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.

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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.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Radical-Gardening-Politics-Idealism-Rebellion/dp/0711230307/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422733170&sr=1-3&keywords=George+McKay

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

https://www.flickr.com/photos/117355698@N03/sets/72157650579818105/

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.

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