Daily Thread at The Old Print Works run regular, affordable open textile sessions for everyone. We spoke to some to some participants at their Craftivism workshop.
The nice thing for me is that I don’t have to lead [Daily Thread] although sometimes I do give workshops as well. I can just be there, do things and I don’t have to pay attention. This one is nice because you can just meet the people, have fun and do something new. You can learn something. Even me. I’ve never done proper embroidery before, for example.
The Edwardian Baths opposite want to open a tea room. So they came over and asked us if we could make some cushions for the seating there. So I said let’s do a project and get all the people who use the baths in the local neighbourhood to stitch little swimmers. It seems to go down very well.
We put bits on the walls. We have one hanging which has the Edwardian changing cubicle and the green and white tiling on there. Some people are standing and some people are swimming [in the images] on the blue cushions but people are so funny and so inventive and creative. It’s really, really nice.
Being a textile designer, of course I can sew things together but I’ve never done embroidery so my first two pieces I was just stabbing at cloth.
We give packs out which have little leaflets. We put little instructions with what it is about, what the dates are, how long the figures are and what we want them for as well as some yarn, some fabric and some stencils if people don’t want to draw them themselves. It’s enough for people to start with. We’ve had about 60 so far.
On the 20th June we have a tea party, which is half officially the end of the project though we will not stitch it all together so people can still give us more figures. It’s really, really good fun. I was surprised how many people have readily taken it up.
It reflects a feeling about the baths. Lots of users have used it as children or live next to it or know people.
For me, it was a conscious decision to step a bit more out of work and do workshops and to do the Daily Thread sessions on a Tuesday. That was quite important because work is mad and I know that this kind of stuff makes me happy. Creativity and making and completing something is just brilliant. Even if it’s quite a lot work or whatever, it’s just nice imagining things. It explodes because once you start one thing you want to do another thing and another thing. So you go and explore. The more you talk with people the more ideas you have and the more you want to do. It’s just great.