there ever since. And what has been really great to see is that both Lucy and Fiona are confident about running their own workshops and courses.
I think this shows what what a wonderful collaboration that turned out to be and continues to be. Although we are continuing to run ‘Crafty Catch Ups’ at Two Little Magpies, we have recently branched out and are now holding weekly craft sessions on Monday nights at Middle Street Resource Centre. As far as ‘craft therapy’ goes I really think these sessions are reaching the people I wanted to, and I am finding teaching these especially rewarding. Learning is empowering, I have learned a lot about myself and my ability to motivate others and so it goes.
These sessions may have been idea initially but without the support, encouragement and belief from others I could not have built up this momentum. I am hoping that these sessions will also give people the confidence to lead sessions in the future, and as well as giving the participants a creative outlet, they will provide them with useful skills they can put to good use. All sessions are self funded, either using donated materials or by participants making small donations to cover costs. I am proud of what we have achieved and grateful to the people who have helped make it happen.
Tomorrow I have some exciting news to share with the group. But for now, I had better get my act together with what we are actually going to be learning this week.
Until next week
and keep creating