On Saturday I attended a BBC Learning pilot event at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Not sure what to expect at Meet the Crafter I tried to get into the buzz beforehand by taking up Eno Eruotor’s (BBC North West Tonight) ‘How to Customise Challenge'. After watching her video and getting inspired, crafters were invited to post their creations on Twitter #meetthecrafter. The invitation came with a handy 'How to' on Twitter for those who hadn't used this platform before and judging from the hash tag search not many had. The day started well with lots of sunshine and a group of very excited crafters. There were mostly women so it was nice to see the odd man amongst the groups. As it happens there was the lovely James Boardwell from Folksy. I felt a little bad mentioning that I had not been impressed a few years ago and then signed up to Etsy but he soon convinced me that Folksy had had a complete overhaul. I am sure that with Pinterest this will become my new favourite website to look for all things beautiful, lovely and inspiring. Their flyer is stunning.
The morning session involved a kind of 'speed dating' for crafters. Every seven minutes we had to move to another table to hear from various crafters. Unfortunately the time went very quickly and not all speakers had business cards (remember those?) so I am unable to recall them all but I was most pleased to finally meet Andrea Lord of &made. Her studio is in the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, well worth a visit.
The afternoon session was the hands-on part of the day. There were four workshops to choose from: Visual Art (no idea what to expect there), upcycling, upholstery and vintage fashion. Being a seasoned upcycler and upholsterer I choose vintage fashion. Unfortunately due to 'infestations' in vintage clothing our workshop leader was not allowed to bring these items into the museum so it became a re-fashioning and upcycling workshop instead. Our leader, Geraldine from Made at Green View was lovely and showed us some nice tricks with men's shirts (see below).
Geraldine had brought some fabrics and old and unused items of clothing for us to play with. I wasn't quite sure about the brief, whether it was for ourselves, for someone else, whether to finish in the afternoon or later at home and then felt a bit distracted as there was one participant who tried a little too much to make herself known. There's always one, isn't there... Anyway I grabbed the first two textiles that were in front of me. One was a lemon coloured, rather dull Gap t-shirt and the other a colourful silk scarf.
I got to work in my usual style (of handling that is, not colour and materials), ripping some fabrics apart. I cut some seams off to make it less dull, covered a few buttons and made a bow with some of the shredded strips of scarf.
Having been told it was just to dress of the mannequin, this is what I did and then had a look around what the others were up too. I think if I'd known a bit more about the workshops in advance I would definitely have chosen the soft furnishing one as the fabrics were lovely and I could have done with another cushion on the sofa. I got to take the shirt home in the end, and it is certainly wearable but not my colours and style, I am sure I can please someone with it though. But moaning aside there were some lovely people in my group, especially Mami, who took the pictures of us in action and really nice BBC volunteers who all seemed a little overwhelmed by the action I think.
The day finished with a short show and tell (see the action below) and who knows as a result of our enthusiasm this type of event might be rolled out across the country and across other areas of activities. I don't think I learnt a new craft or got new ideas but I got to meet lots of really nice new people and caught up with those that I hadn't seen for a while. Thank you BBC, hope all goes well with putting the footage together. looking forward to seeing some of it.
For more pictures from other participants please see the links on Twitter: #meetthecrafter.