Making Space Penicuik timeline summer 2010 - summer 2013

A wee report for those who come new to it and for those who love to remind themselves of good times had. On one can read a bit about the original intention behind Making Space Penicuik, a unique wee Crafting in the Community initiative depending since 3 years totally on commitment and enthusiasm of a few mainly felt craft mad volunteers.

Read more here Bottom line always : having fun together, bringing people together, supporting each other.  1

It started in summer 2010 when one wee woman (A) thought there was pretty little going on for kids in terms of free crafting in Penicuik. So she got a few local established fibre crafters (Joan, Marjorie and Helen) together in preparation for the PCAA Arts Festival to agree on doing free craft demos in public places (leisure centres and townhall) for people of all ages to join in and to see what the response might be. She got also invited by Gillian from the Scottish Lime Centre to give a full day felting workshop and a day of family activities in Penicuik House during the festival. Anneruth then came up with the name 'Making Space' for this wee Penicuik Venture and got Laryna, a fibre craft colleague of hers from the Galgael in Glasgow involved, bringing lots of the "Crafting in the Community" Spirit from there and her former work with the Woolcraft project there to over here in Penicuik. "From Fibre to Fabric" were the workshop s and an exhibit in the library called and they laid the foundation for Making Space Penicuik, as they inspired many locals, especially kids with their parents, to come every Saturday to the Townhall during the PCDT (Penicuik Community Development Trust) coffee mornings. The PCDT was delighted with the lively and youthful contribution Making Space Penicuik (MSP) made there with their fluffy wool in all the colours of the rainbow and their seasonal themed decorations. Felting, spinning, pegloom and nature weaving, as well as beading drew lots of folks to the town hall that autumn 2010. There was a good number of steady volunteers: Caroline from the PCDT team, Vicen and her then 6 year old daughter Andrea, Vibhusha, a nursery teacher on extended holiday from New Zealand, Fern, a nursing student staying in Valleyfield House, Sarah (making felt dinosaurs!), a colleague of Vicen from her work in the National Museum, Toni and Maria with their 3 girls keen to learn pegloom weaving and to share their beading skills, Sarah from Carlops with her children and all her home education skills and as always Joan with her felt pictures, Marjorie with her spinning and weaving, as well as Catherine doing a demo session on her spinning, and of course Anneruth, doing all sorts (felting, spinning, weaving), but above all trying to keep the blog and photo albums going and make sure the public knows about the magic of Making Space Penicuik. By now (June 2013) 64 public photo albums track the record of the journey of fibre crafty passion and magic of the people gathering to explore, share and donate: their time, their skills, their company, and have an abundant materials as the costs were minimal and easily covered by donations of the participating public. Here are the thumbnails of the first set of albums:


You can find the full albums as "The Weaver's Gallery" here and you will need to scroll down to get to the beginning and to 2010, as autumn glories progressed into cosy winter warmth.

The excitement of discovery of materials, of making something really beautiful and also meaningful with very simple means, and low monetary cost, the thrill of sharing personal growth and confidence in company of all ages - well, Making Space Penicuik had taken off with a roar in 2010. And we have also a couple of wee videos to show that from that time, as a youtube account got set up too, taking us, together with the blog round the world in audience building!


At the beginning of 2011, however, a few of the core and very skilled volunteers, Vibhusha and Fern, had left Penicuik, and Anneruth had joined the PCAA committee in the role of outreach. Heartened by the success and ease of felting she organised a partnership project with Midlothian Surestart family support centre in Penicuik , offering felt making coaching for a seasonal wheel project culminating in a "Coming of Spring" story and song event - including felting and spring bloom planting - with harpist, singer and story teller Claire Hewitt

The making of the Rainbow interactive felt hanging drew in Jenni, one of the single mums and her 3 years old into the confidence building and comfy company creating of Making Space in the townhall, and we were lucky from now onward to have another 100% committed skilled volunteer for the Crafting in the Community sessions, alongside Vicen and Anneruth, with the two Sarahs, Caroline, and one or two occasional others providing the hands-on strength to explore and develop as well as run the weekly Saturday sessions in the townhall. Now we could also store there our variouz wools and tools which begun to take up a wee bit space!

