Monday, 21 July 2014

Open Studio :: Corsage Making

This Saturday we opened the doors to our studio as the adjacent Belgrave Hall and Gardens was hosting the 'Handmade in Leicestershire, Summer Craft Fair.  We ran a drop in corsage making workshop to give visitors a feel for what it might be like to participate in one of our workshops.  We had lots of visitors, with many commenting on how relaxed they found the place...
 Lovely corsages were made from silk sarees...

A work in progress...
 And finished products...
Even a 'Super Crochet Girl' had a go...



Monday, 7 July 2014

Knitting Communities Together

Lisa and Jacqui from Little Bird SOS and Leanne Robinson, Service Development Coordinator Learning Disabilities Day Services at Leicester City Council, are delighted to announce that we have funding from the Charnwood City Ward for a new project called 'Knitting Communities Together'.  We will be working with Hastings Road day care centre for adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities.  We will install and interactive woolly sensory wall and share our knowledge of knitting, crochet and weaving with both staff and service users.  They will be able to use these skills to make woolly items that will be gifted to local community groups. 
Service users will be supported to knit, crochet and finger knit, depending on their individual skills and interests. This activity will enable service users to gain new skills, a sense of achievement and  pleasure in donating their work to the local community. Also service users with profound and multiple learning disabilities will have an additional activity that they can do with their hands at quiet times during the day, which will promote social interaction, and tactile and sensory involvement.
We envisage that this will contribute towards developing connections between local groups thereby raising awareness of learning disability within the local community enabling the reduction of barriers percieved to be associated with this.

Monday, 23 June 2014

New studio and project launch

It has been so busy just lately.  We moved to a new studio and not long after the move we had our Big Lottery project launch.

The studio space is absolutely lovely.  The building is Georgian dating back to 1777 and still retains some of the original features.  There little cupboard and drawers built into the walls and inside there are layers of wall paper that look like they have been there for over 200 years.  We would love to learn more about this beautiful relaxing space.

The space we occupy had not been used for  a while so lots of scrubbing and cleaning was required but eventually we had the space clear...


and by the time of the launch for our Big Lottery funded project, which took place on 20th June, we had it filled with lovely furniture ready to share with our visitors...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Working with Schools :: My Monstrous Little Creature

I had a primary school teacher, Mrs Young, attend our 'Adventures in Zombieland' workshop, last year, with her children and enjoyed it so much that she invited me to run a creative making session at her school, Ratby Primary, in Leicestershire.  The year 2 children where doing 'monstrous poetry' so the session brief was to design their own monstrous creature.  We invited them to design their own imaginary character, onto a standard paper template...
We talked about emotions and the sorts of expressions our faces make when we are happy i.e. smiley mouth, or sad i.e. turned down mouth and furrowed brow etc
Some children tipped their design sheets upsidedown and used the legs as ears to make creatures that resembled rabbits
When their designs where complete, the children were invited to select the body of their creature from pre-cut textiles made from our stash of felt made from recycled old jumpers...




And then they selected and started to sew on the faces of their creatures.  There were over 50 children participating but we had plenty of grown ups to help out with tricky bits of sewing...
The room was so very quiet during the sewing part of the session.  Even the teachers commented on how relaxed the room seemed...
 When the playtime bell went, I managed to take a few pictures of progress...

 Some used bits of wool to embellish their creatures faces...
 And others cut up bits of felt to make dreadlock like hair...
 Some used buttons for the eyes...
 By the end of the session, most of the children had completed their creatures...


The results were stunning.  Everybody worked so hard and I was amazed at how different each and everyone of these creatures turned out.
I wonder what the collective noun for a group of monstrous creatures is?  Does anyone know?
Thank you Mrs Young, for inviting me into your lovely school and thank you to the parents who donated their unwanted jumpers for this great project.
Lisa

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Crafting for Health and Wellbeing :: Big Lottery Funding

I am very pleased to announce that I, on behalf of Little Bird SOS, have received funding support to our wellbeing activities.

For a while now, I have been formulating the idea of running a craft group to support vulnerable people, particularly those experiencing mental health difficulties.  Following on from the mentoring programme provided by Creative Leicestershire it was clear that combining my previous skills as a trained nurse with a certificate in counselling skills with my current art/craft activities was the way forward. Following on from this, I decided that working as an arts for health practitioner was the way forward for me.

