Category Archives: Uncategorized

Summer update

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Lots has been happening with Crafts & Company as the summer season gets underway.  Tuesday 20th June was our second Arran Crafts Fayre.  Wall to wall sunshine that day meant we were a little quiet but it was still a lovely day.  The hall looked spectacular with all the handmade goodies for sale.  Many of the stallholders spent their time crafting and this was much appreciated by our visitors.  People don’t always understand the work that goes into producing something handmade so this was our chance to share our creative processes.  Children were attracted to our ‘make and take workshop’ as they used stamps to decorate and personalise a fabric pencil case.  All this activity required regular refreshing from the very wonderful tearoom run by the talented Cheryl.

Crafts Club in July was a wee bit special as we made dreamcatchers.  We offer a different craft each month and Linda taught us about the cultural implications of dreamcatchers before showing us all how to make them.  Every dreamcartcher was different as people discovered how to make them personal.  It was a very therapeutic session and much enjoyed.  In August (15th) we are decorating our glassware with straw silk papers and this promises to be a lovely wee pause in what is a very busy time for our collective.  All are most welcome at club.  Just bring your glassware to decorate and we will provide the rest and refreshments.  Cost is just £6.

July sees us completing our Knit-a-Square campaign and a rather large parcel will be sent to the orphans in South Africa.  We will update you on a numbers etc after the end of July.  Squares are coming in all the time and we are so grateful for the support.

We are right in the middle of planning our next charity crafting project and this one is our most ambitious yet.  We aim to set up an email distribution list for anyone who would like to become involved in our charity projects – just complete the form below if you would like to be added.  We can’t say anything more about our next one just yet but hope to announce all on our facebook page by the beginning of August.

During the summer we have been supporting our very own island Duke of Edinburgh group.  Their expedition costs can be prohibitive so we want to do our bit to help.  We have been busy making felt animals and beaded bracelets to sell at our fayres.  If you would like to make a felted animal decoration the kits are £1.50 and we are grateful for all donations of completed animals to sell.  All profits go to the Duke of Edinburgh and so far we have raised just over £60.  More information on that as the summer progresses.

Making connections has been an ongoing theme for our wee collective.  Two of our members are taking part in Arran Open Studios from 11th-14th August.  Fiona & Coral are putting together a wee exhibition that shows how to work creatively with waste by using a range of upcycling skills.  There is also a chance for visitors to have a go themselves at producing a work of art from waste.  We are delighted to announce that Fiona has made a national final for one of her ‘waste art pieces’.  It is an online exhibition with EcoCreate and her piece is the blue bowl on the right hand side of the first row.  Prizes are announced on the 1st August and we wish her all the best.  Crafts & Company is also a member of the Arran Art Trail and this offers us further publicity options.  We want to make as many connections with crafting groups and organisations on and off the island.  We have set up a new page for local craft groups to be able to share their information and events so if anyone is a member of a group do get in touch.  If you are a member of an off island group do let us know what you do as we are always looking for partners especially for our charity campaigns.

Crafts & Company are working on a new structure that has seeped over from the US.  Craft Clinics and Craft Laboratories are proving very popular in the US and we love the idea.  Craft Clinics are drop in events where people can learn new skills.  Craft Laboratories are also drop in events but this time the emphasis is on experimentation.  Crafts & Company are going to adopt this model going forward to put in place a workshop programme that allows for new skills to be gained and experimentation to be enjoyed.

We begin with our very first Craft Clinic and Coffee Morning on Tuesday 26th September in Whiting Bay hall.  A range of craft skills will be available to include free motion machine embroidery, working with wire in jewellery making and paper quilling in paper crafts.  One more is yet to be confirmed.  These four skills will be offered by experienced tutors and you can drop in and have a go at one or more of the clinics.  More information will be published on our facebook page and on our events page on this site.

We will be following this up with a Craft Laboratory involving experimentation with painting on different surfaces.  We hope to put together a whole winter programme of Craft Clinics and Laboratories giving us all even more opportunities to learn new skills and play with creative ideas.

