Dates announced for Voluntary Arts Week 2014

With the nights drawing in, a chill in the air and Christmas on the horizon, May might seem like a long way off but not for the team at Voluntary Arts!  We have a creative date for your (new) diary – the next Voluntary Arts Week will take place from 9-18 May!

If you’re planning to run a special workshop, performance or exhibition in May 2014 make sure it falls within 9-18 May to reach out to new members and benefit from some extra publicity.

This is also a great opportunity to join up with arts and craft groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland and be part of something BIGGER as we celebrate amateur arts and crafts activity on a nation-wide scale.

158 How to get involved in Voluntary Arts Week v3_Page_1Take a look at the Voluntary Arts Week Information Briefing to find out how you can take part and for details of the Voluntary Arts Week CraftBomb, which promises to be even bigger, better and woollier than last year!










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CraftBomb at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens this Saturday 11 May!

Join Voluntary Arts Scotland at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens this Saturday for some CraftBomb fun!

Programme May 11_Page_1Programme May 11_Page_2


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Glasgow CraftBomb

craft---no-textOn Saturday 11 May, the Voluntary Arts Week CraftBomb will transform Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens into a riot of colourful craftwork. So whether you knit, sew, crochet or quilt, whether it’s tapestry you weave or baskets, join the craft event of the year!

Sunday 14 April – CraftBomb Workshop Day at Glasgow Botanic Gardens. FREE drop-in craft activities for all the family from 11am – 4pm. Learn new crafting skills and contribute what you make to the CraftBomb stash.

Saturday 11 May – CraftBomb launch! FREE drop-in workshops for all the family from 10am – 4pm. Make creations to add to the CraftBomb, and enjoy performances and live artworks from local groups.

Can’t wait to get started?  Contact and we’ll email you the free CraftBomb pack, with instructions on how to make pompoms, fabric birds and knitted bunting.  Whether you’re an individual crafter or part of a group – get involved and get creative!

CraftBomb Flyer - glasgow

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CraftBomb: Tag

To badge your CraftBomb as part of Voluntary Arts Week download the Voluntary Arts Week Tags, print them out, laminate (if you have the facility), punch a hole in the top rights corner and attach to your CraftBomb with a piece of string. 

There is space for you to add your details on the reverse of the tag, be this the name of your group, details about your next meet-up, a link to your website, a poem, some crafty words of wisdom…its up to you!

CraftBomb tags

If you are part of a group and have a meet-up, workshop or event that falls during Voluntary Arts Week, 11 – 19 May, make sure you tell us about it.  You can list this on the ‘What’s on’ page and who knows, your CraftBomb could inspire some new people to come along!

*Please note: only tag your CraftBomb as part of Voluntary Arts Week if you have got permission to install it.  Voluntary Arts cannot take responsibility for any damage to property or people.


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CraftBomb: Flyer

Use this flyer to help  recruit a few more members to your CraftBomb hit squad! Simply download the CraftBomb flyer, print it out (double sided), enter your contact details and circulate among your friends, pin on your local notice board – you could even ask your local craft shop to display some on the counter.

CraftBomb invites2

This is a great way to make contact with keen crafters who live locally, tell them about your CraftBomb plans and see how they might like to contribute.

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CraftBomb: Materials

You’ve got the ideas, you’re busy spreading the word but you need some help gathering materials?

  •  Firstly, it’s worth noting that avid crafters often have a stash of craft materials they’d like to see put to good use.  Ask your friends/family/local charity shop/art store/school if they have any unwanted materials they’d like to donate to your project.
  • Voluntary Arts could do a shout out for materials in one of our enewsletters, so get in touch (details in the pack).
  • Scrapstores UK – a fantastic resource that is not only cheap, but has heaps of materials and promotes reusing and recycling items that would otherwise go to landfill.  Visit to find out where your nearest Scrapstore is.
  • Reuse and recycle – could you use plastic bottles, tin cans, jam jars, old clothes etc. for your CraftBomb? It’s amazing how throw-away items can be transformed into something bright and beautiful. 
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CraftBomb: Get more people involved – hints tips and ideas

You can use our CraftBomb flyers to invite more people to be part of your ‘top secret craft project’. Provide a key contact email and only give people more details once they get in touch to add to the mystery, or why not use facebook to spread the word?

You could even make an invite only, facebook group for your CraftBomb as a way to keep your ‘secret craft squad’ updated.  Encourage people to post up photos to inspire the group and update each other on your work in progress as the 9 May approaches – this is a great way to share ideas and create a buzz around the project.

If you’re thinking big, here are a few more ideas for how you can get more people involved:

Give a shout out for contributions – These can then be brought together to create a collective piece. For example bunting triangles, pom poms and crocheted squares can be hung on railings or used to decorate trees/lampposts/benches etc. Contributions could come from around the corner or across the world!

