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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

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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.

New Opportunities for Crafters

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At Crafts & Company we are passionate about all things crafts.  Within that we are keen to support the work of other crafters.  To this end we are offering two opportunities –

  1.  An opportunity to feature up to 12 listings on our online FOLKSY SHOP for a period of three months during 2017,
  2. An opportunity to write about what you make and share your website and/or social network sites on this website.  We will share your blog post across all our networks.  This option will also be supported by the very established site Scottish island mum.

Selling on our FOLSKY SHOP

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We are planning to feature a fellow crafter and their work on our online shop.  This opportunity allows you to select up to 12 listings and we will put all the details on the site for you and deal with all the transaction requirements.  All you have to do is send us the images and text and be ready to dispatch.  We will share your items regularly across our social network sites.  We take a fee for listing and a commission on sales.  We aim to be competitive in this area and be fair to our fellow crafters.

Featured Post on our Website

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We are looking for both new and established crafters to write a blog post about what they do.  If you are interested in this opportunity it allows you to access a new market and reach potentially new customers.  You can include images and links to your website and/or social network sites.  We will share this post widely and support it with the extensive readership afforded to Scottish island mum.  In return we just ask that you share our website and online shop with your followers.  A win-win situation.

If you are interested in either or both of these activities just complete the form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Let the craft revolution roll on people.  xx

A message of hope.

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On a very wet Tuesday afternoon 12 lovely and very talented ladies came together in a village hall to sew.  The afternoon began with a pile of pillowcases and ended with the creation of 20 beautiful dresses for wee girls in Africa.  The transformation was incredibly special.

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This was our first charity craft afternoon and Coral and I were thrilled with the whole afternoon.  For people to venture out on such a wet afternoon was humbling in itself let alone the outcomes.  We established a production line that worked really well with 5 distinct workstations and people busy all afternoon.  Even the stop for tea and cake was brief as there was a sense that what we were doing mattered.  Every snip, stitch and press became a moment that was leading somewhere special.  The wee dresses began to flow off the production and onto the hangers and we knew then that this was already a very worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.

 

 

IMG_7489I had sewn the original dresses and timed how long it took me so I had a target in my head but I didn’t share it.  I thought that it would make a great photo if everyone could hold up a dress but said no more.  When we charged passed the 15 (my target) mark I smiled quietly to myself remembering why we wanted to do these types of workshops.

Craft & Company was set up by Coral and myself as a way of starting to put back into the industry that we have spent two lifetimes in.  We designed the kits, packs and experience boxes for both new and experienced crafters and have worked hard to ensure they are both affordable and unique.  But from the start of our planning we had the idea of running craft workshops for charities.  We have many different ideas about how this might work in practice and so different models will operate as we move forward.  In many ways this was the simplest.  Bring people together to sew and sew they did.  It was such a honour to put together this workshop and we are excited about going forward.

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The next one is for the charity Mind and will be called ‘A Mirror for Mind.’  Mental illness is something that is a huge part of modern living but it is desperately underfunded.  This workshop will be our way of contributing to the amazing work done by this charity that is so important to many people.  It will be a ticketed event with all profits going to the charity and in the workshop we will be learning different paint techniques and decorating a mirror to take home with us.  We are just trying to pin down a venue and then we will release tickets.  If you would like to be contacted with more details of this or any future event please complete the form below and we will add you to our contacts list.  We NEVER share our contact list with anyone.

So, we are underway and we just want to thank everyone that helped make this project so special.  A number of us have taken pillowcases away to complete and so we are aiming for our box to have 40 dresses in total.  A very rewarding result.

Crafts & Company is a ‘pop up’ business so if you are holding an event and you will like a wee bit of craft sprinkled in do get in touch.

Blessing to each and every one of you for all the support in our fledgling business.

Coral & Fiona

Craft & Company.

Craft Kits take flight

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We could not be more pleased with how the launch of our crafts kits, packs and experience boxes has gone.  The feedback has been so uplifting and the sales really promising.  As anticipated the kits in the pretty jute bags have sold really well and often as a gift.

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The packs have really surprised us though.  We put together packs in cellophane bags based on a colour, texture or theme.

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Our biggest seller, by far, is the vintage postcard inspired packs which people seem to find enchanting.  Coral & I have had such fun putting everything together and our work has stimulated some interesting conversations with crafters and new crafters alike.

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One of the emerging themes is that crafting is often used as an antidote to the stress of daily life.  This has got us thinking and in the new year we will be launching a new wellbeing craft collection.  Watch this space.

We are currently working very hard on our Christmas collection which we will start feeding into our stall in the next couple of weeks and we will have an online Christmas shop in our folksy shop by the end of September.

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So it is an exciting time and we are hugely grateful for the support from all of you.  xx