Creative compassionate weaving for trauma or loss

by Mairi Breslin in Dunmore, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 29th May 2019 we successfully raised £9,710 with 26 supporters in 28 days

We aim to offer practical handweaving projects which will bring together trauma and loss survivors in a compassionate, creative environment.

by Mairi Breslin in Dunmore, Scotland, United Kingdom

New stretch target

I will purchase looms and specialist adjustments to make weaving accessible to all. There is a range of equipment which allows weaving to be done buy wheelchair users, or people who have limited mobility, with arms or legs only, or by feet, or mouth. Accessories without sharp blades or removable parts can be taken into secure facilities. Upgrades for more complex weaving can allow further complexity in items made. Sewing machines and fabric cutters will allow clothing and homeware products to be produced.


 


Living with Loss

Survivors of trauma and loss live with their experiences for all of their lives. Long after the flowers have faded, the "if you need anything just ask" offers have stopped and people understandably forget to remember what has happened, survivors are usually just coming to terms with what has happened. Their lives usually look like they have returned to normal, but the memories revisit them, often, and sometimes unexpectedly. When this happens frequently, and when the challenges of everyday life mount up, they can find themselves in a deep pit of darkness and despair.


When you're in that pit, it's so so difficult to find a way out. You might feel able to reach out for help, and it's often given from people you would never imagine! But if that doesn't work out, something has to happen to stop the pit getting deeper. 



Helping is Helpful

People who have suffered trauma are often more likely than not to offer help to someone who really needs it. It's a way of coping, to think that despite what you're going through, there is somebody who is worse off than you. It takes the focus away from the internal cycle of misery and forces you to look outside yourself. And it gives you a chance to do something useful, when you truly believe you have nothing more to give to the world.


When I was at an all time low, I found that doing something creative distracted me from my sadness and gave me a time of respite from everything that was going on in my head. I want to offer creative experiences to people who are suffering now, to give them a compassionate place where they can come, not for counselling or formal support, but to do something good for their own head space, while making something practical, beautiful and useful for somebody else who is suffering in a different way.



Healing Through Caring

I can see a project running where people have been bereaved make blankets and scarves for refugees. Perhaps the resettled refugees might make baby blankets for premature babies. Homeless people looking to get a place back in society might make blankets for dog shelters. In making these things, they are proving their worth, doing something useful, and benefitting from the mindful, therapeutic activities we will offer in the workshop.


Kindness is All We Need

It's not about counselling or therapy or offering mental health guidance. We will bring people together in our warm, safe place. When the eyes are downward and the hands are busy, people are often able to open up about how they are feeling, in a way that they struggle to do when having to sit face to face, making direct eye contact with a stranger. If it feels appropriate, we can signpost people to organisations who might be able to offer specialist help. We are there for companionship, not therapy. But maybe taking part in our workshop will help the survivors see how much they are valued, and they might then make the decision to reach out for more support from elsewhere.



Weaving is for Everyone

When we are up and running, we want to encourage the people who have enjoyed our service to help out in future. We also believe that the type of crafts we do are particularly suitable for people with learning disabilities, who will be encouraged, if they like it, to take their work further. We will offer sales outlets for the products they make, and we will hope they will learn the skills to run their own workshops, teaching others what they have learned. Longer term, this will provide a meaningful employment role, in what I hope will be a very worthwhile project.



What we Need

To make this happen, I need to raise £7500 for equipment, premises and running costs. Please do consider giving what you can. Please help me to help others make their lives more colourful, and leave the pit of darkness far behind.

Thank you. 

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£50 or more

£50 to design and weave your own tartan scarf!

Design and weave your own fun tartan, checked or striped scarf, on a rigid heddle loom, at a full day workshop at our studios in Stirling. Perfect for a gift for someone who has everything, or to treat yourself with!

£10 or more

£10 or more

£10 or more puts your name (or the name of the person you are donating for) on the wall of fame on our website

£20 or more

£20 buys a gift from our range of samples

We will send you one of our handmade products carefully chosen from the sample range (mug mat, brooch, purse) to keep or gift.

£30 or more

£30 buys a weaving workshop and scarf to take away

Come and weave your own single colour scarf on our rigid heddle weaving looms at our workshops in Stirling, with a half day workshop. Choose your own colours, textures and designs and make a beautiful unique scarf to take home with you.

£40 or more

£40 buys a pair of organic cotton dishtowels

We will hand weave a set of two dishtowels, of your own colour choice, on 100% organic cotton. Perfect for a wedding or housewarming gift, or as a treat for your hard working kitchen!

£45 or more

Handwoven picnic blanket for £45

Our handwoven picnic blankets are much admired, but are strictly limited items. We will handweave a 30 inch by 60 inch checked picnic blanket, in a choice of three colour schemes. We use hardwearing Scottish wool and the blanket comes with a carrying handle to take out on those long, sunny summer days.

£75 or more

1 of 30 claimed

£75 to learn how to weave from start to finish

Join us for an intensive day of weaving training on the rigid heddle looms, at a mutually suitable date. Have free use of all of the equipment in the studio, along with the vintage silks, recycled sari silk, organic cotton, whatever we have in stock. Take home what you make.

£500 or more

0 of 3 claimed

£500 to sponsor a portable loom

Wow thank you! You are buying a portable loom which will be used for the projects we run. We will engrave a message of encouragement on it from you. We can dedicate this to a loved one, if you choose to dedicate it. You will be invited to weave a scarf on the loom at a dedication event at our studios in Stirling.

£600 or more

0 of 3 claimed

£600 for a weaving party to rememember Wine! Cake!

We will bring our looms to your space (within 30 miles of Stirling) or host you at our studios, for a fun private weaving workshop for six people. Make an extra long banner for the group, or weave items individually. All materials and refreshments provided

£1,000 or more

2 of 3 claimed

£1000 sponsors a loom which allows weaving for all

Thank you so much, most generous benefactor! Your gift will provide a full size loom, suitable for adaptation for people with disabilities. We will engrave the loom with your dedication, so everyone using the loom will be aware of your kindness. You will be invited to our private dedication workshop in Stirling, where the loom will be set up for you to weave your own scarf on it, to take home.

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