Hum and Strum is for people who like to get together for an informal jam. Come and have a go at singing, harmonising, playing guitar, ukulele, percussion in any combination! You don't have to be very experienced, you just have to enjoy making music. There are no auditions, and the atmosphere is very relaxed and informal. Meetings are on a semi-regular basis, arranged through mutual agreement.
As Pass it on Skills developed so has the offers by members and we've seen a whole host of wonderfully creative and exciting one off adventures.
Beginners patchwork A lot of skills members early on expressed a desire to learn how to sew and specifically to learn how to use a sewing machine. Ruth Patrick led a session whereby people got to know their sewing machine and produced some pieces of patchwork.
Christmas Crafts Sally Southern led a session incorporating a number of ideas for a Christmas Craft session. Included were how to make felt flowers, bespoke cards using buttons and newspaper and hanging heart decorations. Helen Lancaster who came showed the group how to make sock snowman who were filled with rice. The group produced some amazing handcrafted gifts for the season.
Waldorf Dolls Joanne Ruth Adams kindly suggested this from the interest shown in sewing projects. Waldorf or Steiner dolls are used in Waldorf education and made using traditional techniques of wool and cotton.
" I'm planning on showing a really simple doll initially and then hopefully giving you the skills and showing you how to find good resources and materials to make more complex designs. I'm certainly not an expert but I'm happy to share everything I know".
A small group of people were able to produce these wonderful dolls.
Kids Hair Styles There was a lot of interest in hair styles and in particular how people achieved certain looks. Louise RK Sheen led a fun and informative session managing to demonstrate Dutch and French style plaits on children aged 2 to 13 years old. Louise passed on a number of top tips about the difference between the plaits, how to start them and how to achieve certain looks which I know I've reused on a regular basis at home.
Origami As a result of the Pass it on Gathering there was a request for an origami session. The origami session is now organised and Rebecca Robles is to share this art form with a small group of people soon.
It started with a thought on the 10th of October – the group was a mere 4 days old.
“I've had some wine, but I've had a thought. In Cullercoats, in fact all over the North in the old days, women came together to make proggy mats. How about a joint project we could work on? Also, for knitters, C'coats fishermen wore ganseys with particular patterns....folk revival anyone?! X” *
The first meeting was arranged for the 13th of November 2015 at Cullercoats library (yes it was Friday the 13th, no horror stories, unless you were one on the t-shirts cut into small pieces) from the beginning the plan was to learn the basics, then a joint project, possibly for the library which was kindly hosting the gathering. It turns out that 2016 is the library’s centenary so something for the library in commemoration of 100 years of a Cullercoats Library.
* Ganseys hasn’t happened – yet, but two beginners knitting courses have already happened and morphed into a social knitting group.
At its simplest, a proggy mat is a design drawn on a piece of hessian, then filled with strips of material poked (progged) through the hessian. Variants on the idea include hooky mats, where the strip of material is pulled through the hessian with a hook and clippie mats where the design is clipped (sculpted) into 3D relief with scissors.
As Pass it on Skills grew it was suggested that the group could apply for a Smalls Sparks Grant. "A Small Spark is a grant to help local people with an idea, do something to make their community better and bring people together" Whitley Bay Big Local
The Small Sparks application was successful and the Pass it on Skills group was awarded £250.00. The money has been spent in a number of ways. Firstly, we have used the grant money like seed funding by using it on materials and feeding that money back into our larger community. Examples of this are one off projects for example working in conjunction with 'Making Winter Warmer" where pass it on skills members came together in to knit hats and scarves for local homeless people which were then donated and given out through the MWW outreach workers.
Secondly, wool and embellishments have been used in the Twiddle Muffs project. The completed pieces from this project will be shared with North Tyneside Hospital. The Twiddle Muffs project has been carried out in collaboration with Earsdon Grange Residential Home and its residents have been an important part of the meetings.
As well as producing something which will help support a patient with dementia in hospital the making of the twiddle muffs has helped bring together residents who could be isolated within a residential care setting with pass it on skills members. There has been an important social and fun aspect to the group meetings. Julia Goldblatts experience is a wonderful testament to this
I have loved joining the weekly twiddle-muff knitting sessions held at the local care home where my mum lives. Sharing the knitting sessions with the residents and watching them rediscover their knitting skills has been very special. As a group we have also produced a range of gorgeous handmade twiddle-muffs which will be used by people living with dementia in hospitals and care homes. Really enjoyed today's session Julie Goldblatt
The small sparks money was also used to support the first pass it on gathering and to enable one off projects like kids hair styles a place to meet by paying for venue hire.
Pass It On Skills is a way of sharing, learning and preserving skills, of building knowledge, confidence and experiences. The group is a grass roots skills exchange mainly co-ordinated through a Facebook page. It's grown and developed in response to requests and offers from within its membership. Individuals are coming together and forming a community, based in mutual respect and recognising that everyone has something to offer and that learning together is both fun and rewarding.
There have been some unintentional but wonderful secondary consequences that have come out of the skills experiences. Two examples that have stood out for me have been a prominent member who has mental health problems and physical health problems has said she feels equally valued through skills and not defined by her illness - she helps teach others. And in another example a skills person has found a new way to spend time with her mother who has dementia through the shared enjoyment of knitting.
Perhaps it's best expressed in the words of our members:
What does Pass It On Skills mean to people? - Feedback from the Facebook Group
I think it's a great enterprise and has lots of potential. I have enjoyed passing on my crochet skills and look forward to sharing more as time goes by. It has been interesting to me to find people who learn in the same way as I do and to be able to share with them.
Though health has kept me from a couple of other meetings where I could have been learning skills, I anticipate much more involvement in the future and over long period. As a disabled person with complex needs (I have C-P.T.S.D., D.I.D. and fibromyalgia among other things) I can tend to become socially isolated, and though I have had a number of options offered, I didn't want to join groups solely related to my diagnoses (keep me out of those pigeonholes!).
Instead of being the passive recipient of a service aimed at a cohort of disabled people, I am part of a collective and can give as well as receive and this is very important for self-esteem which is so easily lost with the change of identity that comes with chronic health issues. I am just like anyone else with skills to share and to learn and love the fabulously creative and community oriented people I am now meeting and the relaxed, yet not lax environment.
'Pass it on Skills' feels to me like a much needed safe space, and a brilliant way for me to begin to re-engage socially while learning about and utilising my strengths and skills. I am also passionate about community ventures which bypass capitalist mores so I have a love of the political aspect too.
I look forward to more and ongoing skill sharing sessions. Thanks,
I've only been able at attend one meeting so far - Proggy Matting. It was great to hear about the history and variation of names for the craft around the area. Sitting in that circle of ladies made me feel not only part of the community, but part of acontinuing history. I felt a connection to the families who used to put these mats on their beds on cold winter nights, before moving them to the bedroom floor and finally the downstairs floor. An amazing tradition. I know a lot of people who as kids hated making them, but who have now asked me to make one for them! At my pace they may get a cushion!
I have been to 2 craft afternoons and loved them both, meeting lovely people and new crafts at the same time, a big thank you to Sally for passing on her knowledge and Joanna Bates for making it possible. PLUS I have actually learned to ride a bike, and at 62 it was no mean feat I can tell you. Phil Goldblatt made it possible as he was so patient with me and gave me the confidence to do it, I would recommend him to anyone wanting to brush up on their cycling or even a beginner like me. Without this site I would still be struggling with various ventures but now have new skills to practice, particularly the Proggy Mat craft. Come on people, give everything a go and keep this site alive.