Monday, 19 August 2013

Yee Haw! Craft Wrangling at Red Door Studios

I have taken on a new role – I am now Resident Craft Wrangler at Red Door Studios in E6.

Craft Wrangler

  • Someone employed to handle crafts professionally.
  • A professional who transforms raw materials in artefacts (balls of wool to jumper or if highly skilled, sheared sheepskin to jumper).
  • A craft-wrangler is a maker-guide who takes people on creative craft journeys to learn new skills, downsize their stash and widen their horizons.

The ‘Button Shop’ is my temporary ranch whilst the Creative Director travels further afield (to Kazakhstan) in search of new challenges and a bigger sewing room. I have at my disposal a stash to beat all stashes – boxes of fabrics, buttons, bits, bobs, bric-a-brac and above the Button Shop in Granny’s Attic, many chairs in various stages of disrepair.

This is a truly wonderful opportunity, I am that kid in the candy store – or should I say general store … if you’ve ever seen Little House On The Prairie and have visited the Button Shop at Red Door you’ll know what I mean.


I will post regular despatches from the Button Shop as I corral the stash into workable projects and set about re-purposing stock; up-cycling, re-cycling and down-cycling the items that have found their way into the Studio – much of which has been donated by kind supporters over the years. We thank you.

The aim of my Craft Wrangling is to free up much needed space at the Studio by using up the stash but also to act as a catalyst for Creativity Workshops that I plan to run in the Autumn.
There is so much satisfaction to be gained in making something with your own hands and the popularity of crafting can be seen as a reaction to the explosion of systems where everything is slowly becoming virtual – reading, communicating, writing, shopping.
So I will be inviting you in to exercise your creative muscle, respond to the variety of materials we have at the Studio (I came across a basket full of vintage zips in their packets today) and play.

Playing, the unfinished project problem … and Lizard brains

An evening spent playing on an iPad pinning ‘ideas for makes’ is no substitute for working with scissors, glue, words and intentions then moving forward to finishing something.

Being in a state of perpetual research and idea collecting fools our intellectual brain into thinking it has done the work, our Lizard brain knows otherwise and is frustrated at not being allowed to make a mess and play til bedtime – the creative urge has been redirected which can lead to that angsty, unsettled feeling.

Unsettled and still needing our creative fix, we are seduced by the ‘buzz’ of coming across a new project to research, pin and ponder over. This means we often don’t finish stuff because we’re forever chasing the novelty of the next crafty ‘thing’. Or we watch Kirstie instead and get our crafty fix by proxy.
I would like to help you get stuff started … and finished.

Making something new, something from nothing is hard work. It can be frustrating, messy, eat time and rarely fits into a handy evening slot. But exercising the creativity muscle is crucial for our wellbeing, our ability to problem solve and hence and the wellbeing of the planet. There you can’t get better than that.

Red Door + crafting + you = wellbeing of the planet
Watch this space 

In the meantime Red Door Studios is still running its usual Arts events – visit the Facebook Page to find out what's on.

Bookmark this blog to find out what Craft Wrangling adventures I’m having.
Yee Haw.

copyright Abi Bown


Thimbleanna said...

Haha -- LOVE that new logo -- and title! Who wouldn't want to be a craft WRANGLER??? Sounds like a super fun new job.

I love what you said about pinning. I think I feel more unsettled than ever craftywise and I think you're right about fooling the brain with pinterest!

Dolores Maisonneuve said...

Wow Abi - what an inspiring blog! The vintage photo of the prairie shop is exactly the image I had in my head for the button shop. The way you wrangled all our ideas together is the vision I have had for the button shop at Red Doors! Happy to hear you found those zippers, they came from one of my favorite charity shops in Canada. And as usual I will be looking for interesting items for the shop on my travels in Kazakstan. Can't wait to see the workshops developed! As you said -its time to entertain the lizard brain and actually MAKE stuff! Dolores (on location in Kazakhstan.)

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