Enchanted Garden Brief

Do you want to get involved in Charnwood Arts Big Knitting Group’s project?

Simply open the pdf attachment below to find out all you need to know to get involved.

Enchanted Garden Brief


1st Year Textile students from Loughborough University get involved

For the last month or so 1st year textile students at the University have been working to a brief that was set by myself with a great deal of help from Kerry at the University, in order to make work for the Big Knitting Groups latest project.

On Wednesday morning we were finally able to go and view the work the students have been doing all over Christmas. I can honestly say that we were excited about all the work we saw and we picked a large selection of work from at least 16  students that we hope will become a part of the Our Knitted Story exhibition.

I would just like to say a huge thanks to Kerry for all her help and support with this project, she has been wonderful and it has been great to get the students involved in this project.

New beginnings sprout from inspiring endings

Craftivists Garden #wellMAKING event in London 27th January 2015

On Tuesday 27th I travelled with my colleague from Charnwood Arts, Jemma Bagley, to the finale of the Craftivist Garden #wellMAKING project. The event took place at the historic Toynbee Hall, a resplendent building nestled amongst the modern buildings that are tagged to it. A little gem, and the perfect location to mark the end of the Craftivist Garden project.

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After spending the afternoon rummaging through the 750 flowers made by participants all over the UK for the project and also crafting a few more little flowers to add to that number we were treated to a number of presentations from some truly inspiring people. Including Falmouth University’s Fiona Hackney, Craftivist Collective director Sarah Corbett, Head of the Craft Council John McMahon, Director of Arts for Health Cornwall Jayne Howard, PHD researcher at Falmouth University Sarah Desmarais and AHRC Leadership Fellow George McKay.


What a line up. What an inspiration.

Sarah Desmarais gave a poignant rendition of observations she has made for her research of participants at workshops, whilst Sarah Corbett excited everyone in the room with a most uplifting talk about the project, her experiences of it and what she hopes for the future. John McMahon was able to present the workings of the Craft Council with a delightful yet informative passion despite recovering from a cold. Jayne Howard has a brilliant mind, her talk was inspirational, uplifting, informative and down-right amazing, it was a privilege to hear her speak in person. Talks were concluded by George McKay, and what a conclusion it was. George wrapped up proceedings by reading a snippet from one of his publications, a witty and playful insight into the world of the radical gardening.


Although the event was designed as the end of the project, it instead seemed to spark a number of new beginnings. It just goes to show that the garden is destined to keep on growing. Since the event Jemma from Charnwood Arts has already made plans to work with Art in the Park London, Artworks Somerset and Alison Mayne, a PHD researcher at Sheffield Hallam. Watch this space for more information on Alison’s research and a chance to get involved. I have also received interest from the editors of the Mollie Makes magazine for my work and research into the gender biases in craft practices.

It is my hope that what was started here in London by a collaboration between the Craftivist Collective and Falmouth University shall be continued and developed upon in the new connections made on Tuesday.

What more can I say, the event was a roaring success and has thrown open the doors for many more projects and collaborations to come.

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To see more images from the event follow the link below


Charnwood Arts coverage: http://www.charnwoodarts.com/news/2015/01/craftivists_garden_london_event

Don’t forget the Craftivists Garden flowers will be on show as part of ‘Our Knitted Story’ exhibition at Charnwood Museum over June 2015.

Knit one Purl one…Radio 4 gets knitting.

Check out Radio 4 for a selection of programmes dedicated to celebrating the art and the act of knitting.



The programmes range from looking at the history of knitting from the American revolution to modern Geurrilla knitters with Jane Garvey to telling the intimate story of life during the Libyan war through the eyes of people who battled their own fears to step out of Gaddafi’s dark shadow, to featuring Kaffe Fassett on Desert Island Disks, even looking into wool farming and finally a very interesting discussion with David Gauntlett, author of Making is Connecting to discuss making things, creating communities and what counts as craftsmanship.

There is something for everyone.

RawArt continued…

Hi as promised here are some more images of some of the artworks being created by the members of the RawArt Group for their latest project Flotsam and Jetsam.

