adult workshops, Communication, Community, connection, creative writing, creativity, Family, storytelling, workshops

Let’s Raise Each Other Up

Your voice reminds me
That I do not know all things.
Thank you for that gift.

The biggest gift we can give someone is recognition. We can thank them for their hard work, commend them for their talents, celebrate their victories. We can tell them that we can see their suffering, their challenges and their obstacles. Recognition can be eye contact, a hand on the arm, a laugh. It can be a pay rise, a gold medal or a qualification.

When I think of the stories I have heard or the books I have read, the tales that have truly resonated with me are the ones where I see something of myself. Mostly this recognition is there through a shared inner conflict but sometimes it is about circumstances. Some stories get under my skin and I carry them endlessly for days, weeks, months or even years. Other stories pass though my ears to my voice and I move onwards leaving that story behind.

When it comes to the books, I want to read a similar type. They tell tales of some far off, often imagined land or time, where characters contend with something other worldly. Everything about these books have been considered, scrutinised, maximised to telling the best story. These stories are everywhere, packaged for all ages and stages.

When I think of the stories that stay with me, they often came at a moment that I had no idea I was going to hear them. These stories are not ones I would pick up off a book shelf or are stories where I recognise myself. They are often tales of injustice. They catch at my heart, holding it still and squeezing it tight at the unfairness of a situation. These stories are told in ways that are unedited. The way they are told is not considered in the same way that the books above have been. They are told, because the person telling them wants recognition. Even though, I do not see myself in these stories, I see the person talking.

In the whispered worries of participants in community settings, underneath the ‘what if I am not good enough’, there is a thought that has come loose. Its untethered to what has gone before. Its raw an it speaks amongst the scrunched up paper in the bin. It says ‘No one wants to hear my story.’

I love books and could spend hour after hour reading. However I often wonder are we representing everyone or are we only representing some? If you feel like you don’t belong in a book, you probably think you don’t belong in a story. If you feel like you don’t have the circumstances to write a book, you probably feel like you don’t have anything interesting to say.

‘I have a notebook stuffed with things I want to write and one day I might’

Not only does the story disappear from you lips but it disappears from the ears of the listener. Its gone to some far off corner of lost property and we all loose an opportunity to share an experience or a connection. Reflecting on the last few years, we have lost so much. So many chance encounters and moments shared with others. So many voices that have been behind closed doors.

So let’s open more doors. Let’s gather together. Let’s share our stories. Let’s Listen to each other and in doing so let’s raise each other higher.

Communication, Community, connection, creative writing, creativity, Joy, storytelling

Let’s Tell Our Story Together

We’re playing Pooh sticks. We are on a bridge, each armed with a stick of one size or another. All waiting in anticipation to let go. All wishing that our sticks won’t get caught in the reeds on the river bank on the way through. All hoping that we have picked a good stick. All holding our breath to see who’s stick will appear first on the other side of the bridge. Its a quiet nervousness mixed with bubbles of excitement.

The bridge we are stood on remains a constant. A solid structure from one side to the next. It is our place to play. It is over a hundred years old, this stone bridge. So many feet have passed over it. Bricks laid by hands that history forgot. Time marching onwards and the river flows below. Endless water washing down the mountain streams to a rapid river, under our bridge and out to sea.

My story of playing Pooh sticks with my children is linked to playing Pooh sticks with my cousins in the stream near my Grandpa’s house under the watchful eye of our mother’s who played Pooh sticks with their own cousins.

My story of playing Pooh sticks on this bridge is linked to all the feet who came before me, all the water that has flowed under it, the two opposing banks and the division that was healed through the foundations of the bridge. My story can only happen because of all those other stories that have come before. My story can be told in many ways with many connections and conflicts and characters.

The most magical thing about my story is that it has no doubt triggered other stories in you. Your childhood games, bridges you have crossed, gone and much loved grandparents. Tales of meandering rivers, hiding amongst the bull rushes and splashing in streams in moonlit dips.

