Tag Archives: Community Learning

Aiiiiii Fiesta!

Yup, it’s official -we’re getting very excited about this year’s Fiesta!

Not only are we going to have fun making metres and metres of pretty bunting, we’re also going to be part of The Wonderland Project – if you read our bunting post, you’ll remember us mentioning a magical garden – this is it and you have a chance to get involved!

Our fabulous textiles tutor Donna Taylor will be leading two workshops for adults on Wednesday 5 & Tuesday 25 May – the sessions are free to attend, but you do need to book your space!  If you’d like to take part in this year’s Fiesta, send an email to adult.education@york.gov.uk and we’ll put your name on the list!

You can find out more by visiting the Fiesta blog.


Funding cuts pose threat for adult learners

 Every year the threat of funding cuts rears it’s ugly head in adult and community learning, and this year is no different.  We know how valuable many of our learners find our courses – not just from the perspective of developing new skills, but for the sheer enjoyment of making new friends, being part of a group and enjoying their leisure time.

It’s so frustrating that in this day and age the benefits of informal learning for adults are still not acknowledged by the powers that be in terms of sufficient funding and that despite their previous promises to commit to preserving informal learning opportunities across the UK via the Learning Revolution, many providers, ourselves included, will have to make decisions (such as raising course fees and cutting whole areas of learning) that may have an adverse affect on our community. 

The proposed cuts were reported in the Guardian yesterday, and we would strongly urge you to contact your local MP to tell them how important learning is to you. 

In the meantime, why not get in touch with us and tell us why learning is important to you – our blog is widely read and your voice really matters to us.

Post your comments on here and help us fight the cuts!

Documenting and Evaluating Inspirations

Now that the festival is over for another year, it’s time for us to reflect on all the successes and think about what we’d like to do differently next year.  We always like to spend a couple of weeks jotting down ideas, reading through the questionnaires our visitors kindly filled in and catching up with tutors and students about their thoughts.

One of the things we find very useful is to go through all the pictures we took over the two days – it helps us remember how exhibitions looked and all the work that gets created during the workshops. Here are some of our favourite inspirational pictures…..

Pretty eggs created on Donna's Easter Egg Tree workshop

Pretty eggs created on Donna's Easter Egg Tree workshop

Deborah's fibres for feltmaking - really, how could you NOT want to create something?!

Deborah's fibres for feltmaking - really, how could you NOT want to create something?!

Collaborative pointillism piece created by Karen's Painting & Drawing students

Collaborative pointillism piece created by Karen's Painting & Drawing students

Lots of people being creative during the Saturday morning workshops

Lots of people being creative during the Saturday morning workshops

2 weeks to go!


Admiring watercolours and contemporary paintings

Admiring watercolours and contemporary paintings

 We’re now only 2 weeks away from Inspirations and it’s fair to say we’re all feeling pretty excited about the event!  At this point, it still feels like there’s lots to do, but these things always seem to come together in the end! 

Visitors to Inspirations in 2009
Visitors to Inspirations in 2009


This week we’re co-ordinating the delivery of all the work – we know that some mosaics are on their way to us, and a delivery of photographic work is imminent.  It’s always really interesting to see what our students have been working on and I personally am always blown away by the quality and range of art produced.  Remember – most people who learn with us are ‘non-artists’ who simply enjoy the process of creating something unique and beautiful that reflects their personal styles, tastes and artistic nature.  Every year visitors are astonished when they realise that the work has been produced by people ‘just like them’, which, at the end of day, is what Inspirations is all about. 

Patch Progress……

Had another great patching evening earlier this week, kindly hosted by the lovely Donna (Hearts & Crafts, Easter Egg Tree and Crochet workshops) and now have another lovely pile of patches which we’ll be adding onto the blog this afternoon.  One of the things we’re really enjoying about Patch is getting to know so many new people and groups and seeing how very creative people in York are.

We’ll be having a final pre-festival patch-a-thon (new word!) on Monday 1 March at Acomb Library – if you’d like to come along, please drop me an email so I can give you full details – katie.pask@york.gov.uk

Calling all community groups!

Are you a community group in York who are looking for something new to try?  If so, we want you to get involved in The Patch Project!

It’s really easy to take part – take a look at the Patch Project page on our blog to find out more and download the project handout from our website.  You can also take a look at the patch pictures page (try saying that a few times!)for inspiration.

Maybe you’re part of a craft group and you’d like to dedicate your next session to making a patch, maybe you’re part of a book club that just fancies having a go –  It really doesn’t matter if you’re new to crafts or haven’t worked with fabrics before, in fact, you’re the people we most want to make a patch, just to help us prove how easy it is.

We’re also really keen to hear from people who work in the community so that we can bring the project to you too.  We’re already working with adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, as well as providing some patch sessions in care homes – but we don’t want to stop there!  If you know a group of adults who’d like to use their creative skills, we want to hear from you. 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – no experience required here!  All you need is a bit of enthusiasm and access to some fabric – if you can make it to Inspirations, you can make the most of all the lovely fabrics we’ve been stockpiling, but if not, we’re sure you probably have bits and pieces at home you can use. 

Old tea towel past it’s best? Turn it into a patch!

Skirt seen better days? Turn it into a patch!

Got some left over scraps from another project?…….oh you get the idea!

PS:  I have found that I patch (and craft generally) in front of a costume drama……how do you craft yours?

Building Links

One of the lovely things about working on the Inspirations festival is the opportunity to make links with other organisations working in York.  When we decided to launch The Patch Project, it seemed like a good idea to work with Melanie, the education officer at the Quilt Museum and exploit her knowledge! 

So, we’re delighted to report that information about The Patch Project is now available on the Quilt Museum website.  If you’re new to patchwork and would like to get involved in the project, it’s a good place to start – volunteers from the museum have kindly put together some basic handouts (look in the adult learners’ resources section) to give people a way of getting started.  All you need are some fabrics and thread and you can get patching!  You can download the main project handout from the council website.

We’ve mentioned this to some people, but the finished piece will be hung at the Quilt Museum Saturday 27th March – Saturday 24th April in their education room, which we’re very excited about.  Once it’s been exhibited at the museum, it will appear at the new central York library – Explore York, which will have it’s big launch towards the end of April – before moving to The Studio at York Art Gallery. 

We feel very lucky to be working with the teams at all three venues and are thrilled that they are able to help.  It will be fantastic to see the hanging in public spaces in the city and we hope that lots of you will be able to come along and see it – even if you didn’t take part in the project.