Wednesday 2 August 2017

Meet 'The Start Studio' and find out how *you* can help this new creative social enterprise.

Hello you. 

How would you like to spend a creative hour or two in this gloriously retro Scandinavian-style setting? 

I know. Me too.

Or how would you like to clear some space in your craft room and help out a new social enterprise at the same time?

Luckily for anyone who can get themselves to the Teesside area, we'll soon be able to spend time at the The Start Studio, (opening on August 6th 2017),  in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough; a new creative community space run by teacher and arts educator Sara Calgie of Find The Crafty Fox.

And can scroll down (or just hang on if you're patient) to find out how you can help get this arty social enterprise off to a bountiful beginning!

A few weeks ago  I popped in to see Sara for a cuppa and a chat about her dream to bring affordable, inspiring, creative workshops to the area. (While the majority of the focus will be on children's workshops, do look out for the rolling programme of workshops for adults hosted by guest creatives.)

Oh and ... yeah ... I also wanted a nosey around her beautiful space, which was once the Swedish Church and Seamen's Mission (hence the glorious, worshipful, stained glass). Isn't it amazing?
While the space was still a work in progress when I visited (I did feel a bit bad keeping Sara talking while she clearly had lots to prepare for her opening day!). But it had already come an awfully long way from a dark, tobacco stained interior, that had taken a lot of white paint to subdue!

But even so, I think you can tell what a welcoming and well-equipped place it already is:
And all those original features. Oh my! From the parquet flooring, up to the scandi-chic ceiling lighting it's a true mid-century interior treat and that's before we even mention that incredible glass rainbow of a window.

However ... even if you can't make it down for a visit in person, and if - like me - you just feel like helping keep this heartening community-focused space well-stocked, here's how you can do just that:

Read more about The Start Studio here.
Full disclosure:

This is not a sponsored post ... nor did Sara ask me to do this! 

  • I knew Sara was still stocking up on crafty supplies before her launch and so, when I visited, I used it as an opportunity to clear out my craft cupboards and do a little bit of good! I filled a box, and several bags, full of papers, embellishments, ink-pads, stamps, craft books and all kinds of bits and bobs lurking in the back of my shelves. 
  • (You can see more of what I donated here in @TheStartStudio's Instagram post.) 
  • I knew I'd blog about my visit (naturally ... hello!) and I knew that once I mentioned it on here, some of you would no doubt ask me how you could get involved. 
  • So - planning ahead - I asked Sara if she'd be OK with me letting you know that - if you wanted to - you could donate something too. And so that's all this is.  
The Start Studio is not a charity ... but it is a CIC (a Community Interest Company): 

  • Which means that it is a social enterprise and that any that profits made will be invested back into the studio.
  • Alongside paid workshops for children Sara plans to host free activities / drop-in sessions where children and families can drop by and simply make whatever they fancy. 
  • And if my old embellishments, paper flowers and inks etc can help her offer that, than I'm delighted. What a way for my old supplies to gain a new lease of life.

What kinds of things could you send?
  • The sort of things I took included patterned papers, speciality papers, funky foam, stickers, alphabets, paper straws, flowers, pompoms, lolly-sticks, blanks to cover, books ... and more.
  • But it can be anything you think kids can use in creative play. I know you ... you know the kinds of things. 

Local friends: 
  • If you're coming to one of our usual crop days and want to bring something for me to drop off at The Start Studio, I'm happy to take in your donations! Sara makes a good cuppa so, I'm sure I'll be visiting again soon.
Further afield friends:

  • Please don't feel obliged to send anything ... this is purely a 'if you want to help, here's how you can' type offer. No hard sell here! 
  • But if you do and you're thinking about ease of posting/delivery from/in the UK then an A4 envelope weighing up to 1000g can be sent Second Class as a Small Parcel for £2.90. Or anything flat, but up to 750g, can go as a Large Letter for up to £2.14. (Full details via the Royal Mail site).
  • If you're outside the UK, you're welcome to join in but if postage is prohibitive, please don't worry about sending anything!
And do contact Sara directly at The Start Studio(their contact details are available on their Facebook page)if you think you can be of use to her in any other way.
  •  I don't know who's reading this ... maybe you've got magical / influential / creative connections and can open up a world of possible supply sponsorship opportunities. Can you?
  • I just know that, when I've mentioned good causes here in the past, nice people have made nice things happen, so there's no reason  to believe that won't happen again.  
  • Or maybe - as has already happened with a few companies - you have a local business whose waste /bi-product / off-cuts etc would come in handy for arty-up-cycling, again, please contact Sara if you think your product might be useful. 
And it might be nice...
  • If/when you do pop something into the post, you mention that you heard about The Start Studio from me! 
  • Not because I'm on commission (although I could maybe get her to pay me in tea) ... but because it'll make it slightly less like some random - albeit arty - junk mail dropping through her letterbox. 
And then pretty soon either your craft supplies, or you, or the pair of you will be enjoying the view from inside The Start Studio!

And, whether or not you send The Start Studio anything physical ... how about sending your support and well wishes for the launch on August 6th?

Wish Sara and The Start Studio well ...

Thank you in advance you lovely crafty people you!