In telling one story, we trigger more. In triggering more stories, we create a space for other stories to exist. We let the words of others fill our heads with images. We sit inside each others lives and worlds and loves and hates. We build bridges were there were none and discover hidden paths to memories and places that maybe we have forgotten. In telling one story, we tell many. We listen to a story, we connect. We remind each other to look up, to play, to explore, to take risks. We see ourselves in each other and we marvel with joy in sharing. We tell our stories together.

Stories can build bridges 
Between people, places and ideas.
They are a circle.
They never really end,
But seed new beginnings and possibilities.
They help us make sense of chaos,
Overcome conflict,
Change the way we breath.
For who has not gasped
Or held their breath
Or sighed, or sobbed or giggled
At the wonder of it all.
Communication, Community, connection, creativity, Joy, Kindness is Radical, storytelling, workshops

Let’s Gather Together

Let's Gather Together 
In any way we can. 
Whether we are collectors or a collective
We could be powerful.

Let's Gather Together
And discover the joy
That fills each of us.
We could be curious 

Let's gather together 
And listen with open ears.
For such an act of kindness
Is the grassroots of change and growth.

We are gathering in the soft glow if our screens, our virtual circle looks like a series of square windows. Perfectly aligned. We can see each others homes. Our plants, our pets, our pictures. Sometimes a child drifts in to say good night. We are a jumble sale of people. The colours of each small window vary. We are not all the same. We have different tastes, different drive, different experiences, but we all here to listen. To lean in and be taken by poem, prose or song to a world away from our perfectly aligned windows or the hum of our computers working, or our plants, our pets and our pictures. Our minds are filled with images of family roof tops dinners in India or a photography studio in Conwy or a a vibrant wedding party outside a registry office.

Flash forward to another gathering. We are in the room with parents and toddlers. There has been hushed moment with a book, a lively togetherness in song and now there is the gentle hub bub of noise as parents swap tales of the weekly challenges and children scrawl pens across pages mark making and mapping their wonder at how it works.

Flash forward to a group of teenage girls, stretching out on a quiet gallery floor. They are drafting poems about changing the world. They whisper ideas to each other. Every now and then their eyes light up at a great idea and an a smile unfilds hidden under their face masks.

Flash forward to the entrance to a community hall, 3 generations of a family arrive at the same time. The youngest aged 3 and 7 and filling a postcard with drawings and words and commitments of kind acts tomorrow. Granny is writing a message of thanks to the NHS and the parents are sharing what they love about where they live. They all hang their creating in a christmas tree amongst twinkling yellow lights. The children walk away with a chocolate coin and a sparkling wish bag that has come all the way from the North Pole. A thank you gift from Father Christmas for spreading Christmas cheer.

No one in any of these experiences was undeserving of the opportunity to express themselves. All were welcome to share something of themselves and a connection tonothers. All left, feeling a little brighter and a little comforted.

In a world if division , don’t minimise connection.
In a world of suffering, stop minimise joy.
In a world that can be cruel, stop minimise kindness.

Moments of connection, joy and kindness may be fleeting, but they should be celebrated. They are the ground work of curiousity, strength and resilience. That is our work as community artists, to generate a space to gather together.

Uncategorized

Winter Events and Workshops

Happy New Year to you all!

Well winter is here. From the morning frost glistening on the empty roads to the urge to snuggle down under a duvet. Instead of lockdown, we like to think of this as a period of hibernation. But we are story telling animals us humans and the need to gather and share is intrinsic to our health. 

We have a programme of workshops over Zoom coming up over the next couple of months that we can’t wait to share with you. As we enter another period of lockdown, we hope that our workshops will provide some solace and escape as the storm rages outside. Best of all you could have your pyjamas on and we wouldn’t judge. Been before? These workshops are not a repetition of what has gone before. New to a Stitch event? These workshops are reflective, warm and welcoming. So let’s come together and weather the storm, brew in hand.

