Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Big Draw :: The biggest crochet sculpture in the world.

I had a couple of lovely days at Snibston Discovery Museum recently.  I was asked to run some drop-in workshops over half term for 'The Big Draw' event.  We didn't exactly draw anything, but with did use our fingers and yarn to do a bit of knitting - a kind of creative drawing exercise with wool!
We had a massive source of inspiration in front of us, in the form of the biggest single handed crochet sculputure in the world -the 3 lions that made up the Lionheart Project which currently reside in the museum.  I have done lots of work that complements this project, and I was really pleased to be asked to run these workshops.
Over the 2 days that I was there, we had over 60 visitors pass by and have a go at finger knitting, French knitting on home made looms and some of the smaller visitors had a go with using a crochet hook to thread yarn onto mini lions.
Lots of fun and wonderment was had by all and parents entered into the spirit of the creative process while those awesome lions gazed down.  One little boy pointed to them and said 'I want to make one of those please'.  Sit right down and lets get started!...
And whilst all these fingers were busy there was the occassional glance up towards the lions and questions followed about how the lions were made and how can you make those with just a hook? What's underneath them?  Why were they made?  Who made them?  What are they made with?  
We had a stash of the wool that was left over from the project so visitors where able to have a feel of the yarn used to make the lions.
 Little fingers making their first tentative steps into the world of yarn...
And lots of lovely things were created.  Children feel a sense of achievement when the create something meaninful...
Headbands were very popular!
Thank you to Claire and Jayne for helping me with this workshop over the 2 days.  It was fun!

Free Finger Knitting Tutorial

Wellbeing Hi-5 :: Stitchcraft and Poetry part 3

The third poetry and stitchcraft work workshop for the Wellbeing Hi -5 celebrations with Lindsey Warnes Carroll, took place in Loughborough Library and was for a specially selected group of daycare centre users and their carers which made it a different experience to our first and second workshops
Participants where inspired by the range of  effective multi-sensory experiences we provided.  Participants talked about their childhood memories  of climbing, and playing under, trees whilst digging deep into our tub of autumn leaves and smelling their musky scents.
Carers were on hand to help with the creative making process, supporting those that stuggled with the fine motor skills that were required for the creative making part of the workshop...
It was great to see carers involved and absorbed in the creative making.  Lindsey and myself feel strongly that carers need caring for too!
 And here are some of the finished creations...

To find out more about ours workshops and community groups go to the events page on the website.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Wellbeing Hi-5 :: Stitchcraft and Poetry part 2

The second workshop for the Wellbeing Hi - 5 Celebrations, with Lindsey Warnes Carroll, was much bigger than our first workshop and was all female.  Some of the participants knew each other but most did not.  Our workshops start with introductions and we do something called the 'name game'.  This was something that I discovered in my days as a research nurse when I went on a 'train the trainer' course run by Cancer Research UK.  Participants are asked to write the name, they like to be called by, onto a piece of card.  They are invited to draw pictures, around their name, of the things that mean something to their name or pictures of their hobbies or interests to encourage a starting point for conversations. To inspire the creative making process we shared a wide range of poems covering the different stages of life and emotions inviting participants to doodle whilst we did this.  The doodles provided the inspiration for the creation of the wall hangings...
 Although the group was big the environment the group was very supportive with lots of idea sharing.  A diverse range of discussions and people felt safe to share their innermost thoughts and feelings which impacted on our wellbeing as workshop facilitators.  It was humbling to be part of this experience.  
Here are a few of the wall hangings that were created at the workshop:

 To Autumn, John Keats
At the end of the workshop we asked our participants to complete a sentance to give us an idea of how they felt after doing this workshop.  Here are some of the responses:

I feel...

...'happy.  It was a lovely session and has made me feel more confident that I will try another'

...'happy and a sense of achievement'

...'more confident to finish my work at home,  Found it relaxing'


...'Inspired (hopefully)'


...'Peaceful and pleased with myself'

...'Quite elated.  Forgot my problems for a while'

...'Inspired to write and read poetry and do more creative craft work'

Following the workshop we had an email from a participant who was inspired to write this poem and finish off her beautiful wall hanging:



Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter,

Seasons of the year.

Each one brings something different,

Yet each holds something dear.

From child to youth to adulthood,

Then on to elderly man.

These stages have not been reversed

Since life on earth began.

And so the hands are never still,

The clock just ticks away.

The changes are quite subtle

But they're happening each day.

So, don't sit idle meditating,

Looking for the reason.

Make sure you live and love and laugh

And enjoy every season.

written by Carol Mogano

                inspired by the Poetry & Textiles Workshop in Hinckley Library 10th October 2013
Carols finished wall hanging alongside her poem:

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wellbeing Hi-5 :: Stitchcraft and Poetry part 1

Although I believe I am quite creative, when it comes to writing words, I seem to struggle.  I am dyslexic, but not in the classical way where letters appear back to front, or word and sentence structures confusing.  I have an auditory kind of dyslexia or Auditory Processing Disorder which affects how I process information and has a dramatic effect on my ability to put pen to paper. Most people would automatically structure, say, an essay, into sentences and paragraphs, with a fairly clear sense of direction, with introduction and conclusion. When I try to do this, all my information comes at me at once, and everything becomes a complicated fuzz!

I love to read, and I love to listen to stories but processing written words is a complete nightmare for me.  I cope with it by enlisting help.  I have a very supportive partner who reads, more or less, everything I publish in this blog.  It is all my own words, but the grammar/structure is checked by him.  I have a friend who is a fabulous support to the community work we are involved with,   and I also have had a mentor to help with my business development. I also have ongoing support, via the dyslexic association, to help with administrative tasks such as grant writing, which is an enormous help.  

When I  was asked if I wanted to run workshops within libraries around a literature/poetry theme for the Wellbeing Hi-5 celebrations taking place in Leicestershire this month, I approached with some trepidation because of my difficulty with words. But the person who approached me, Lindsey Warnes Carroll, is a writer, storyteller, performer and a good person all round!  We sat down, put our heads together and came up with a workshop that combines both of our creative talents.  Lindsey was more than happy to put my thoughts together with hers and the outcome was a workshop called "Inspired to Create and Make Others Smile".

Our proposal was approved by Creative Leicestershire and we were commissioned to deliver 3 workshops within library settings in Leicestershire. Quite apart from the joy of working with Lindsey, and delivering workshops to people who need support, these workshops boosted my own confidence in my ability to use strategies and resources to overcome my own APD.

The images that follow are from our first workshop.  We combined the poetry with sensory experiences. Lindsey invited participants to taste a strawberry whilst I read out the poem 'Strawberries' by Edwin Morgan ...

The combination of listening to poetry and eating strawberries inspired creativity.  Just what we hoped for:
 Memories of trips out to the seaside...
 Hands at work stitching together a wall hanging...
 Making others smile - this picture really makes me smile!
 Stitching buttons onto and autumn leaf inspired wall hanging...
 These autumn leaves where used as a sensory experience for our poems about the seasons changing.  "They smell of whiskey" said one of our participants!