Make and Mend Workshops

Details of 5 February 2019 Tote Bag Workshop:

Having made a new stripy tote bag, Penny can now transport all her scuba diving equipment much more easily

Tote bag workshop – our last workshop for this round…

It never ceases to amaze me how much pleasure can be gained admiring the fruits of one labour. Eleven sewing warriors joined the last of the Make and Mend workshops. The evening went by too quickly and many of the tote bags had to be finished off at home.

Old redundant curtains, a curtain sample book and even a deck chair canvass were typical examples of the fabric used to construct a unique tote bag. Much of the fabric used would at some point probably have been sent to landfill.

I’d like to say a big thank you to those who donated off-cuts of fabric and old curtains.

Maggi toner Edgar was the leader on this workshop and Maggi kindly allowed us to use one of her own bag patterns. Maggi’s expertise was greatly appreciated.

Overall the Make and Mend project has been a huge success. All the workshops, except one, have been well attended. I know that sewing machines have been dragged out of cupboards never having seen the light of day for years. The workshops have renewed interest in creatively making new items from used fabrics.

The one workshop that received very little interest was the mending one. This workshop was primarily aimed at young mums. Some will do mending but after a bit of market research it would seem that young mums and dads for that matter are time poor. If both parents are out at work then sparing the time to patch trousers and mend socks is difficult when added to all the other activities and necessities of life.

Creating anything with one’s own hand generates a profound and deep sense of satisfaction. It doesn’t matter what level of expertise one has it is just the act of actually doing something different that requires concentration. It sort of slows life down and gives the brain a rest. Life can be a bit too busy and a little too noisy. Believe it or not there are spells during the workshop where not a word is spoken and no one actually notices. Everyone is busy and thinking only of the project in front of them. An added benefit to the workshops is companionship gained by joining with like-minded people; something that cannot be bought.

I will be writing a short report for the sponsors of this project. The report will cover things such as what worked and what didn’t and assessing each workshop to see if it fulfilled Cumbria County Council’s key priorities of skill sharing, mental wellbeing etc. Hopefully we achieved these whilst creatively recycling and thus extending the lifespan of materials keeping them out of landfill for longer.

The Melbreak Communities also supported this project as it fits well with the aims and objectives of the Community Action Plan. Look at the website for the full plan.

Also, without the in-put from Arwen at the shop, Maggi Toner Edgar leading the workshops and even I managed and thoroughly enjoyed leading one this project would not have been so successful. But the people to thank most are those that came along.

I would also like to thank the people who took the bookings for Loweswater Village Hall and the Yew Tree Hall for being helpful and flexible by allowing us to re-schedule some workshops. It seemed like we managed to clash with everything from women’s tennis at Wimbledon to the local Church Fair.

Glenis Postlethwaite February 2019.

Happy Christmas from the Make and Mend project

This December the project has delivered three workshops focussed on making Christmas decorations.

We all, well may be more accurately lots of us, have draws and cupboards with unwanted and not-needed bits and pieces that in the right hands can be recycled or upcycled into something unique. The worst thing possible to do with these items is to send them to landfill. Who would believe that curtain rings, pretty ribbon from last years’ birthday bouquet or sacks used for transporting coffee beans could be transformed into Christmas decorations? The only thing limiting this sort of transformation is one’s imagination.

The first two of our three workshops were held at Lorton School and there was no shortage of creative ability there. Each child is different but all gave their very best effort and the results were amazing. It was a real pleasure to play a small part in their creative endeavours. Children are the original creative up-cyclers.

The last session was for slightly older children…adults! Again there was no lack of skill or imagination. It is amazing how quiet it is around the table when everyone is concentrating!

In the photographs above the ‘socks’ are made from curtain interlining, the stars use coffee sacks, the ‘hoops’ are left over curtain rings, the rustic disc is corrugated card used primarily for the padding inside parcels, the silver is from coffee bag lining….all these items normally find their way into landfill sites. No two people create the same item from the same raw materials, everything is free and the pleasure and companionship gained during the creative process is impossible to value!

A hive of activity,

even those that were not actively involved were interested to see what was going on. 

The Make and Mend project in funded through Cumbria County Council and The Melbreak Communities.

We hope to hold more workshops early next year…only a few weeks away now. If you are interested to join in or indeed if you have an idea please do email or telephone me.

01900 85958 or glenis@borderhydro.co.uk

What’s been going on ….November 2018

Rag Wreaths and other proddy projects

The Make and Mend series of events saw an excellent turn-out for the Rag Wreath workshop.

Some fourteen adults of various ages and five children all under 10years of age learned the art of proddy-rug making. The aim of the workshop was to demonstrate how old clothes and odd remnants of fabric can be used to create decorative items with a contemporary twist.

The adults made the wreaths whilst the children prodded a small piece of sacking that was to be used to adorn the top of their Christmas stocking. The stocking itself was made from well-worn old blankets and the sacking from modern-day coffee-bean sacks.

Everyone was delighted with their work. All viewed the evening as learning a new skill.

It is amazing that this old craft was viewed as a new skill. I remember my grandfather, who was born in 1889, telling me about his whole family sat round the fire each winter evening prodding rugs by candlelight. The end product was probably the only type of rug in the house. In those days little was wasted simply because there was so little to be had in the first place.

During the course of the evening we all had the opportunity to enter into the landfill debate and some said they would go away thinking about changing their ways when it comes to disposing of old clothes. The evening rekindled most people’s creativity and best of all there was a warmth and feeling of mutual interest and friendship. This is something that I don’t think is achievable while watching the telly!

Lorton School is our next venue to work with children from years two and three. The children will be encouraged to create Christmas decorations from all sort of things that usually end up in the bin…from the little bells tied round the necks of those delicious chocolate rabbits…bits of ribbon originally used to make gifts look pretty, old jewellery, scraps of fabric, the list is endless…One thing is certain that each item created will be unique!

And also remember we will be making Christmas Decorations at The Melbreak Community coffee and cakes morning in December. Children and adults are equally welcome to join in. Do bring bits and bobs with you.

Many thanks to Cumbria County Council and The Melbreak Communities for supporting this project.

October 2018

Make and Mend workshops progress report.

Jumpers to Mitts – 11th October 2018.

Such a simple idea – by the end of the evening most people had a pair of mitts made. It is very satisfying to see the end product and to be able to say, “I made those and they cost me nothing”.

It was a small group but all were very industrious. We probably saved the equivalent of three or four jumpers going into landfill.   The evening also gave us ideas of how to use the rest of the jumper.

Sheep cushions – 16th October 2018

A diverse group of twelve people met at Loweswater Village Hall. We had two ten year old children, 4 somewhere around the age of forty and the rest of us were a tad older than that. We had a very busy and productive evening and have ended up with a new flock of sheep in the valley! The evening was fun and therapeutic. Everyone left on a high and many booked for the next workshop which is Rag Wreaths.

I estimate that this evening saved in the region of 3kg of fabric going into landfill. But the best thing of all is that the seeds of other ideas were sown. I do believe some grandchildren may be in receipt of a unique, handmade present this Christmas.

Great oaks from little acorns grow……….

It is a big thank you to Cumbria County Council and The Melbreak Communities for supporting our Make and Mend project.

If anyone would like to come along to the Rag Wreath workshop on Thursday 15th of November now in the Yew Tree Hall due to numbers! Please do give me a call Glenis on 01900 85958 or email glenis@borderhydro.co.uk

Ends.

Recent activity:

(hello Harry and Eve).

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