Welcome to the Crafty Culture: Make a Mandala installation
In preparation for re-starting our Crafty Culture group in September, after the impact of COVID-19, we invited locals from around Rushmoor to crochet their own mandalas in order to create this textile art installation. The project was set up to encourage people feeling isolated, because of the pandemic, to take part in a community-wide arts project.
It's a celebration of creativity and the local community, bringing vibrancy to the town centre, in collaboration with Hampshire Cultural Trust's West End Centre and artists Barbara Touati-Evans and Gemma MacLennan. Funded by Rushmoor Borough Council.
Whether participants joined one of our Make a Mandala workshops in June, crocheted their own pattern at home or picked up a free pack of materials from on of our community collection points to take part, we're blown away by the beautiful creations that now hang in the Princes Garden bandstand.
“This project has given many people a sense of community spirit at a time when we have needed it most. During lockdown, a lot of people have felt really isolated - mental health and how we can look after our own wellbeing have really come through to the forefront of the project. It has enabled people to create their mandalas safely at home, whilst at the same time allowing participants to feel part of a much larger project that the whole community can enjoy.” - Alana Jones, Community Programme Coordinator at West End Centre.
Here are just a few project participants telling us their feedback, stories and reasons behind their involvement...
"I recently completed a beginners crochet course with Hampshire Cultural Trust, I wanted to contribute to the art project, as a thank you." - Sandra
"I found crocheting helped to 'slow down' my head and life temporarily - I would have made mine a lot bigger if I'd had the time!" - George Ellis
"I wanted to build on my (very!) basic crochet skills and create something both aesthetically pretty and useful. I was also very excited to be part of a community project and attend a real-life workshop, which we haven't been able to do since before lockdown! Mandalas are a spiritual symbol and are therefore important for both creative and therapeutic reasons." - Emma Newson
"It will help to brighten up the bandstand in Aldershot! It also gave me something to do in my retirement." - Debbie Webb
"It's a lovely project and I wanted to support it. It came at the right time for me as I needed a distraction as I prepared for some intrusive medical tests. Mindfully, repetitively crocheting really helped me to stay calm and to take my mind away from over stressing. Thank you!" - Ginny
"I enjoy craft and I thought it would be a good opportunity to improve my crochet and have fun with my friends that I did it with." - Catherine Norman
A massive thank you to our community collection points for helping us to supply the community with crochet material packs: Farnborough Library, Aldershot Library, The Dressing Up Shop and Aldershot Market.
Want to join Crafty Culture classes at West End Centre in September?
On Monday 13 September, Crafty Culture returns to West End Centre - friendly weekly drop in sessions hosted by Barbara Touati-Evans where everybody is welcome! You can either learn some basic crochet skills or come along to get creative by doing your own thing and socialising - creations can include rag rugs, knitted scarf, embroidery, jewellery, pattern cutting...the list goes on!
Tickets: FREE (please book in advance)
Sessions: Mondays from 13 September - 18 October, 1pm - 3pm
Book your space on Crafty Culture at West End Centre in Aldershot here.