Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Handmade Arcade gets a little Sheepish....

Outside it's a blindingly beautiful day...

Tucked away here in the cool oasis that is Mccoys Arcade with the rays falling onto the tables in the cafe, tucking into local Strawberries I had a thought ... a thought about colour and about making the Arcade feel warm and bright the whole year round!

First though, a story...

I lived for a while in Vancouver's West End, a pretty beautiful part of the city and a vibrant neighbourhood to boot. In this most beautiful of cityscapes, there was a fantastic Community Garden totally covered in colourful yarn.

As soon as I noticed this woven world the more I stumbled upon a knitted trail around the sprawling city. Unravelling these bright wooly threads led to me discover neighborhoods like Main Street and Commercial Drive - area's with so much diversity and a sense of community, areas supporting DIY and skill sharing projects like "Our Community Bikes", a project set up for the community by the community. Enabling people to learn how to fix their own bicycles in their friendly workshop. Using their tools and sharing their skills  in a collectively managed, non heirarchical organisation which has no owner, boss or supervisor. All staff being mechanics, teachers and students, improving all the time as individuals!

The whole project makes me think a lot about autonomy and a sense of where you are with the people who live and work around you. There are projects happening in The West Quarter of Exeter that echo this feeling - it feels like there is a real spirit of community growing in Fore Street and it's surrounds. It truly is  a street full of creative spirit and the good will of the characters that inhabit these parts!

Inpendent businesses thrive here, despite not having any investment from the city council, banding together to make this part of town as bright and colourful as the friendly people you'll meet as you step through their doorways. A stroll down Fore Street nowadays will possibly surprise you if it's been a while - you will find flowerpots and decorations of a different kind, this is a street full of people celebrating doing the things they love. People like Lorna the lady behind the best Milkshake bar in town - Shaker Maker and Willow from the fabulous box of vintage joy that is Relevant by Lady Lace. This is a colourful street with heaps of heart and good old fashioned neighbourly spirit!

Anyway!....Back to my main point about decorating McCoys Arcade...

I want to start a project. One that incorporates the idea that 'the community creates the community' as this is what happens in this crafty pocket of Exeter. My plan is to cover the insides of the wonderful McCoys Arcade with colourful knitted graffitti. As I only have one pair of (novice) knitters hands I'm calling out to anybody to take part....
so grab a pair of needles - not the really sharp kind please, and head down to the Arcade with your creations - once we've got enough to get started I'll get on the case and start adorning this beautiful space (any helpers would be appreciated by way of vegan cake!) Be as creative as you please and satisfy your desires to cover things in yarn! Whilst becoming part of this crafty lil' corner of the world! If you're up for the challenge - you can bring your woolies to No Guts No Glory or drop them off to me at Handmade Arcade - bring your needles!

New Stalls announced!
This Saturday the Arcade with also see a few more stalls with our wooly friends in mind..

Heather Sturdy-Sherwood will be joining us from a farm in Crediton where she spends her days dyeing and spinning the most beautiful soft yarn from real live sheep, her and her boyfriend also run a small recording studio in the Devon countryside! Wool AND music - I know where I'd like to be in the winter time! Anywho, the wonderfully enthusiastic Heather will be there with her unique and local balls of wool, spinning a yarn or two for us!

Ollies Mum will be returning with her absolutely amazing knitting prowess and needle skills. For the ultimate summer cover up - she also does knit commissions and will be on call to help with any knitting dilemmas you may have! She really is a one-stop knitting guru!

We also have music this month that will make you feel like the sun is shining (even if it's not) we are proud to announce that the wonderful Ukelele group of Exeter will be serenading us and tinkering our heart strings with their up lifting joyous sounds! Their have also been rumours of a countryesque washboard donning partnership - I'm already smiling at the prospect :)

On Wednesday I'll be spreading news about the launch of a very exciting and brilliant project that is being launched at the next Handmade Arcade this Saturday!!

See you there, 



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