So, there is lots happening in Crafts & Company and we will update you all here regularly.  We have a very lively facebook page for those of you on facebook.    At just half way through the year we are going really well and crafting is very much alive and kicking on the Isle of Arran.

Best wishes to you all,

Marion, Linda, Coral, Paula, Liz. Morag & Fiona

Crafts & Company.

 

 

New team, new venture – a crafting opportunity

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It has been a busy old time at Crafts & Company since two became seven!  Liz, Morag, Paula, Marion, Linda, Fiona & Coral make up the fabby 7 and their attention has turned to developing selling opportunities on the island for all things ‘handmade’.  The fabby 7 share a love of craft and crafting so have hatched a wee plan to host a monthly Arran Crafts Fayre in Whiting Bay Hall on the 3rd Tuesday of every month through to October.  The first fayre is set in the diary as Tuesday 20th June from 11-3pm.

Sadly Coral was poorly this day so missed the photo.

The idea of the day is to give crafters the chance to have a stall and sell their gorgeous handmade things but the fabby 7 want it to be more than that.  So they have planned a ‘Male & Take’ mini workshop for each fayre that is on a drop in basis and will last for an hour.  After which, participants will be able to take home what they have made.  The workshops start at 11.30. 12.30 and 1.30 and will all be price to be affordable and accessible.  The one for June will introduce crocheting with a chance to crochet a wee square to take away.  As a group we get more requests for crocheting classes than any other craft.   Of course, these Make & Takes are an optional extra for the fayre.

The hope is that by getting as many crafters in one place at one time new ideas, collaborations and conversations will begin allowing the crafting revolution to take another roll forward.

To make this work we need everyone who takes a stall to help promote it especially as word of mouth is so important in such a small community.  Our social network sites will have lots of activity relating to the fayre in the coming weeks, posters will be going up and an advert will be going in the Banner.  If you are a crafter living on the island and you would like to join us just complete the form below or message us via facebook and we will send you a booking form.  If you are new to crafting and would like to put just a few things into sell we could set up a table just for new crafters and you could maybe take it in turns man it?

We are also on the hunt for anyone who would like to run a wee tea shop at the monthly event.  Just tea/coffee and cakes – so if you know of anyone do pass on the details – thank you so much.

If you run a craft club on the island and would like to recruit new members and share what you do we can offer half tables to make that affordable.  We are also having a welcome table and can take flyers, business cards etc for any craft business, clubs or events.  Just contact us with details.  Thanks you.

Any questions or messages always welcome.   We are planning other events and we already run a monthly Craft Club with a different craft every month.  Details on our facebook page or just message and we will reply asap.

Happy Crafting people.

The Crafts & Company Collective.  

 

A wee take over

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On this glorious sunny day on the island we announce that Crafts & Company has been taken over by a collective of 7 ladies – the magnificent 7.

Coral and I founded the company almost a year ago and in that time it has developed wings and taken flight.  We ran workshops, crafting for charity campaigns, a craft club and a successful online shop.  In the past couple of months things have changed dramatically.  Coral is having a house built and it has all happened very quickly which is fabulous for her but it has meant she has very little time for the company.  The company had grown far too large for Fiona to manage alone.  Rather than let it fold we asked if anyone would like to help and 5 lovely ladies stepped forward.  Coral and I make up the 7.   Fiona is also consolidating a love long passion for textiles from across the globe and through history with a small venture called Earth Threads – more news on this in time.

The new collective means that Crafts and Company came move forward as a community project with a small commercial wing.  Seven people really spreads the load and makes much more possible.  This website has been gifted to the collective as has the web shop so you will see new work from new members coming soon.  It is an exciting time as we step forward as a collective and there are already some exciting plans in the pipeline.  Keep up with all our news on our facebook page.

Wishing the collective every success in all that the do.

