Tell us about youselves? We are Angel Ashcroft and Lula Tobitt from A Common Thread: Coalition of Craft two friends from North London who have worked on a number of creative projects throughout our 30 year friendship from Riot Grrrl fanzines and DIY punk music in our teens to fine art and Craftivism in our 20’s, now in our 30’s we design and produce limited collections and run a craft school in Archway that opened in December 2014.
How did you get started? Opening our own craft studio was a natural progression from our DIY teen roots, political Craftivism merged our intense love of making with our ideology that actions and art can change the world we live in. Having spent years teaching as a sideline alongside working the obligatory ‘day job’ we decided to ditch the wages and leap straight into self employment in the midst of one of the worst recessions since the second world war.
We heard you have a lovely new studio, tell us all about next? We have a lovely little studio in Archway North London, it is part of a converted Victorian building that houses a number of Designers, Architects, Holistic Practitioners, Writers and Therapists. Our studio is where we design and make our limited collections, house our ethical yarns and teach a number of workshops to small groups of no more than 4 people. The building has a fantastic rooftop view of London where we plan to host some Stitch n’ Pimms parties in the summer.
Tell us more about A Common Thread? We run a number of workshops teaching knitting, crochet, machine and hand sewing, needle felting and embroidery. We have beginners and intermediate classes for one-to-one workshops or small groups. We also design and make a limited collection of items using ethical materials and hand crafted techniques, these include furnishings, household goods and garments. Our collections are produced twice a year for spring/summer and autumn/winter. We stock ethical yarns and handmade items by independent designer/makers.
There's a big ethical theme to A Common Thread, why is ethical important to you? As people who love to constantly make items and try new materials but also love animals and care for our environment we believe that crafts should be beautiful from beginning to end, which means not using materials that come from animal cruelty such as those recently exposed in the wool industry, not using sweatshop labour or products that cause detrimental damage to the environment such as harsh dyes and chemicals. We are not perfect but are constantly trying to find ways to make our work have less impact on our planet, the world of design constantly throws up new and exciting ideas that allow us to move over to better fabrics and processes all the time.
What’s new and exciting for 2015? We will be showcasing our first limited collection at Selvedge Spring Fair in April along with a selection of gorgeous plant-dyed vegan yarns. In May we’ll be running an upcycled necklace workshop and a stall at the Summer Bust Craftacular in East London. We are about to launch a Knit & Stitch night where we will combine our love of cocktails and making in a relaxed social setting, where people can share discuss and share their current projects. We are working on some exciting new workshops for later this year and showcasing other makers through our growing social media outlets and blog/website.
Thank you for taking the time to pass by the Craft Candy blog.
To find out more about A Common Thread or to book onto one of their classes, check out their website http://www.acommonthread.co.uk and follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CommonThreadCoalition