Sunday, 11 November 2012

MADE Cafe, Whitley Bay

Made Cafe, 31 Station Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2QZ

I booked on 'Embroidery done cool' a half-day class at MADE cafe, Whitley Bay. I wanted to have a go at embroidery, in a safe environment, without having to buy all of the paraphernalia that goes with a new craft/hobby.

The half-day course ran from 10.30-1.30pm in the cafe, led by Jeannie - cafe owner, crafting queen and (after chatting to her) a workaholic too!

The other attendees arrived and we took our seats at the craft-table, towards the back of the cafe and spent the first few minutes taking in the homely craft lovers haven, home made pompoms above the till at the cafe, stencilled walls by the sewing machines, crafted wall-art, upholstered chairs, the cafe furniture was reclaimed and spruced up, an assortment of craft books/magazines gallore, a collection of material scraps. It was my idea of the kind of buisness I'd love to set up and run. I think we all were secretly a little bit jealous of Jeannie's craft-den, we all wanted one in our home.

There were four of us, classes kept small so that Jeannie can devote time to demonstrate and help each attendee.

And then the class began, introducing embroidery as its done today, not twee or old-womanish, this was different - taking templates and inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, made from anything.

Practicing my stitches

The light-bulb moment in the class....

Jeannie encouraged us to believe that there are no rules to embroidery; you can find a template and follow it - but how you follow the template is up to you, you choose the colours, the stitches etc.

It sounded wonderfully liberating, I could see that anything was possible, embroidery on artwork, clothes, cushions, bags. I could do anything, I just needed to let go of the doubt 'what ifs' and my (sometimes) perfectionist-ways...

I was expecting to have special material, special thread, special templates and expensive stuff. But no, it seems that embroidery today can be done on anything, with most things and it really doesn't cost the earth.

The material we used to practice basic stitches was just 'a pillowcase cut into pieces' - oh.

Jeannie talked about finding, creating and using templates - and also that it's fine to freestyle too (if the urge takes you), making it look so easy, and it was.

The perfectionist in me - kicking in

I'm one of those people who likes to make something for a reason, not for the hell of it, if I'm making this a gift then that's why I'm making it. I don't always see the value in creating something as a practice or to experiment because I'll need to find a place for it in my home....and then I'll need to think about 'where' its going to go, and make sure that its the right colour and style and shape....and there goes my OCD.

(I've gone back and re-read Jeannies lightbulb moment to calm myself down)

 Once we'd cracked the basic stitches we then set off on our own projects, a cloth bag and a pillowcase...I took up a piece of patterned fabric and wanted to practice my stitches, so followed some of the shapes and colours on the material to embellish the original image and to practice the stitches I'd learnt during the morning.

Chit chat

I can see why there are groups for crafting, knitting etc, its not just about creating something beautiful by hand, its also about the social side of things. We were five complete strangers when we arrived, but the conversation flowed, chatting about what were were making, asked each other about what colours we'd choose, what stitch to pick and just enjoyed being amongst people who love to create stuff. We talked about other things we'd done, mosaic tiling, candle making, paper-quilling, card-making, brooch making. Between us we were quite a creative bunch. I felt that they had bags more experience than me, and wondered whether my perfectionism and OCD was holding me back?

Coffee (& cake) time

Coffee break

There was mid-class tea/coffee from the cafe delivered to the craft table with home made raspberry and white chocolate
We were all in agreement that we loved what Jeannie and her husband had done with the place.

Home time

The class was due to finish at 1pm, I didn't leave until 1.40pm, neither did the others - we'd just had such a great time we wanted to stay all afternoon, there was no rush for us to leave but we couldn't really stay as Jeannie had another class starting at about 2pm.

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