'Crafting for Health and Wellbeing' is a 12 month project to engage with disadvantaged and vulnerable people with mental health and/or wellbeing needs in activities which will boost their self esteem, self confidence and social engagement and belonging.  People who join the group, run by myself, an experienced arts for health practitioner, assisted by a range of volunteers and visiting artists,  will engage in craft activities which will have an outcome, e.g. gifting finished work to charities, community arts and craft fairs.  During the project, we expect to engage with between fifty to sixty people.  The project will be ideal for those who do not find it easy to join mainstream groups because of social or financial barriers etc.  The project will help beneficaries to gain new skills, boost self- esteem and give them a more postitive outlook.

There are a few people to thank for helping this project come to fruition.  First of all two Pete's:  Pete Mosley - without his and Creative Leicestershire mentoring programme, the ideas for  this project would probably never had happened.  Pete helped me to realise the unique healthcare skills that I could bring to my organisation.   Also Peter Henshaw from Leicestershire Dyslexia Association, who helped me to put my spoken ideas into written words.  I am dyslexic and although I am very creative and can verbalise my ideas, I find it exceptionally difficult to put this into written word.  Peter was able to help me with my grant application so I owe some of the sucess to him and his patience which was outstanding.

Two other wonderful people who have been a source of constant support, and have given their time freely, deserve a bit mention here too.  They are Jacqui Booth and Lindsey Warnes-Carroll.  Both talented creatives in their own right, who also see the importance of delivering a programme of arts for health in Leicester/Leicestershire.  Both Jacqui and Lindsey are now non-executive directors of Little Bird SOS - I shall tell you more about Jacqui and Lindsay, and their talents, in later posts!

And finally, my family.  My husband Dave and my two lovely children have been right behind me right from the start when I had the seeds of my ideas.  We constantly discussed how they might develop.  Dave is a talented artist and I really appreciate his creative input. And my children? Well it's amazing what they have to offer.  They see the world so differently to adults, and sometimes their wisdom is breathtaking. They also have a natural creative zeal, which, sadly, tends to wane in many adults in the course of their lives. Children invigorate us.

We are planning to launch the project at our studio at Cross Corners Community Arts Centre in Belgrave Leicester on 20 June 2014.  We will be able to talk to you about the project and have some of the craft activities available for you try.  We hope you will be able to share this information with anyone that you feel will be interested in attending or even come along yourself.

Lisa Pidgeon
Arts for Health Practitioner and Director of Little Bird SOS

http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/-/media/Images/Logos/GIFs/HI_BIG_E_PINK.gif








Sunday, 18 May 2014

Voluntary Arts Week :: Craftbomb

Earlier this year our associate group, the KGB were contacted by Voluntary Arts Week with a view to participating.  However, they were deeply involved in the Woolly Egg Hunt so had to decline...but they knew the perfect group to participate - Knit2gether based at Cross corners Community Arts Centre in Belgrave. It was too tempting to let it pass without doing something and so, a challenge was set for last months meeting...to agree a project and deliver it within their monthly three hour meeting.

In just less than 3 hours, look at what they did!  A suggested "how about snakes?" resulted in 25 woolly reptiles snaking their way through the railing outside Cross Corners Community Arts Centre for the week!

This will be displayed until 18th May, so pop along this weekend if you'd like to see it in its snaky flesh!

We enjoyed it so much there are likely to be more projects along these lines - come and join us if you can!

 The railings outside the studio are stunning...



  And here is our lovely group of creative snake charmers...
Knit2gether meets at Cross Corners Community Arts Centre, the last weds of every month (except Aug & Dec) from 6pm - 9pm.  All welcome.  No booking required - just turn up!
Photo credits - Jacqui Booth 2014

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Down in the Woods :: Foundry Woods

A little blog post as a reminder of a lovely afternoon spent with Katherine, from Beauty and Utility Arts and my children, at Foundry Woods in Leamington Spa.  Foundry Woods is a little green oasis sandwiched between two railway lines...
 As you have seen above, this bit of wasteland, has been turned into a beautiful retreat for the local community to be used for conservation activites and educational purposes.  We spent the afternoon in this lovely wooden shelter...
 Making caterpillers from sticks which were relocated to this minibeast hotel...
And butterflies from willow that we hung in the trees...
We had a go at frame weaving.  Some were hidden in the woods...
Then, after a drink and some nibbles, we wrote about our afternoon on some luggage labels and hung them in a tree...

Then, inspired, we went home and, my daughter, made these woven bangles...