Crafting in the online world

Updated: a day ago

Creating workshops that address waste culture and bring accessible crafts to people all ages.

COVID has changed the nature of a lot of our activities, and at Immortal Bloom the challenge was how to bring our ethos of raising awareness of plastic waste through creative reuse, to an audience forced to stay at home.

Though we started out exploring these issues through more public works, the shift to online working gave us an opportunity to look at the weekly 2kg of plastic waste an average household generates. Our PET Shop workshop series, named after one of the most common packaging plastics, allowed us to work alongside diverse communities across West Yorkshire and beyond without having to leave our homes. The online tutorials allowed participants to come away and practice the technique at their own pace, in the comfort of their homes, and later share them with others.

Recycling waste laid on grass
Some of the recycling tips contents of one of our participants

We wanted to push this further through online social interaction, where people could come and chat to each other, meet new people, and create a sense of community that would otherwise be impossible while secluded. From working with groups that have an array of social and physical challenges, we have a deeper appreciation for those who may have found traditional practices demanding, and also how we can make crafting workshops more accessible to new audiences. Online crafts provide a safe space for those who may not even want to socialise, instead giving them something to do in company creating strong community cohesion.

Our most recent workshop was based in the valley town of Todmorden, where families and young people aged 6-10 joined us in making little aquatic creatures from one plastic bottle. What was really lovely, was that working with children and parents, some wanted to use additional materials from their recycling bins. Demonstrating simple techniques, and using only tools found at home, we spent an hour making one fish and one starfish, with almost no non-recyclable waste.

We were also glad to have received a small grant award for contribution to the arts and community cohesion during COVID lockdown, and we’re looking forward to developing our workshop series and outreach concerning the problems and properties of plastic packaging. The online nature of the workshops means we can deliver them to audiences anywhere, and participants will generally have access to the materials already in their recycling bins. Check out our DIY Fish on our youtube channel.

Todmorden Town Council logo
Leeds Inspired logo
These workshops were made possible by funding from Todmorden Town Council and Leeds Inspired

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