'˜Come and immerse yourself in creativity' at Making Space

Fancy getting creative?Making Space opened its doors almost 10 years ago in Leigh Park and gives opportunities for people to develop design and making skills, while increasing personal wellbeing through involvement in high-quality craft.

Saturday, 8th April 2017, 6:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:55 pm
Kathryn Green, textile designer and maker with some of her 'mark making' samples Picture: Malcolm Wells (170403-9299)

Now the team behind the charity are offering more than ever before, with taster sessions, workshops and masterclasses.

Lynne Dick, 53, is the director at Making Space and has worked with the company for six years. She says: ‘Visiting us is all about exploring ideas, spending a bit of time on yourself – away from your gadgets if you wish – and immersing yourself in a world of creativity.

‘The rewards you get from learning new skills and using your imagination in this way is very enriching. The experience is also very sociable – you can make friends and chat.

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‘We’ve revived a lot of our sessions. We used to invite people who hadn’t really done anything arty before along to classes that lasted a whole day. What we realised is it could be seen as a risk to pay for a whole day’s session, to do something a person isn’t even sure if they like.’

She adds: ‘With our new two-hour taster sessions in precious metal clay, mark making, ceramic vessels and mood boards, people have the chance to dip their toes in the water and if they do like what they’ve seen, heard or made, they can go on to do a masterclass or longer course.

‘The sessions are for beginners and those who want to develop skills they already have. Using the ceramic vessels taster session as an example, there might be someone out there already doing ceramics, but who has never thrown a pot.

‘Or, in the case of jewellery making, someone who has never worked with precious metal clay.

‘This year, the year we celebrate our 10th birthday, is a turning point for us. We knew had to be mindful that some people consider taking part in arts as an added extra cost. We want to offer sessions that are affordable and we’ve spent time on a new business plan and website.’

As well as the taster sessions, those interested in arts and crafts can also try one-day workshops and masterclasses. Although some are better attended with a little experience, it’s not essential. Sessions are taught by some of the six tenants who have their own studios at Making Space, former tenants or associates.

Lynne explains: ‘The masterclasses are for people with some experience, but beginners are welcome. They’d just need to bare in mind it might be more difficult to come away with something at the end of the day if they don’t have any experience in the subject at all, but they will learn a lot and it’s all about development.’

The charity was set up 15 years ago and it took five years for the trustees and funders to raise money for and build its base, which is 10 years old next month.

Lynne says: ‘The building we’re in is unique for Hampshire because there are not many bespoke ones for visual arts in the county. It was set up to support creative makers and designers with seven studios and two workshops, and we’ve had 20 different practitioners come through over the years – and that includes specialities in film, photography, glass, ceramics, and more.

‘We do a huge amount of work in the community and have worked with about 25,000 people so far. A lot of it takes place in and around Leigh Park in schools, at day centres for elderly people and so on. All the work we do involves professional artists, who we pay to work with the community.’

Making Space is grant-aided by their main source of funds, Hampshire County Council, which owns the building. The charity also receives donations from Havant Borough Council, raises money for itself and relies upon the generosity of others who wish to support its work.

The newest studio tenant is textile designer and maker Kathryn Green. The 45-year-old is a qualified teacher and will be running some of the summer workshops, including mark making on silk and mood boards.

Kathryn says: ‘I come to my studio as often as I can, it’s my space to work with and in it I go through the process of idea through to creation.

‘I used to work in my garden shed in East Anglia and when I moved down to South Harting in Chichester I was looking for a new space. As soon I walked through the doors of Making Space I thought “I really want to be here” because it has such a nice community feel.

‘Artists often have to work in isolation which can get lonely, so the shared environment where you can also share ideas is great.

‘The mood board workshop is about helping people to put together ideas that can be used as design tools. Class attendees are invited to bring along their own inspirations such as pictures, magazine cuttings, scraps of fabric, or small objects and so on.

‘It’s about collating them so they start to form a story. Once they’ve got that they’re able to take it through to a design idea.

‘They might draw from that mood board, print, or produce a pair of curtains or art. Mood boards can even be used to design homes. It’s a form of inspiration for colours and textures and people don’t have to turn up to the class with a fully-formed idea, it will develop along the way.

‘Mark making with silk is an exploratory workshop which allows people to explore the potential of an object and the marks you can make with it on fabric. Objects from those marks such as cushion covers could be made. Or, the class can be used as a standalone for people to explore other possibilities. All that’s required is an interest, as you’re coming along to try something and see where it takes you. The possibilities are endless.’

Making Space is at 2 Bishopstoke Road, Leigh Park, Havant, PO9 5BN. Call (023) 9247 2491 or visit makingspace.org to find out more.