Friday, 5 June 2015

Craft Café: Crafts for Adults

Hi, I'm Aisling, a trainee education officer taking part in the HLF Skills for the Future programme across the Oxford University Museums and Collections.  On my final placement, which is here at the Pitt Rivers Museum, I have had the opportunity to devise and run an independent project of my choosing.

The project I chose to run was a series of 4 craft sessions for adults on Sundays at the museum called Craft Café. The idea for this developed when I noticed a lack of informal arts and craft sessions aimed at adults in Oxford. There are plenty of classes which teach a specific skill, for example painting, often as part of a course people have to sign up for. However I wanted to provide a more casual experience, a chance for visitors to relax and meet new people, and a place people could experiment and explore without the pressure of feeling like they have to be particularly skilled or experienced at art. 

The first craft I chose to run was printing, which we did by using a pencil to etch patterns into foam, then printing using lino rollers and printing ink.  This craft is great because using this simple printing method even people who do not feel very confident in their artistic skills can produce a really professional looking piece, as you can see in the pictures below. For the final session we recycled paper to make beads, which we then made into jewellery. The technique involves wrapping strips of paper around a wooden skewer, gluing them in place and then varnishing with a layer of sealer. Although simple to do this technique is very effective and everyone left with a great looking piece of jewellery.
 
Printing Fun at Craft Café © Pitt Rivers Museum

Printing at Craft Café © Pitt Rivers Museum

Printwork at Craft Café © Pitt Rivers Museum

In the next session we customised canvas bags using fabric paint and pens, beads and ribbon. It was brilliant to see the care and thought being put into the craft.  Corie, pictured below, made a bag for her part Galician, part Cypriot mother-in-law.  It featured Galician and Cypriot symbols along with depictions of the London and New York City skylines where she has lived.  Wow!


Customising Canvas Bags © Pitt Rivers Museum

In the third session we painted Easter eggs inspired by the beautiful traditional painted eggs on display in the museum. Visitors also got to try their hand at blowing out the inside of fresh eggs to just leave the hollow shell, like some of the eggs pictured here.

Painted Eggs PRM 1965.3.208 © Pitt Rivers Museum
For the final session we recycled paper to make beads, which we then made into jewellery. The technique involves wrapping strips of paper around a wooden skewer, gluing them in place and then varnishing with a layer of sealer. Although simple to do this technique is very effective and everyone left with a great looking piece of jewellery.
Making Paper Beads © Pitt Rivers Museum

Modelling Paper Bead Bracelets © Pitt Rivers Museum

Paper Bead Necklace © Pitt Rivers Museum


Recycled Paper Bead Jewellery © Pitt Rivers Museum

I loved running Craft Café and from our feedback it seems our guests enjoyed it too!

“Lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thank you!”
“Loved the session! Very relaxed and great value with all the materials included. Really accessible. Would definitely come again."
“Fab. Relaxed. Enjoyable. Fun!”


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