Fiona and Coral.  xx

Knitting charity campaign

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Now people we are getting very good at this.  With successful crafting for charity campaigns under our belts for Little Dresses for Africa, Mind, Ayrshire Hospice and RNLI we turn attention to knitting.  I ran this campaign a few years ago with great success and then we only had 6 knitters.  Imagine what we can do with more knitters.

children-like-this-need-your-careThe Knit A Square is a hugely successful charity based in South Africa.  It supports AIDS orphans who may well be ill themselves.  We knit squares and send them to the local ladies in South Africa, who make them up into blankets for the children.  There are other items on their site now for more experienced knitters.  I am a very basic knitter but even I can churn out squares.  The instructions for the squares are HERE.  If you would like to join in but are more of a crochet crafter the instructions are HERE.

Provisionally, we are running this campaign until the end of May.  If you live on the island we can collect any knitting you do and if you live off island you can send your donations direct to South Africa or to us and we will post on for you.

Have I got a target?  You bet I have.  Am I telling you?  No, because there will be a massive eye rolling thingy going on.  Let’s just say that it is extremely ambitious and, at Crafts & Company, we need all the help we can get.  If you would like to help just comment below or message us and we will add you to a distribution list.  This email distribution list is just being set up and it is for anyone who would like to craft for charity.

Happy knitting everyone.

Fiona

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Crafts & Company

First Guest Maker announced

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Since Crafts & Company came to life both Coral and I have wanted to work with other creative people in different ways.  Our Guest Maker is a programme by which a maker joins us for approximately three months and we work creativity with them as well as introducing their products through our online shop.

lesley-front-coverWe are delighted to announced that our first guest maker is Lesley Van Bogerijen from Woodend Designs.  Lesley is also based on Arran and is very much part of our wonderful island community.  Lesley is a true creative able to work across a range of media.  It is her jewellery that we will be focusing on in the New Year.  However, this year she has dipped her toe in the world of colouring books and with considerable success.  Lesley is a wonderful artist and her colouring book is inspired by the birds that she sees on the island.

Lesley’s wonderful garden studio is far more than a shed so ‘shed envy’ does not come close.  However, I know how blessed she feels to have such a space that looks out onto a garden rich with wildlife.  This colouring book gives us all an insight into her world and that of the birds that became her subjects.

This is what Lesley has to say about her creative background and her own experience of colouring books.

‘I have drawn pictures for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother bought me crayons, paper and colouring books, mainly to keep me sitting quietly while she ‘got on ‘. I was fussy about the books, I liked the pictures to be realistic and a little challenging. The paper was important also – I didn’t like rough thin paper because my pencil would go through it!  So, my colouring book is full of lovely detailed drawings,printed on quality paper with vellum sheets between each picture, to protect your artwork. The type of colouring book I could only dream of, long ago. That’s why I drew it.’

nut-birdThis is a true luxury colouring book that knocks all the others off the shelves.  The quality of the illustrations coupled with the quality of the book itself make it a must have purchase.  Pop over to our online shop to find out more.  With Christmas on the horizon this would make an ideal present and it even comes gift boxed.

We know Lesley will have wonderful success with her colouring book and we look forward to sharing her jewellery with you early in 2017.

Fiona

Crafts & Company xx

The hand of friendship

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The hand of friendship

IMG_7231We are thrilled with the way Crafts & Company has taken off since launching in July.  In a few short months we have created a range of unique craft kits, packs and experience boxes to sell at craft events and online.  Our biggest sellers so far are our Arran Keepsake Kit and our Make your own vintage fabric owl shelf sitter kits.  We have opened our online shop with Folksy and we are enjoying being part of that creative group.  This is our commercial side of the business and we have lots more ideas ready to put into practice.  We are currently working on our Christmas range which we will be selling online and at local events on the island.  This range includes –

Make your own Kindle cover

Decorate your own willow wreath

Make your own beaded angels

Make your own Christmas stocking bunting

Make your own fruit hanging

Make your own Christmas cards

Along with the kits we will have Christmas packs and experience boxes packed with beautiful resources handpicked by us.