You can sign up for the workshops by filling in the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Story Circle 8pm, 18th February

Come gather round our virtual fire as we trade tales. Want to share your story? We have space for up to 6 people to tell a 5 minute tale. Email us to book your slot. Want to listen? Sit back and relax. Just let us know you want to come and join us. Free (Recommended donation £3)

Creative Writing Course – 25th January, 1st February, 8th February, £18

Join Tom on a three part journey as old as most stories.  We will create, discover and meet our ‘hero’, in their ‘ordinary world’.  Then it’s adventure time!  There are mentors, allies and enemies to meet. What literal and metaphorical challenges will your hero overcome and how will they return ‘home’?

Playful Teller – 28th January, £6

Join Flick as we hone our improvisation skills and dive into a deeper understanding of listening and staying present when telling tales. Using some clowning techniques, we will explore how we can keep focused on telling the tale alongside being open to what our audience likes.

Talking Teller – 25th February, £6

In this informal workshop with Tom, we will play around with the words and ideas on the page, allow them to stand up and wander around. Traditionally, storytellers created stories long before most people could write things down, we will see how our characters and stories can develop through our own voices.

Sign up to a Workshop below

Just let us know which workshop you are interested in coming to.

Uncategorized

This Is Something That I Know

2020 -the year when everything seemed unsettled. Where we found new ways of living, new ways of working and new ways of connecting. Amongst all the turbulence and change, we offered a creative prompt to help our community feel, that while we were being tested, we also found the things that we know still matter. Perhaps even more. The first step was too create.

After creating, we asked our Stitchers to connect with someone else and share what they had made. We encouraged conversation and asked if this changed their opinion of what they had created.

The final stage in the process was asking Stitchers to share their final pieces with us. We then have then been busy developing an order to share them with you. Sometimes we asked participants to record their written work as an audio piece which we then turned into short videos. Sometimes we didn’t need to do this as they had already. We always shared our editing back with the contributor to make sure they were happy. We are looking forward to sharing this collection with you, a collection as varied as the voices that contributed.

adult workshops, Community, creative writing, creativity, Family, Games, Grow Wild Together, storytelling, workshops

Autumn Newsletter

We are excited to share our Autumn/Winter season of workshops and events.

A big, big thank you! Over the last 6 months you have helped us build Stitch from an idea in our heads to something that we can all share in. From creative challenges, to audio tales and our first Story Circle, you have made this possible through generous donations via Ko-fi and participating in our work.

We continue to grow our story store and continue to add to our catalogue of stories. We have added the Tell Me A Story of...collection to our website. You can see this here

We have put together a mixture of events, creative challenges and workshops over the next few months.  If you would like to sign up, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page.


Workshops and Events

Creative Writing Course: Overcoming the Monster

7.30 -9pm, 2nd, 9th, 16th November, £18

Join Flick on a  three part course exploring the story structure, character and setting through this practical course to kick start your writing. 8 spaces available

The Talking Teller

7.30- 9pm, 5th November, £6 

In this playful workshop, Flick will help you explore the potential of your voice to add colour and animation to your storytelling. 8 spaces available.

Wild Wonder Family

 3-4.15pm, 8th November, £9 

Explore the stories of the wild, from your own home!  Come and join Tom as he guides you and your family through a nature based folktale.  Bugs become beasts, bushes grow into jungles and puddles can be sailed for miles. You will then create your own characters, events and environments from the story. For families with children aged 4-8. Spaces for 6 families

Story Circle

8pm, 19th November, 17th December Free (recommended donation £3)

Come gather round our virtual fire as we trade tales. 

Want to share your story? We have space for up to 6 people to tell a 5 minute tale. Email us to book your slot.

Want to listen? Sit back and relax. Just let us know you want to come and join us.

The Playful Teller

7.30-9pm, 7th December, £6

Come and test your improvisation skills as we look at how Storytellers play and adapt to different styles, spaces and audiences. 8 spaces available.

