Crafting Communities

Making Connections through Craft in the Community

Staffordshire County Council’s Libraries and Arts Service received National Lottery funding through Arts Council England to deliver ‘Crafting Communities’ over the Autumn to help bring communities together, tackle loneliness and craft new connections between libraries and communities.

Artist Makers took up residence in Staffordshire Libraries to form creative hubs where people had the opportunity to get together, get creative, explore crafting, have a chat and connect with others in a safe, sociable and open space. Across four residencies, participants have produced some wonderfully rich and varied work while forming new friendships and re-establishing craft groups. We have seen new visitors to libraries as well as new social groups formed and through our hubs, have reached out to many other groups and individuals in the community.

Meet the Artists

Jennifer Collier
Blythe Bridge Community Managed Library

Jennifer creates sculptures from vintage recycled materials with stitch; giving a contemporary twist on traditional textiles & using papers as inspiration & media for her work. Jennifer was artist in residence at the Blythe Bridge Library & Community Centre, where she encouraged participants to experiment with simple making techniques using found and recycled papers to tell a story.

It has been an utter joy to be artist in residence at the Blythe Centre and it has given me the opportunity to work with a wide cross section of different members of the community through the outreach workshops; such as family groups, local history groups, the friendship group, and Thursday hub group workshops.

Find out more about the residency here:

Blythe Bridge Crafting Communities

Joanna Dawidowska
Barton Under Needwood Community Managed Library

Joanna is a ceramic artist & freelance Community Learning practitioner delivering workshops to adults of different ages, backgrounds & abilities. Joanna has a strong passion for work that connects community & art that represents stories & emotions.

Joanna’s aim for the participants was to feel at ease by taking part, using clay to express feelings of their own identity and sense of place while opening up a chance for creative conversation. Some of the techniques explored included; drawing, paper templates, forming clay, using slip decoration, glaze & paint and creating with wire.

As a Ceramic Artist I have a strong passion for work that connects arts and the community and that represent stories and emotions. For this project, we all shared similar stories of empowering kindness experienced in the last 18 months and the idea of a new ‘normal’ where we notice and are grateful for small things.

Find out more about the residency here:

Barton under Needwood Crafting Communities

Ruth Allen
Rugeley Library

Ruth is an Illustrator/maker based in Stafford, her work is inspired by architecture and mid-century design. Drawing is Ruth’s main passion and forms a thread between all her roles as an artist. Ruth provided workshops for all ages and abilities and worked with participants to explore people’s community, personal heritage and lived experiences while creating a sense of support and encouragement for each other.

I chose to approach this residency with community at the very heart of the project…My main aim for this project was to increase confidence in the learners and creativity which would inspire them to continue to develop new skills in the future and develop a regular art group.

Find out more about the residency here:

Rugeley Crafting Communities

Juneau Projects
Perton Library

Artists Phil Duckworth & Ben Sadler at Juneau Projects work across a broad range of media including sculpture, animation, performance, music & publications. They take inspiration from traditional art and craft processes such as printmaking, pottery and bronze casting as well as technological processes such as laser cutting and digital design.

Ben & Phil like to explore the creativity and surprises that arise when people collaborate to make things. They delivered a programme of experimental activity where people of all levels of experience and ability were welcome to take part and try new techniques, focusing on Risograph printing, a kind of automated print making machine. Participants were able to create print multiples such as cards, calendars, notebooks and artworks.

The residency has been a really enjoyable experience for us both. We have really enjoyed seeing how people can use the risograph machine to produce such a range of responses and results, and have loved collaborating with Perton Crafters and the rest of the hub to produce what they hope will be a really useful series of resources for the wider community to enjoy.

Find out more about the residency here:

Perton Crafting Communities

Cultural & Community Partners

Thank you to our community partners for their support:

Blythe BridgeBlythe Centre Care & Fun Club
Rugeley Rugeley Community Church
PertonFriends of Perton Library, Compton Care
BartonBarton Neighbourhood Volunteers, Starfish Health & Wellbeing, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Creative PartnersCreative Health CIC & Unit Twelve Gallery

With special thanks to National Lottery funding through Arts Council England.

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