A craft course with a difference started recently and a similar one will take place in March. Tutor Ornella Trevisan teaches her students how to make useful and creative objects using weaving techniques and raw materials that would normally go to landfill, helping Reading get greener and creative.
“Each course is five sessions, all on the same technique,” explained Ornella. “But making different shapes with progressing difficulty each time.
“For example, now that we’re learning square plaiting, we start with 2D objects [such as mats or pouches] and then move onto 3D objects [such as bowls and bags].”
One of the students on the first course, Jane Harrison, saw the plaiting course advertised and thought it sounded interesting.
She said: “Recycling is something that’s good to do and I wanted to find more ways of using waste. I’m making a pouch out of an apple juice tetrapack. Tetrapacks are terrible to recycle.”
Abby Knowles came to the course because of her love of crafts.
She said: “I love learning a new craft. It is challenging but great fun.”
“I love it. It’s something practical,” added Naznin Damani. “You use your mind and your hands, it’s nice to get something out of it.
“I also like having an evening out doing something a bit different.”
Like many manual activities the weaving that Ornella teaches is therapeutic and calming.
“The balance between your head and your hands is important,” she said. “And you meet like-minded people: one activity can tick many boxes.”
Another student, Linda Wooldridge, found it a great way to unwind.
She explains: “I was stressed at work and it’s helping because all you can think is weaving over and under. It’s a great way to wind down.
“What I really like about this is when you look at the finished product you can’t see the single stages of how it was done.”
As well as practicing a manual activity, Ornella inevitably ends up talking about related subjects, such as material awareness and citizenship in relation to waste.
She says: “At the end of the first session my students all said they had learned more than they had expected.
“The next course will be on the coiling technique, for which we’ll use paper, wire, cables, pipes and anything that bends. We are upcycling and thinking about what things are made of, where the material would go if it were thrown away.”
The next course starts on Wednesday March 18, 7.30pm at Park United Reformed Church, Palmer Park Avenue, Reading, RG6 1DN
The five-week course costs £50 which includes all materials.
For more information or to sign up, email Ornella: firstname.lastname@example.org