Crafty plans don't always work
Sometimes things don't go to plan. But that's just part of life.
As the Kaiser Chiefs once said "Knock me down, I'll get right back up again... I'll come back stronger than a powered up Pac-Man".
I think one of my best attributes is the ability to be a powered up Pac-Man. And here's a story of how I needed that attribute in spades last year.
In Spring 2016, I was supported by Fife Cultural Trust to embark on an artist-led research project visiting lots of needle based craft groups. For FCT, it was research into crafters' engagement craft and in other cultural activities in their local area. For Mrs Magooty, it was development for a theatre piece called Crafty, celebrating and telling stories about the needle based craft world in Scotland.
Meeting different groups across Fife was an absolute joy. So many fabulously creative women, gathering with like minds to feed head, heart and hands.
As we travelled round, we recorded people's stories on little luggage tags. Capturing why people craft, where they learnt and how that impacts on their lives.
After that road-trip, we hunkered down and spent many, many days putting together an application to Creative Scotland's Open Fund. We had some fabulous partners on board - there was clearly an interest in work that attracted this (often new) audience into theatres.
Here's the blurb from that application to give my ramblings a little more context:
Crafty is a touring interactive theatre production which will be performed in non-traditional theatre spaces at afternoon tea time. It is a celebration of needle and thread craft making across Scotland, made with stories from the people in these groups through a participatory devising/writing process.
It is an exploration into why we knit, sew, embroider, bead, quilt, spin and weave, and the life affirming social and mindful benefits of making things with our hands slowly, in an ever accelerating world.
Crafty has been developed through meeting and sharing creative conversations with crafters across Scotland, delving into why we craft, why we form groups and how creativity makes our heart sing.
The piece centres on the character, Mrs Magooty who is a crafty old bird and the esteemed president of the guild. The audience are there to hear one of her infamous talks about her crafting life.
Through various twists and turns we are led on a story which explores growing older, loneliness, social connections and creativity. It will be funny, occasionally poignant and ultimately a celebration of making.
So with a wing and a prayer it was sent off through the email ether. Three months later... computer says no. There's lots of reasons why it didn't get funded, which I'll happily share over a cup of tea one day, but what was clear from CS's feedback was if we wanted to find suitable platforms for acknowledging, celebrating and sharing stories from the amateur craft world, this route wasn't, at present, going to work.
And like that powered up Pac-Man, we've developed, become a proper bonafide company and have secured a grant to do a small but perfectly formed project, hand-me-down which starts in a few months. This is part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archeaology, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and will explore, through making and story telling, our own personal histories of how crafts have been handed down through generations, alongside image and film from Scotland's historical archives of women's domestic craft through time.
This is just the beginning. Maybe Crafty will happen one day. Maybe not. But the essence of increased acknowledgement and celebration of the seemingly endless creativity going on every week, right across Scotland, will continue through all our work.
So if you were one of the wonderful crafters we met in Fife last year, here (finally) is the story as to why we've not been in contact about our theatre project. But do keep an eye on us at Mrs Magooty, as there may be something utterly crafty happening at any point.