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These delightfully adorable yet surreal little creatures were made by Michael and have been the inspiration for the overall project.

Here are some more pics of these little beasties up close and personal

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Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks…

Richard Rutt – Bishop of Leicester and avid knitter

Hi All,

Charnwood Arts Big Knitting Group are heading up a new project entitled ‘Our Knitted Story’ which culminates in an exhibition at Charnwood Museum in June.

Call out to all Crafters!! contains details on how you can get involved with the project either by crafting objects for the installation which will also be a story telling environment, ‘The Enchanted Garden’ or by sending us your own crafting stories.

Other exhibits will include:

A collaboration with Loughborough University’s School of the Arts, where 1st year Textile students were given a brief, to create artworks/objects/garments that responded to the notion of deconstruction and reconstruction with reference to their own personal family history and connections with textiles. 

Craft stories from the local community

Knitted, crocheted and stitched flowers from our collaboration with The Craftivist Collective and Falmouth University on the project Craftivists Garden #wellMAKING.

Knitted items from the Big Knitting Group members

Artworks, fantasy creatures and foliage from the RawArt group

The story of Richard Rutt, Leicesters knitting Bishop.

As project co-ordinator and academic researcher for the project it is my job to find out as much as possible about Richard Rutt and whilst finding out about his publications and such will be simple enough I would like to present the real Richard Rutt.

The focus of the exhibition is on personal craft stories and histories therefore I would like to find out more about his personal connection to knitting. Such as how did he come to his craft, did he share his craft with anyone, is there anything he hated knitting, did he have any knitting disasters and/or success, what inspired him and what propelled him to write and research it.

With that in mind I would like to invite anyone who may have known Richard Rutt personally or who may have heard stories or know where I could find out more about the real man behind the needles to get in touch with me at s.c.green-12@alumni.lboro.ac.uk.

Thank you!



Starting this January the Charnwood Arts RawArt group have been working on a new project entitled Flotsam and Jetsam for exhibition at the Bradgate Unit in Leicester.

Using recycled and found materials the participants of the group have been creating some interesting and wonderful sculptures of fantastical creatures, some of which may make their way to the Big Knitting Groups exhibition.

For more info on the BKG follow the link: http://www.charnwoodarts.com/projects/big_knitting_group

Here is just a little update on how the members of RawArt are getting on.

At last Tuedays session I ran a wire manipulation workshop. We ran through a few hints and tips on the best ways to handle single thread wire and chicken wire. Below are some images to show how they got on.


Following the pinterest board, some members of the group decided to turn their hands to textiles.

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This piece has been created from chicken wire and covered in plaster of paris to form a hard shell which is now starting to look fab as it gets covered in crochet. It reminds me of silver birch tree bark.

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These textile pieces will soon be constructed and connected together to form a large lovely leafy tree.

More updates on the group’s progress as it happens…

Call out to all Crafters!!

Charnwood Arts Big Knitting Group – Our Knitted Story

Our Knitted Story is The Big Knitting Groups latest research project and will culminate in an exhibition and installation at Charnwood Museum in the summer of 2015.


The project title ‘Our Knitted Story’ encompasses everything from knitting to embroidery and soft sculpture, anything textiles based, focusing however on hand knitting, the connections, bonds, memories and stories it creates through generations and across cultures. The deliberate use of the word Knitted in the title of the project refers to its use as a term to describe a cause to unite, become united, unify, become one, come together, become closer, band together, bond.

The focus of the project is on personal histories of hand crafting and will bring together stories and memories of knitting, crocheting and other textile based activities from the local community. As well as looking into the history of local Leicestershire Bishop Richard Rutt, who in October 1979 was named the Bishop of Leicester. He was also an avid knitter and authored the book A history of Hand Knitting in 1987.

Also as part of the exhibition there will be an installation entitled ‘The Enchanted Garden’, which will be used as a story telling environment and will be open to storytellers and other groups for the duration of the exhibition. The installation will also include all the flowers created for the #wellMAKING Craftivists Garden as an extension of the research into crafts ability to aid wellbeing.

