Makers’ Month at The Forum will weave a magical spell
When I eventually retire from my job at The Forum I already know that the main legacy I will take from this particular chapter in my professional career is a love of knitting and sewing.
So, there's a sentence I never thought I'd type. Up until this time last year all I could do was stocking-stitch a comedy scarf or tighten a wobbly button.
If I'd been asked to follow a knitting pattern I'd have put in a request for a cryptographer, and anything to do with a sewing usually resulted in bloodshed and profanities.
It all changed when I started organising Makers' Month here at The Forum. Get ready for four weeks of exhibitions, demonstrations and have-a-go activities, involving knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, spinning, weaving, painting, drawing and printing.
This year's Makers' Month starts on Monday January 30 and is open to the public seven days a week until Saturday February 25. As I type, The Forum's events team is in the final stages of planning and preparation.
On my desk I have a sack of Makers' Month badges, bundles of coloured wool and an Excel spreadsheet every bit as complicated as a cable knit pattern. In a week's time The Forum will be buzzing with conversation and creativity, thanks to enthusiasts from across Norfolk.
Makers' Month is all about sharing and inspiring. Dozens of making-related organisations and local businesses are bringing along displays and providing opportunities for members of the public to have a go at something new.
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Where else but The Forum are you going to be able to have a go on a spinning wheel or a weaving loom, get drawing tips and tuition from professional artists, and be shown how to knit or crochet... all for free?
What a lot of people don't know is that The Forum is run by an educational charity, The Forum Trust, and it is the Trust which helps fund big, free events like the Norwich Science Festival, the Norwich Gaming Festival and Makers' Month.
That's only part of the story, though. Every event we organise only happens because local individuals, groups, organisations and businesses work with us, bringing along their people, their resources, expertise and advice.
There would be no Makers' Month without the hard work and time given by Norfolk's Weavers, Spinners and Dyers guilds, the Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers, the Norfolk Quilters, the Embroiderers' Guild, the Costume and Textile Association, the WI and many other local drawing, painting and textile artists and business people.
It's these people who are to blame for my new obsession. They've seduced me with their yarns, their fabrics, their subtle shades and their textures. They've mesmerised me with their imagination, their skill and their love of heritage and tradition. Delightful people who are a joy to know and work with.
Why not discover the joy of making for yourself? At Makers' Month there are several creative projects which depend on the public's participation. We need your help to 'build' a woven yurt in the middle of our main Atrium, you can sew a panel for a textile 'quilt map' of Norfolk or knit a troll as part of an enchanted woodland display.
Oh, and did I mention the terrifying face of a White Walker which will be staring at you all during Makers' Month? This merciless, war-like creature from Game of Thrones is the subject of a 4m-high embroidery, which will be on show in the Atrium. See? Embroidery's not as twee as you thought is it?
Find out what's going on during Makers' Month on The Forum's website.