The Storehouse Cafe – 7th February 2019

When I arrived into the Storehouse I was very excited to see that Lisa had completed her blue plaque from our last session at The Storehouse, while June had developed a lovely plaque on the small piece of fabric that I had dyed and posted over to her. I also brought in the piece I had been working on for a friend. As June and I sat down to have a bowl of soup, we acknowledged how we both actually found the embroidering aspect easier at home. For me, I like to embroider with my things around me, but the chance to develop my piece while Thomas was doing his homework worked really well too. It is nice to be on hand for Thomas, while at the same time be occupied on something of my own.

June told me some ideas that Leigh and her had had, with regards possibly developing written blue plaques with younger children at Great Horton Village Hall. I also wondered if these pieces could possibly be translated into digital stitch, as a method of retaining the individual character of the children’s writing while also having the work created in cloth and stitch.

The creation of ‘cosy’ corner: June and I then developed Blue Plaques at the Cosy Corner. We had some help to install the plaques onto the wall, and then left a few resources on the table for anyone to go over, in their own time, to get involved.

Bradford Soup Question: June and I had planned to bid for some money to support Blue Plaques of Intangible Experiences at Bradford Soup in a couple of weeks time. Having been before, we were both party to the wonderful, noble and humanitarian projects presented in Bradford and the brilliant way they had been presented. This also put a little fear into us both! We started to plan the order of things that we may discuss. But, then the question: what do we really want money for? I felt flummoxed. This opened up what was really of most value, was the items, space and food that could be donated by The Storehouse. We also felt that people themselves present at Bradford Soup could provide a useful network or understanding of other community groups for whom Blue Plaques may be relevant.

Research and Development Phase: June mentioned that we were in the ‘research and development’ phase of the project. This seems at first a strange thing to say, as if we had not conducted mini Blue Plaques together already, even before applying for funding to the Arts Council. But then, a consideration that we are in R&D, does actually make a lot of sense, recognizing that by doing this project we are learning on the way. We are finding that it is only through actually taking the project on for real, with others, that we can really appreciate its strengths and areas that we may need to work on. The location provides (in a physical sense) a great space for sewing (excellent natural light, low tables, lovely atmosphere), however many people who visit The Storehouse are using it as a destination to eat, meet people and then leave. The space and peoples expectations of it may mean that it is not necessarily conducive to sitting down to stitch. It maybe, that we are understanding through working on the ground, that the location itself, the community that visit it, needs to be understood, and this is most reliably achieved when actually in the space with the project. Is this something we need to be attentive to when designing our ‘downloadable pack of resources’? We may have discovered that the ebb and flow of people and their expectations is something to work with, and to be adaptable to. So, a standardized ‘pack’ may not necessarily be the most beneficial? Rather, each workshop may need to accommodate the site and context in which the embroidery takes place, and this is a very particular, non repeatable/non standardized element of developing a socially engaged project.

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