Downhill all the Way at the North East Soap Box Challenge

Prince, Michael Jackson and David Bowie needed a spanner to fix their coffin …

What’s the punchline?

Wait … no. This actually happened?

 

It’s Saturday, August the 18th at Herrington Country Park, and pit crews are making last-minute adjustments to their vehicles before they run the challenging downhill skidaddle of the North East’s inaugural Soap Box Challenge. Continue reading “Downhill all the Way at the North East Soap Box Challenge”

First Day in the Workshop is a Lift Off

Even though our trainees keep telling us that they are pleasantly surprised how friendly and inclusive our workshop is when they first come along, those first impressions are so important. It’s like day one in a new job or school: you don’t know what to expect and if you are going to fit in okay.

Adam landed on day one with a skateboard under his arm. This wasn’t his main method of transport for getting to the workshop but a lifelong passion he’s had since the age of six. Together with his previous experience as a joinery apprentice, he was rearing to take things to the next level.

Continue reading “First Day in the Workshop is a Lift Off”

Backwoods Ingenuity: The Kentucky Stick Chair

When I first heard the words ‘Kentucy Stick Chair’ it was hard to dismiss the image of a piece of furniture somehow constructed from pieces of deep-fried chicken. It turned out that what we were really talking about was no less extraordinary.

The original Kentucky Stick Chairs would have been made from humble sticks and slung together with rope. All that would have been needed was a saw and a way to make holes in wood – a perfect example of ‘off grid’ innovation. Our chairs are made with cut timber and threaded bar, but they stay true to the spirit of their ancestors by using whatever is to hand and keeping the original simplicity of the design. Continue reading “Backwoods Ingenuity: The Kentucky Stick Chair”

Christmas Fayre 2017

The culmination of a few months of planning and creating seasonal products, our annual Christmas Fayre this year surpassed all the previous ones in the quantity and quality of products on offer and the amount we raised. When it comes to the intangibles, the conversations, the atmosphere, the encouraging stories and the sense of pride – the stuff that really matters – we have been overwhelmed with the response.

Continue reading “Christmas Fayre 2017”

The Pen is Mightier than the Saw

Reclaiming discarded scraps of wood and turning them into something attractive and useful portrays only too well what we are all about at Handcrafted. Even a bit of timber is worthy of another chance. The Handcrafted Pen has been a “bestseller” since we produced the first batch over a year ago. We can’t make them quickly enough.

To date, over 60 of these little beauties have been turned out, and we are working on another batch for our Christmas Fayre on Friday 2nd December. Continue reading “The Pen is Mightier than the Saw”

And now, a word from one of our supporters …

Our regular supporters have the opportunity to spend half a day with us in the workshop, to get the “Handcrafted Experience”, make something, and meet our trainees. This week, Renee and Adam joined us and brought Dad along too. We took the opportunity to ask Renee what motivated her to make a regular financial commitment to our work. Now we are glowing!

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Here’s what she said:

We came along to the celebration evening in the Summer, but we already loved the vision of the project: the combination of mentoring, teaching skills and investing in people. In particular, I love the training that equips people to produce something of worth.

Since the project is also faith based, I like the fact that, when people open up, there’s an opportunity for them to be prayed for, or to come to church.

As a result, some of these guys now have growing, healing relationships with family and friends they had once been estranged from. The project feels like its influence goes beyond just introducing a new skill set; it goes on to impact the entire lives of the trainees.

My dad is a wood worker, and I love what is produced here. I believe we were designed as humans to make things, and that creativity brings peace and healing.

There are so many aspects of handcrafted that fit together together: I love everything about the heart behind it, the strategy behind it and how attention is given to where people are coming from and what works best for them. I love the discernment and sensitivity shown in partnering with trainees to meet them where they are and supporting them to be better equipped and empowered … even providing opportunities to do things with their kids, to create a stronger bond.

I like the way the day is structured and the workshop feels like a safe place to be known, to get hands-on experience, producing something to be proud of. It feels comfortable and inspiring.

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Find out how you could support our projects on a regular basis.