On Saturday 11th July, Show Me How got the family treatment with a special day of free practical making sessions specifically designed for children aged 5-15 and their loved ones. The event took place in the Carillon Court Shopping Centre, but as our base of operations, the Market Town Corner, is not yet up and running we created a 'pop-up' base in another empty shop unit nearby. Empty shop units are a common problem in towns such as Loughborough, and although we knew that in the long term we would need a more permanent venue, the creation of pop-up ventures as a potential solution is exactly the sort of thing the Market Town project aspires to promote and explore. For those interested in learning more, Dan Thompson's report Pop Up People takes a closer look at this issue.
In order to make some of the skills that adults enjoyed in the normal Show Me How sessions accessible to a different age group, Ania asked some of the makers to return to lead family-orientated sessions. Returning for more crafting fun were architect and artist James Woodcock, local potter Jo Keogh and maker and craft activist Sarah Green. All three adapted to varying degrees what they had delivered in their adult Show Me How sessions to make it suitable for families - Jo, for example, demonstrated how three basic techniques can be used to create all sorts of weird and wonderful ceramic items, while James' session had attendees building not furniture but a fully tuned xylophone out of spare materials. These old hands were joined by new face David Towers, a furniture designer-maker who led a session on marquetry.
Sarah Green, a.k.a. Super Crochet Girl, returned to once again save the world with the power of crochet by leading a session on the foundation chain - the basis for all crochet patterns. A few escaping balls of wool aside, all the participants picked up the technique very quickly - some got so carried away in the fun that their chains soon reached the floor! Thanks to this speediness, almost everyone had enough time to create something more complex with their chains, such as flowers that could be sewn onto clothes or made into brooches.
Newcomer David Towers got off to a flying start with his session on marquetry - a technique which uses thin sheets of wood called veneers to create patterns and designs. Although the word may be unfamiliar, it's very likely that you've seen marquetry designs before on furniture and decorative items. Using wood of different colours, it is possible to create complex designs that appear 3-dimensional from a distance, and we certainly saw some beautiful results by the time the session was over!
James Woodcock continued the upcycling theme of his adult session with one that showed participants how to make a fully-functional xylophone out of copper tubing, wood offcuts, and other everyday materials. After carefully cutting the materials to size, the families assembled and then tuned their instruments, learning about how the length of each pipe affects the tone created when it is struck. Before long, the entire upper floor was alive with the sound of copper-based music!
As a testament to the growing popularity of Ania's commission these family events quickly sold out online, and on the day itself many families hovered after completing their sessions, hoping that last-minute cancellations would allow them to attend another one! We were so pleased to see so many families having a good time crafting together, and to see so many fantastic pieces come out of the sessions. Ania herself wrote a blog post about the event which you can read here. Meanwhile, Show Me How continues with more of the standard adult sessions, and keep your eyes peeled for the opening of the Market Town Corner in about a month's time!