Before I go on, I should say, if you've never been to the Women's Library, it is well worth a little trek off the beaten path to this hidden gem in the hustle and bustle of East London. They have a beautifully and poignantly curated exhibition and events programme; every time I've been I've seen something truly unique, compelling, always stunning, sometimes disturbing, and at times humorous. The current exhibition, which I look forward to soaking up is Hand Made Tales: Women and Domestic Craft "...focusing on the role domestic crafts play in many women’s experiences. The exhibition will allow visitors to explore and learn the stories of crafts and the women involved in them through personal tales and fun interactive projects."
So... Connecting Craft and the Community is a project which aims to create a network of people interested in craft in all sorts of ways, but which has a particular emphasis on participation, community, and all that is wrapped up in what has emerged from what was a minority craft culture (of the DIY, subversive, counter culture ilk) but these days has become much more mainstream.
"...aiming to create a unique network of craft and design historians, practitioner-researchers, cultural geographers, creative industries theorists, policy makers, creative consultants, institutions and craft practitioners in order to stimulate collaboration that interconnects existing research on craft communities from different disciplinary fields with contemporary crafts practice. The network will explore the intersections between craft and community, including communities of practice and their role in broader society in the promotion of cultural vibrancy, cohesiveness, economic regeneration and social wellbeing."
I'm so excited by the line up of people attending, some people I've met and worked with before, others I know online but have never met, and yet more who will be completely new to me. All with a deep interest in craft and a will to talk, share, create and explore it.
I imagine I'll be taking lots of photos and coming away hugely inspired and ever more hungry for craft in my life - as if it were possible to crave it any more, but I know I will. What a joy to know I can spend two days developing a better understanding precisely why craft has such an impact on people, what qualities it carries that drives this need to make and share.
I know there will be so much I would want to blog, and that it will be impossible to cover it all. Fortunately, eventually this will be opened out through a website for the project, I'll let you know when it's up and running. And if I can start to share any amount from the workshop, I will.
Image: Hand Made Tales logo