People connected with Making Space went together also to craft events and supported other crafters, as well as getting invited to do a couple of felt making sessions in community groups. 4

And right enough - one nice fresh spring we made it into a National Paper, the Scotsman!

Yes, the felted flowers, chickens or bees, dinosaurs and landscapes and so much drew eager hands to give it a try and made many eyes light up and proved also to be very addictive and endless fun! Summer 2011 came and with it a new impulse: Storyscape! Ramona and her 3 girls, and Tina and her 3 girls, teamed up with Anneruth and Jenni to felt 3D story creatures and characters, 2d and 3D 5

landscapes and sea scapes to tell fairy and other tales and poems with in the library during week days. We really wanted to take Making Space to the community. And bring the community to the Arts Centre and the townhall and Bankmill. The pictures here

and the videos and blog entries of these months are particularly inspiring! Some folks also through connecting with other artists in further afield craft fairs build links with artists who contributed substantially to the 2011 Penicuik Arts Festival. The volunteers connected with MSP were providing many crafting in the community sessions during the festival, West Street, Townhall, Library, Penicuik House and 'our' festival yurt thanks to our new volunteer; Shirin from Kyrgystan and her children and friends.

Janis Mackay, a c hildren book author, brought much inspiration for our story scape venture through her hero Magnus Finn, the boy that was half selkie! 6

The above picture album thumbnails, windows to the journey from the Penicuik Artsfestival 2011 to the 2012 one, bear witness of the next 12 month carrying less records than the first 12 months. That was partly due to the volunteers taking things easy in autumn after the 2011 festival, and then we also started to work from once a month in West Street, our new home of our by now quite substantial boxes of wools and tools and felt creatures! And after Christmas, in January 2012, the whole month saw us take a break from the weekly sessions in the townhall, and by and large the steady flow of esp children coming along has only occasionally been in full spate again after that. Also, the fact that Caroline, Ramona and Tina were not free on Saturdays meant that the remaining four folks needed to cover all sessions, this placed more weight on the shoulders of fewer folks. Nonetheless, good spirits and excitement (and some extra volunteers in form of Ania and Kasia) returned with the spring and the request to run some felt making sessions at the "Our World in Motion" science event over 2 weekends in town hall spurred us into felting rare butterflies and bees and their food plants, as well as developing a couple of story scape tales telling imaginatively about the loss of biodiversity due to nitrogen pollution.

Science and felting (or art in general) is an awesome combination! 7

Spring into summer 2012 went by in the nick of time with Easter crafts and us doing crafty contributions to a young community garden project in Leith and the Loanhead music festival. And then it was time for the next Arts Festival, PDAF 2012, again and the popular crafting in the library sessions again, this time down to only two volunteers (Jenni and Anneruth) available for those. It was great working with the parents and children and a couple of impromptu volunteers, one of them Mary, who then made deeper commitment, combining her crafty skills and enthusiasm with her poetry writing skills, and developing with Jenni and Anneruth the 'Cool Cats Storyboard' after school 6 weeks sessions in late autumn 2012. They were very well attended but the last session, due to pre xmas commitment etc was a bit thin on the ground compared with the roaring start. None the less, the 2nd Nicolas party we had was great, and the kids telling their stories and getting sweeties. All 2012 and 2013 sessions held in the PCAA were releasing relatively little overheads from the donations, but thanks to PCAA's committee agreeing to us using the room even without a fixed rent, as we offered this service to the community and fullfilling purpose of PCAA too, we made ends meet.

Already before Christmas the weekly Saturday sessions started to get curtailed, due to lack of free volunteers, and we did the Saturday townhall crafting session on every last and every first Saturday of the month. The blocks of 2 monthly sessions after Christmas we decided to be carrying more power when tuning in with the themes offered over the winter into spring sessions of the Cinema: Up!, Lion Kings, etc. Parallel to this we decided to offer another afterschool session, now joined by Wendy: The Treasures of the Sea. Towards the end of these 6 weeks session the PCAA was asked whether they would take part in the VAS week of National Craft bombing. They people who were there that day decided they wanted to. The rest of our story since then is known? If not see May and June 2013 entries of the Making Space blog . 8


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