Here are some great projects that were achieved through group effort:

Advertise locally – Use the CraftBomb flyers (hyper link to the flyer) to let people in your local community know what you have planned (without giving too much away) and invite them to contribute.

Run a workshop – Organise a crafty workshop and invite members of the public to make items for the CraftBomb. They can either leave it with you or help you hang it on the day.

Work with a venue – Approach your local arts venue, school or community centre to see if you could run a CraftBomb workshop with their regular members.

Link with other groups – Find out about other craft groups in your area (working in the same craftform or a different one) and see if you can get creative together.

Local authorities/councils – Contact your local Arts Officer or Community Officer to let them know what you have planned. They might have some useful contacts and could help spread the word to local groups/participants.

Remember, the great thing about your CraftBomb is the sense of mystery and surprise your work can have on passers-by.  So remember to keep a level of secrecy about your project when your spreading the word. Shhhhhhh!

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CraftBomb: Get permission – hints and tips

You can, of course, craft to your heart’s content on your own private property – if you are part of an arts venue/community centre or in your own garden, driveway etc. But if you are thinking of using the local park, town square, school playground, village hall etc. you must contact the relevant authorities to get the OK. Part of this may involve carrying out a health & safety risk assessment (for example, if you are going to use ladders to mount your craftwork).

When contacting the relevant authorities, it is worth mentioning the following:

  • The CraftBomb is part of a nationwide project which is aimed at engaging communities and celebrating creativity. When getting in touch with people, please mention Voluntary Arts Week and point them towards the website (
  • By nature, the CraftBomb will be temporary and should be easy to install/ take down.
  • State that you will be the key contact for your CraftBomb, and be responsible for putting up/taking down the work. Provide dates/times for when you intend to do this, along with your contact details.
  • Point out that this is a great way of brightening up the neighbourhood and creating something positive for passers-by and the local press to report on.

Take a note of the person you had communication with, and make sure you are clear about what you can and can’t do.

Don’t be put off if you don’t get an immediate response. Try an alternative way of communicating (phone / email). If you’re having trouble tracking down the right person, get in touch with us via and we’ll try and help you.

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Remade in Edinburgh drop in session

Today we visited Remade in Edinburgh’s weekly drop-in session, which this week had a brilliant mosaic tutorial from Rachel Fell of Third Rock Mosaics.

Remade in Edinburgh is a community-led initiative to create a reuse and repair centre in Edinburgh, with activities ranging from quilting, computer repair, furniture repair and dressmaking. They meet at South Bridge Resource Centre on Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, every Friday morning between 10 and 12.

While there we met some great people and Cassandra tried her hand at making a mosaic coaster out of a recycled block of wood, broken crockery and tiles (and a beer bottle top for the centre-piece!).

They are hosting a series of ‘Sewing and Mending for Beginners’ evening classes at Materialise sewing cafe, Lady Lawson Street, starting on Monday 21 May.

To find out more email or book online at

For more information about Remade in Edinburgh, or to keep up to date with their weekly sessions by joining their mailing list, drop them an email at

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Voluntary Arts Week Ireland

Here are some of the events that our Voluntary Arts Ireland team have visited so far! To see what events are still to come in the second half of the week, have a look at our events listing here.


Open Source

To mark the start of Voluntary Arts Week on Saturday we visited Open Source Belfast to see what all the commotion was about and what an event it was! Great atmosphere and loads of voluntary arts activities for everyone to try out.

Everything from basket weaving, to singing lessons, face painting, craft workshops and sewing exhibitions, there was something for the whole family to get involved in. I wish there was something like this on everyday of the week!


Macushla Dance Club

Macushla, a free dance club for the over-50s, meets every Thursday at noon in Dublin’s Dancehouse. Each week it attracts around forty dancers, and some have been coming here since it opened in 2006. Many remember the former Macushla Ballroom in Foley Street, which gave the club its name, and for a generation who graduated from Dublin’s dance halls it’s opening up a whole new world of social dancing.

Some club members have performed at festivals under the guidance of choreographer Rionach Ní Neill. Others have taken flash mobs to the streets of Dublin – just last week many were in Grafton Street to mark the European Year for Active Ageing. In the class, the atmosphere is easy and friendly. Warm-ups are seated, giving time to work on posture and to develop fluid stretching. As the music warms up, moving from a gentle andante to Dean Martin’s ‘Volare’, some start to sing along. This week, the goal is partner dancing to the cha cha cha. Next week is another adventure.


Art Fair

A collective of amateur and professional artists got together in Gweedore, County Donegal to put on an Art Fair, showcasing some of the work they produced and also encouraging the public to come along and know more about the various artforms.  There were also opportunities for the public to try some of the activities for themselves and local face painters were on hand to paint the kids’ faces.

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