IMG_7513The other side of the business deals with the other word in our title – ‘company.’  From the start we have been keen to put something back into the industry that have supported both of us for most of our working lives.  To that end we immediately began networking with other crafters, community groups and charities.  The focus of this work is our workshop programme and the intention is to be as creative as possible and to establish helpful relationships along the way.  Our first workshop was a huge success as we worked alongside a group of talented ladies to turn pillowcases into dresses for the charity Little Dresses for Africa.  This work has continued well beyond the workshop and an original target of 20 has been long replaced as we close in on our new target of 100 dresses.  We could not be more pleased or grateful to everyone who has helped with this project.

mindOur next workshop is for the charity Mind where we will be gathering people together once more this time to decorate mirrors using mixed media techniques.  This is a fundraising events so it is ticketed and the price of your ticket (£10.00) includes all materials and refreshments with the majority of this money going to the charity topped up with all proceeds from a raffle and a Christmas stocking filler gift sale.

14359146_321183274901253_4885052766955757345_nOur Christmas Crafts Day will be our biggest event so far and takes place on the 6th December at Whiting Bay lesser hall.  A day of creativity has three workshops to include willow wreath decorating, painting techniques on mdf decorations and Christmas table flower arrangement.  15% of our fees will go the RNLI plus all proceeds from our Christmas stocking filler gift sale, raffle and bake sale.  This day will also provide some revenue to propel us into 2017 and all our workshop plans to come.

Planning is already underway for the creative partnership early in the new year which is with the charity The Backpack Project which provides useful backpacks filled with essential items for children in Africa.  We are contributing individually decorated pencil cases for the back packs.

This project is being run through our brand new craft club that begins on the 15th November at The Shore, Whiting Bay.  This relatively new food business is providing a café environment for our club and we are pleased to be working with another local business.  More information on our craft club can be found on our events page on our Facebook page.

Just this week we have squeezed another wee charity ‘make’ into our schedule working with Ayrshire Hospice.  A group of us will be making a selection of crafts to donate to the hospice for their Christmas sale events and shops. We hope to develop a more long term relationship with the hospice in the new year.  What was so lovely about this new partnership was that we were able to ask for help from some of the people who have already helped with previous projects and they were very willing to support this.  This illustrates that a fledgling craft community has already been established.  We don’t want to confine this just to the island as we have already had support from people off island in our projects so far.

In addition to working with community groups and charities we also attended an event called Aspire at the island High School.  The focus of this event was to bring employers, education providers and young people together to consider a new forum which would open up opportunities for young people on the island.  At Craft & Company we are keen to offer work experience to any young people that are interested in working in the craft industry or even running events.  More on this as the project rolls forward.

IMG_7382It is clear from this post just how busy we have been in a relatively short period of time.  In January 2017 we are launching a new project that aims to bring crafters and wellbeing practitioners together.  We firmly believe that engaging in craft contributes to a stronger sense of wellbeing and we are hoping that the culmination of this project will be a crafting and wellbeing Fayre so that locals and visitors can see just what expertise exists on the island.  There will be much more on this project in subsequent posts.

January also sees our very first Guest Maker join us for a period of three months.  Guest Makers will contribute to our online shop with their own listings and we will be profiling what they do through our website and social networks.  We are very excited to introduce our first Guest Maker very soon….watch this space.

If you would like to keep up with all our developments just ‘like’ our facebook page or complete the form below and we will put you on our contacts list.  If you would like to join our events just message us and we can tell you more information.

In 2017 we will be looking for retail outlets to take our products and new venues to run workshops in so if you are interested in any of these options just message us and we will get back to you asap.

May we please take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have been involved with Crafts & Company since we sprang into life in the summer.  Every single contribution is so valued.  Thank you so much.

Keep crafting people.

Coral & Fiona xx

Busy with rubbish!

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This coming week we are both exhibiting pieces as part of the Zero Waste week on Arran run by Eco Savvy.  In the past few months neither of us have had much time to make anything as our craft kits and workshops have taken off quicker than we anticipated.  We are not moaning!  However, it will be lovely to share some of our makes with potentially new audiences and we look forward to the feedback.

Coral uses old tin cans to create beautifully unique pieces that disguise their starting point incredibly well.  Just beautiful.

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I use waste threads, mainly from my machine embroidery process to create fibre bowls.  I mix these threads with a range of other materials including plastic, yarn, sweet wrappers and even seaweed.  Tis a bit of a process!

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Do let us know what you think.