Impact Arts aims to send our wonderful team of writers all over Nottingham, trying and testing the abundance of arty, crafty, and creative things this city has to offer. First stop, the Lakeside Arts Centre! Situated right here on campus,  not only does the Lakeside offer great theatre, dance and comedy shows, but has regular art exhibitions and craft days. Beth Searby and Holly Purchase talk about their experience at the Lakeside’s ‘Craft Club’.

When Impact Arts revealed the chance to go to Lakeside craft club to write an article about the experience, I opted in so that a) I would finally stop putting off writing, b) it was free c) there is a cafe at Lakeside Arts Centre. A remarkable cafe, I hasten to add, boasting a wealth of exquisite scrumptiousness – including the biggest, most current-packed scones conceivable. The craft club was also situated right next to the Lakeside’s Art exhibition, ‘Art in the Asylum’, meaning we were able to wonder round free of charge.

Although the name of the event evoked the image of dozens of unruly youngsters scampering around minimal floor space smothered in glitter and glue, we were assured that adults regularly attend this event and have a good time of it.

In actual fact we found that the adults who come along are parents, accompanied by their children. Register signing was therefore a little surreal, given we were asked to write the name of the child we’d brought along with us next to our name.

As it happens, arts and crafts are still just as totally rad and awesome as when you were about seven

After sitting out, taking in the bizarre yet idyllic scene of serene, parent/child harmony unfolding before our eyes, we headed over to the table where all the various materials were to scout the best fabrics and get well and truly stuck in. As it happens, arts and crafts are still just as totally rad and awesome as when you were about seven. Setting the bar pretty high, we become totally absorbed in fashioning an owl door stop out of various scraps of fabric.

fabric

They were not especially owl-y. Much less an effective doorstop; poor fabric choice/puny size made our owls ill equipped to wedge open a stonking great door – we gave up on that notion fairly quickly, stuffed them with cotton wool and labelled them desk mascots.

he making process, aside from proving that I am just as unable to handle a needle and thread as I was in  textiles at school, was actually pretty therapeutic. Absorption in the in the making process alongside casual chitchat and some rather delicious tomato soup made for a totally chilled out, friendly atmosphere. The craft guru who was running the activity was an absolute saint, advising me on various types of stitching and assuring me that that Hector, contrary to my despairing opinion, was a fine specimen of an owl.

If you are in a room employed in a crafty activity and a complete stranger is doing likewise, whimsical conversation is totally acceptable

It was as if some sort of unwritten social law was in place: if you are sat in a room employed in a crafty activity and a complete stranger is doing likewise, whimsical conversation is totally acceptable and not even awkward at all. It was so refreshing to share easy conversation with people I otherwise would never have encountered, and to be doing something that was totally alien from my degree. It was lovely to feel as though I was doing something worthwhile and productive without any pressure on me for it to be exactly right. And I didn’t have to cite the designer and distributor of the fabric I was using.

All in all, it was a highly chilled and pleasant experience. I have joked, but I really don’t think I could have anything better to do on a Saturday morning. And mark my words about the scones – there are raisins in there the size of your fist. It’s got to be seen to be believed.

Beth Searby 

 

Craft day Saturday had bleak beginnings. My excitement to resort back to childish creativity for a day disappeared as soon as I drew back my curtains to find torrential downpour.Trying to remain positive I got myself ready; I even packed a selection of coloured pencils and pens in anticipation of the pre-school expectations I had in mind.

 an easy yet relaxing activity for the stressed out student or even the chronically hung-over one

I was immediately cheered up by the simple pleasures of colouring in. What was so enjoyable about the day was the sheer innocence of it; this children’s environment was so undemanding and free you could truly relax and enjoy the session without the everyday competitions and stresses of University life. There was diversity and the opportunity to try something new, and the simplicity of the tasks and the surprising variety of people there allowed your mind to wonder and discuss real-person matters, and not the droll inanities of a student.

 the session was a great opportunity to just put your mind towards something unchallenging

My doodling also turned out to be something of a contribution. Two ladies from the Nottingham Contemporary had joined the session armed with numerous templates of decorated skulls, or “Candy Skulls” as they’re more commonly known. From November 2nd, the Nottingham Contemporary will be hosting a Day of the Dead exhibition, featuring numerous skulls decorated by the public and personal images remembering lost loved ones. It was satisfying to come away from an undemanding day to know that the fun, simple little picture I had created was actually going towards an experience that could be shared yet again with the public.

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All in all the day was genuinely good fun. Whilst it is meant for entertaining children while they’re not at school, the session was a great opportunity to just put your mind towards something unchallenging, an easy yet relaxing activity for the stressed out student or even the chronically hung-over one. And for those who are put off by the weather, Lakeside is heated and has a lovely café with some delicious food and drink to offer; literally everything you need for those days of boredom.

 

Holly Purchase 

 

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