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Craft Kits for Kids Fleeing Domestic Violence

Classbunny has been running fun, arty workshops since 2017. I suppose from tiny seeds slightly bigger seeds can grow! We have adapted with the changes covid brought and from 2019 have been running on-line classes for people in remote communities and in larger numbers than was ever possible with traditional face to face classes.

We have reached interstate students that are housebound because of illness (camp quality) or because of their carer's duties with organisations such as Carer's Victoria.

And now we are using those live streaming skills we honed during the pandemic to teach people in big, big close up via their computer. Using two cameras to pick up the teacher speaking and seeing in close up what they are doing actually works really well and I hope zoom's one of the things we retain from our lock down experience. Zoom was a life saver for me, keeping me connected and gave access to so many people to the arts and crafts as home bound creatives reached out and shared their practice.

As online classes now take a back seat and face to face events are ramping up here in Sydney with well funded NSW government initiatives to run big street events and parties, classbunny is definitely getting busier.

It's a real contrast to the early days of classbunny, as I was building the business, and when there were just a handful of students in classes (sometimes just one or two people!) I have always wanted to reach out to people that normally don't get much of a chance to get involved in the arts.

Just the costs of materials can be a significant barrier. But now I am running classes for much bigger events where hundreds and sometimes thousands of people attend such as the City of Sydney Christmas Carol Concerts, The Body Shop Sustainability Launch or the recent Sydney Shimmer Festival and Westfield activations I can do something practical.

These big events can be unpredictable, sometimes the craft table looks like a swarm of locusts have attacked and every scrap of material is gobbled up. But at other times the weather is bad and not as many people come along, leaving lots of unused materials. This stuff has to be stored somewhere or given away or be thrown out.

Other times, the materials are half used, crayons snapped into pieces, or there are off cuts and these left overs can be repurposed and recycled.

Two weeks ago I ran 7 workshops over three days at a street festival and it was a little quieter than anticipated, so I had materials left over that I could use to make up some craft kits to give to domestic violence refuges in Sydney for the kids staying there.

I put out the word on social media and refuges immediately started to contact me wanting some art materials. The first twenty kits are going out tomorrow. *Update: Over Christmas around 100 kits went out!

I also needed something to put the goodies in and I decided that tote bags would be perfect and within 3 days the Sydney Shimmer Festival had some seconds, and left over tote bags which they kindly donated. And some beautiful women on a neighborhood face book page who I had never met got involved and hand sewed more bags for me over the weekend and they are stunning. Made from 100% cotton and they even used vintage fabrics!

And the wonderful illustrator Helen Rose Nehill has offered up some of her gorgeous artisan bags - which I think I may auction somehow because that could raise some funds for the postage of art kits to more distant places and refuges in need. I think it's going to be a bit by bit, baby step kind of project - I'll just have to see what turns up....

Anyway, in the first round of kits for kids contain materials to make 'Koinobori fish,' which are used in Japan to hang up in doorways and windows and from trees on 'Children's Day,' a national day that celebrates children. I think it's apt. I have a 'how to video' for the refuge workers to use or the video can be used by the children to make the koinobori fish by themselves.

I will need more tote bags, because there will be more surplus and recyclable materials I am sure, so if you have any at your office, or organisation that are printed up with some past date or left over from an event or conference please send them to me because I can use them.

Give them to me so I can send out more craft kits to children who no longer have a safe home, are confused and maybe frightened. Being given their own crafty bag will make them feel special and maybe they fled without their favourite toys? This bag will give them a little respite. If you are an artist or event supplier I challenge you to get involved, or give me a shout out for more tote bags and if you would like to discuss this project further feel free to contact me via email


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