Students from Loughborough University’s School of the Arts textile department have also been making objects for the installation.

We would also like to invite you to make items for the garden and send them to us at Charnwood Arts. We would like leaves, stars, mushrooms, toadstools and ladybirds. Be creative and don’t feel restricted by reality. We would however like to limit the colours that will be used in the installation to, metallics, purples, blues, reds and neutral colours, white, greys, browns. Please check out the dedicated Pinterest board for the project


For inspiration and further info. You can re pin images and follow the board.

We would also love you to send us a short piece of writing (no more than 200 words) telling us about your own crafting story. For example how did you come to your craft, how does it make you feel when you craft, do you share your craft and who with etc.

Unfortunately we will be unable to return any items unless a stamp (of appropriate amount) and return address are included, but be assured that all work created for the installation will not be sold on, they will be used as in future storytelling events and projects. Deadline for your lovely crafted creations and your stories is Friday 1st May 2015.

Post to:

Charnwood Arts

27 Granby Street,




Phone number 01509822558





If you have any queries or questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with either myself or Jemma Bagley

Sarah Green – s.c.green-12@alumni.lboro.ac.uk

Jemma Bagley – jemmab@charnwoodarts.com

Craft, Connect, Reflect, Challenge & Grow

As mentioned in previous posts I have been a partner in the Craftivists Garden project #wellMAKING. Helping facilitate a number of workshops across Loughborough and Leicester with Jemma Bagley of Charnwood Arts.

Well, in a few weeks time we will finally see the culmination of all our efforts and those of the other facilitators all across the UK at the Garden Party Launch at Toynbee Hall. Needless to say that the objectives of the project will continue to develop and grow, despite this part of the project being completed. I know that myself and many others included will continue to craft to aid wellbeing, to improve society in our own little ways and to help others find craft and develop their own skills. I only hope that people all over the UK and further afield will also pick up sticks, pins and needles to help continue the research and for the pure enjoyment also.

So to everyone involved, including participants, facilitators all over the UK and of course those involved in setting up the project initially; Fiona Hackney of Falmouth University, Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective and Arts and Health Cornwall, a great big thank you!

Finally to see images of the lovely flowers crocheted, knitted and stitched here in Loughborough and Leicester visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/117355698@N03/sets/72157649284488349/


You won’t be disappointed.



Where: THE LECTURE HALL, TOYNBEE HALL, LONDON, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS


12.00 – 5.00:  Stitch-in Workshops and discussion including afternoon tea at 3.00

5.30 – 9.00: Drinks and Speakers: including Sarah Corbett Craftivist Collective, Jayne Howard Arts for Health Cornwall, John McMahon Crafts Council, Daniel Carpenter Voluntary Arts England, George McKay, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Dr Fiona Hackney Falmouth University

Taking the flower garden as a metaphor for flourishing, the activist project Craftivists Garden has been raising consciousness about crafts and health. Hundreds of crafters from across the UK and Ireland have participated, making flowers and sharing thoughts about crafting for wellbeing through project ‘stitch-ins’, blogs, the project app, and on Twitter via #wellMAKING.

The Garden Party is an opportunity to view over 400 beautiful flowers hand-made by participants and read their thoughts and reflections. You are invited for afternoon tea while taking part in live ‘stitch-ins’ run by project facilitators, and/or evening drinks and discussion with invited speakers.

Craftivists Garden is a project that moves beyond any simple conception of therapeutic craft to explore how making can operate as a tool for critical thinking and help us grapple with the big issues that affect our lives, so there is plenty to talk about!

All attendees will receive a free copy of the Craftivists Garden booklet, which gives you all the information you need to run your own #wellMAKING event.

Please sign up for one or both of these events at: http://www.falmouth.ac.uk/content/garden-party-craftivists-garden-wellmaking

Or go direct to the Eventbrite page at: http://craftivistgarden.eventbrite.co.uk


We look forward to seeing you at the Craftivists Garden Party.

For more information please see the Project websites:



and http://www.falmouth.ac.uk/materialvisualculture