LoogaBarooga Festival!

I had the immense pleasure this morning of joining with artists Jemma Bagley and James Chantry of Charnwood Arts at Charnwood Arts free creative drop in workshop as part of the LoogaBarooga festival in Loughborough.

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The LoogaBarooga festival is a new annual festival for families who love books and illustrated literature.

From 11am this morning we took over the LUArts Market Town Project Space in Carillon Court shopping centre. Jemma ran a badge making workshop whilst James ran a flipbook making workshop.

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Jemma sporting her lovely stitched badges whilst I faff about with needle and thread.

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Just 15 minutes into the workshop we were starting to burst at the seams with interested families all excited to join in with the activities, some even stayed and crashed on the bean bags to doodle whilst they waited for a space at the workshop table.

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Our Knitted Story – Now Open!

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‘Our Knitted Story’ is officially open.

Although we were still putting up some of the information boards today we are glad to open the exhibition to the public.

After all the kind words of passers by during the setting up it was great to finally step back and see the exhibiton as one, as though a mist was clearing.

The project title ‘Our Knitted Story’ encompasses everything from knitting to embroidery and soft sculpture; anything textiles based, focusing on 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 brings together stories and memories of knitting, crocheting and other textile based activities from the local community. With items and quotes from people who are members of groups and people who craft alone.

Our Knitted Story is Charnwood Arts Big Knitting Groups latest research project and incorporates a project undertaken by The Craftivists Collective and Falmouth University called the Craftivists Garden. We were at the launch in London last summer and then worked closely with the organisers, creating about 100 flowers for the project with various groups, which were then sent to London for an event at the Toynbee Hall in January. About a third of the flowers produced by people from around the UK are displayed here.

We also set the first year textiles students at LUSAD a brief to respond to the notion of the knitted story, with particular focus on their own personal histories and connections with textiles. Over 70 students created work as part of their course, with the work of 15 students being selected for exhibition.

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Images courtesy of Emily Lees

We also have some interesting facts about knitting supplied by Liz Dunajewska from the Big Knitting Group with illustrations by Paul Gent. There is also poetry, a yarn-bomb and a super hero in the exhibiton and a ‘History Pod’ with a few vintage items in from members of the group.

Thanks to everyone that took part in the project over the last few months. Visitors please add your stories to the ones in the comments book. We would love to add your story to the ones we have already collected.

Yours in Creativity

Project coordinators- Jemma Bagley and Sarah Green.

To view more images of the exhbition please follow the link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/117355698@N03/

Preparations

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Over the past year myself and Jemma Bagley of Charnwood Arts have been researching, running workshops and speaking with people all over the borough about their personal crafting histories all in preparation for The big Knitting groups latest project, ‘Our Knitted Story’ which will go on exhibition next week at Charnwood Museum. It will open on the 6th June and will be up for a month.

In September 2014 we became involved with The Craftivist Collectives project, ‘The Craftivists Garden #wellMAKING, and as a result of this we formed friendships which have continued and grown. The Flowers made for the project have made their way to us after the final Craftivist event in January 2015 and we now have about a third of the flowers from the project (the others are in London and Cornwall for other events).

This past week we (with the help of Jemma Twells) have been frantically working away, getting things in frames, sewing flowers to banners, making hoops, collating quotes from the public etc. We will begin setting up the exhibition at Charnwood Museum next week and we hope that all our planning and prep will keep us in good stead for the week ahead.

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We also had some lovely art works arrive at Charnwood office this week thanks to Kristy and her adult creative classes in Hinkley. We were so pleased when we saw what had been made. We had some fun making a mushroom forest before we were pulled away from our shinanigans and back to work.

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