We are really pleased to have launched our next creative challenge:

We will be curating an online  gallery of all your amazing responses. If  you would like to join in, please fill in the form below for the Brief Sheet.

We hope you can join us as we continue to grow Stitch into something marvelous.

All the Best,

Flick and Tom,

Stitch HQ

Communication, Community, creativity, Games, Playtime, Schools, storytelling

Schools – Social Distancing Games

As primary schools are preparing to reopen its doors to children next week, we at Stitch have adapted some of our most loved drama games to get bodies moving, imaginations kicked into gear and children communicating at a time when social distancing is being practiced.

We have created a free pdf for you to download here and keep in the classroom.

Or you can simply browse through the selection below.

Community, creativity, Family, storytelling

A Coffee For a Tale

Hey,
We are Tom and Flick. We are storytellers, writers and community artists with over a decade of experience in working creatively with schools, families, young people and older adults. We usually work in museums, art galleries, heritage sites and arts centres. Then Covid 19 hit and the UK went into lockdown, and all our usual storytelling venues shut up shop.

So we ate some chocolate, and we had a little panic and we scratched our heads and we may have cried and we told some stories and some people told us their stories and that is where we discovered Stitch. It had been there the whole time.

Because it turns out that people need to tell and hear stories now more ever.

So we went about setting creative challenges and silly videos and creative writing prompts and we told people tales about two idiot story scientists and dandelions and woodlice and people told us stories about space and friendship and journeys and kindness and together we started creating a story store.

Together we took the stories we heard and we stitched them into a Patchwork, an Easter Sunday, and an Intergalactic Space Mission. And the best part is. We are not done. Because we all need to tell and hear stories. So the story store continues to expand, unravelling yarns and revealing thousands of opportunities for stories to be spun.

It looks fairly likely that we will not be able to walk back into our usual places to tell and listen for a while. We miss that so much. Amongst the debris of a crumbling arts sector, we are doing something so incredibly forward and un-british. We are asking you to buy us a coffee. We love coffee. By buying us a coffee you allow us to keep going. Keep helping people tell their stories and hear the stories of others.

Because it turns out that people need to tell and hear stories now more ever.

creativity, Family, Grow Wild Together, Home School, Nature, storytelling, Wonder More

Wild Wonder

Stay Curious, Grow Wild Together and Wonder More.

Wild Wonder is a podcast for families brought to you by Stitch. We explore the outdoors and share stories about what we discover. We curate the podcast involving our children as we believe that if children hear others speaking, it makes them feel powerful with their own voice.

Each episode includes a walk about with our children, followed by a story inspired by what we discovered on our walk. This current series of podcast is being made at a time when the UK is under lock down due to the Corona Virus. The conversations happen within walking distance of our house and were part of our daily outing. We found these conversations with our children allowed us to hit the reset button. We felt more connected to each other and the habitat that surrounds us (which maybe at a better time, we would have taken for granted.)

We hope this podcast and the supporting activities allows your families to connect to each other and the world just outside your front door.

Episode 4 – Woodlouse

Episode 3 – Jackdaw

Episode 2 – The Beech and the Oak

Episode 1 – Dandelion

Activities

You can find the most recent activities posted on Facebook or Instagram.

We have also created some activity sheets to accompany each story. These will be added below when a new episode drops.

We also have an account for Wild Wonder on Instagram where you can enjoy the photos of things we have found.

Photo credit – F Goodman

Uncategorized

Creative Easter Egg Hunt

Happy Easter to you!

Here at Stitch HQ, Easter is a very special time of year for us. We normally would be spending it with our families and stuffing our faces with chocolate and treats. 

We are very sad that we cannot be with our family this year and we thought that others might feel like this too. So we have created a Creative Easter Egg Hunt. Please download print this off and hide around your home or garden. We hope it brings you together and is a boredom buster!

Have a great weekend and we hope you and your families are well.

Lots of love, Flick and Tom, 

Stitch HQ