In Cornwall, in our initial phase of the project we have four creative participants from the local community who have agreed to be involved.
This is their initial brief:
CARE hopes to help participants build on skills and abilities through sharing their stories and their work. We hope this will lead onto other things. You might end up gaining new skills, mentoring others or even starting a new enterprise, or you may simply continue your making activities but value them all the more having seen your work through some else’s eyes.
Everyone has a story to tell and we are looking for a small number of people who would like to tell us about their work and share it with us. We are interested in what kind of things you make, where and how you learnt your skills, how you use them now and how you might like to develop them in the future. If you are agreeable, our film-maker Bryony, who is very gentle and will make you feel at your ease, would like to film you talking and making. Bryony will come to visit you in your home, or in your local community hall; where ever you feel most at ease. The visit will take around an hour in total.
A little preparation….
Before Bryony visits we ask you to select TWO CRAFT OBJECTS that have meaning for you: one something that you have made and the other made by someone else (a gift or an heirloom, for instance). These will be the visual aids for the film that will help you tell us your personal ‘making stories’. The following prompts are also designed to assist you, and you might find it useful to think about them in advance:
What do you make, and where and how did you learn your skills? Did you learn at school or from a relative, for instance?
Have the things you make changed over the years, if so why do you think this is? Have you tried out different things at different times, or are there times when you made lots of things and others when you stopped, and why might that be?
Could you tell us why you make things, do you get pleasure from the activity, is it a social thing, something you do for your family or is it connected to other aspects of your life? And what would you like to do with your skill in the future; are you happy with things as they are or do you have other aspirations?
Making in Action: We would also like to film/photograph you making something – demonstrating stitches, choosing fabric or thread, for instance. And we would like to know more about where you make: the environment that you feel relaxed in and how you have decorated and/or organised it, and your making routines: cups of tea, working alone or together, with the radio or TV on or not etc.
When Bryony arrives to record your stories and work she will discuss with you how and where you want to do the recording/filming and the order in which you want to do things in. Remember, there is no right or wrong way. The central aim of this project is to be as collaborative as possible and for you to be an active partner in the process and, above all, to relax and enjoy yourself.
‘Making Buddies & Boxes’
Once the recordings/films are made we will show them to a ‘buddy’ who we have selected for you. Your buddy will create a piece of work in response to your recording/film and record their own processes of making and reflecting. The buddies requested that along with the film/recording you also give them a making box with some things/photos/writing/post cards in it that you have selected to represent yourself and your making stories. You might also include a piece of unfinished work which they could work on. We will take great care of the boxes and all items in them will be returned to you; if you have something really precious however it might be best to ask Bryony to photograph it when she visits and she can add it to your box that way.
Sharing Event and Exhibition
At the end of April we will bring you and your buddy together to look at and discuss the pieces made. This should take 30 minutes at the most and can take place in your home or where ever you feel most comfortable. Bryony will edit parts of this into the film/recording she has already made for you. The end result will be a 3 minute film for each ‘buddy partnership’. On Monday 20 May we will host an exhibition and event that brings together all those involved in the project to celebrate, share stories and see what we have made.
So far, we have four boxes and films completed, and these have gone off to the creative respondents (buddies), who have examined both the box contents and their responses to them, for the next phase of the project. We have filmed three of the meetings between creators and respondents so far, and are busily preparing for the meeting on 20th May.