Wow! What a weekend it was! Jackie Cardy came to Yate!!!! Actually, it was a big thing, Jackie usually teaches fairly local to her home area and this was her first visit south to teach and she combined the Yate workshop with one in Honiton.
The photo above (isn’t the panoramic feature of camera’s great?!) shows one of the rooms we have access to at the centre. Behind me is a door to another slightly smaller room which provides storage space for bags etc plus kitchen facilities for making our many cups of tea and grabbing slices of yummy cake!
The buildings at the Ridgewood are old, it was built in 1830 as The Workhouse, then was used as a hospital during WWII as Yate was on the bombing runs due to the munitions factories in the area. It then became a care home before being handed over to the community. So a place with a lot of history and many interlocking rooms and passageways!
It is now used as a community centre with a preschool, art clubs, dancing clubs, classes for children throughout the day etc and the building reflects this very varied use and this does mean that we have to work with the building and it’s uses. For example, if we use the dedicated art rooms with 2 rooms, kitchen and tiny toilet, we have to be prepared to lug our supplies upstairs – not always ideal when we have heavy sewing machines! Or as in the case of the large rooms we used this weekend, we have the cafe right next door with it’s wonderful smells of bacon or cake wafting through and the nearest toilets are next to the room that often does children’s activities so the toilet is a normal size but the small sink with it’s mickey mouse taps (wings on the tap to help children use them) is a bit lower down than usual as is the low down hand dryer. It’s not perfect, it does mean I do a bit of juggling round with the Centre Manager to find the best rooms for each workshop I run here but, I do like the fact that each workshop I run, adds to the coffers that help the centre keep going.
That community aspect is important to me but so is the history. I come from a small town in the North West and the history of that town is very visible whether you live there or just driving through but the majority of people coming to Yate see the 1960’s housing boom and shopping centre and the history of Yate is hidden. Yate is an old town, there has been a settlement here since 778 AD though historians believe that the late Neolithic and Bronze Age people used the woodland that covered the area for grazing and crops. There has also been recent excavations of roman buildings plus Yate is mentioned in the Saxon Chronicles as well as the Doomsday Book. So on a personal level I feel it’s important to try and support the local area and keep what is an important building to Yate and it’s history open.
This isn’t meant to be a history lesson! I just wanted to try and explain why I use this community centre with its great parking, fantastic facilities and occasional idiosyncrasies to host the workshops – I hope if you’ve attended or are thinking about attending, you can understand my choice and enjoy this amazing part of history!
Anyhow, I digress! As I started off saying… wow! what a weekend it was! Jackie Cardy came to Yate!!!! Jackie was a fantastic teacher, she explained every stage clearly covering beginner to more experienced tips in one go and was very giving with information and support as the students progressed. Each student worked on 2 pieces both involving wet felting and stitch but each piece had it’s own way of being worked from start to finish but… I’m not going to give Jackie’s secrets away – you will have to come and do her next workshop to find out more!! Some students used the same inspiration for both pieces and some chose to experiment and try different approaches with each piece.
Didn’t they do fantastic?! I hope everyone remembers to send a photo of their completely finished pieces (stitched and blocked!) for me to put on the blog! Hopefully Jackie will be coming back to teach another workshop, so do keep an eye on the website if you are interested in coming along.
The next workshop is March 10th and 11th with Amanda Hislop. Amanda is teaching her “Developing Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource” workshop – a two day creative workshop working with a sketchbook exploring mark making, abstract images and stitch to create a resource of ideas for future work. If you’d like more information, have a look at the workshop page or contact me to book your place – just 4 spaces left!