It appears sometimes all you have to do is ask.
At the beginning of this year I woke up to the fact that Arctic Design Week 2014 is soon approaching!
I thought this year might just be right for being bold creating something new. Thanks to the project management skills acquired while studying at the Innovative Business Services and working with InnoBarentsLab I felt an urge to test these skills in reality.
Having a background in art education I had previously been involved as participant of the annual Design Boutique and show rooms, but never actually as a producer of a single event, my very own thing.
My personal interests and hobbies at the moment are deeply rooted in knitting, loom weaving and crochet, basically any technique that involves yarn and design, and thereby I’ve often found myself at TAITO Lappi: Rovaniemi’s crafts center of the national TAITO Group, (the Finnish Crafts Association).
An idea sprouted in my head: over the past few years crochet has become wildly popular all over the world and this rather traditional technique is used especially in contemporary interior design. I approached TAITO Lappi’s generous and friendly staff with an idea of a non-stop open doors crochet workshop that would stretch over the entire Design Week in the spirit of “New Day – New Technique!” In the workshop, participants would be introduced to a new technique everyday and get guidance for it.
The goal of the crochet project (soon named “Hooked!”) was simple: get as many people as possible to participate that are interested in crochet and community, and to get as wide a representation of different age groups as possible, basically invite the whole community to try their own design skills during the design week.
Partner choice was natural, TAITO Lappi agreed to provide a space and any other possible resources. Päivi Tahkokallio, chairwoman of the Lapland Chamber of Commerce Design Board generously offered her expertise and assistance thanks to her personal interest in the cross-communal aspect of the project. Design belongs to everybody!
Setting up the workshop space we strived to create a living room-like environment for people to feel comfortable in, a bit like at home.
The instant success of the workshop was stunning and had us organizing the event completely gob-smacked! In addition to some of the school classes invited to join, ladies came from far and wide to crochet with us! Especially the “pop-in for 5 mins or stay the entire day” -aspect of the workshop seemed to hit home with people and soon we had repeat customers, those who loyally sat with us for the entire week eagerly biting into any and all new crochet challenges we presented them with.
Local media noticed the event as well. As we started the workshop on Monday, by
Wednesday both the local NPR, Lapin Radio, and the printed media, Lapin Kansa, joined us to cover the story of dozens of women of several nationalities and different native languages sitting together over easygoing chit-chat and crochet.
Limited resources do not necessarily mean limited popularity. The whole week was a remarkable team-effort
from a handful of people who inspired hundreds to join us. I am convinced that new friendships were made over this week and that alone moves me to tears.
Yes, sometimes all you have to do is ask and the community will respond!