I really wish I was going to be in London,UK, on February 23rd. I would sign up for a class with Laura, one of the ‘Amazings’ called “1940s Make Do and Mend”. We would spend the morning scouring the thrift shops in the Angel Islington area, and in the afternoon settle into the sewing center where we would re-cut, shape and stitch that discarded find into something sartorially splendid. Laura is a retired corset and costume maker and you can listen to her talk about her craft here: http://www.theamazings.com/teachers/laura–2
The Amazings: I’ve been reading quite a lot of British press recently and they’re quite excited over there about a new business based on the old adage ‘learn from your elders’. What if you could go to a modern, graphically appealing, easy to use website and sign up for a class in leather bookbinding, journalism, digital photography, spinning, public speaking or foraging (whatever that is)…. and it was taught by someone with a lifetime of experience in the field…. an expert in fact. Someone who was simply ‘Amazing’ ?
The UK’s Sidekick Studios, in an effort to find a way to help retirees with skills supplement their pensions, came up with this clever model in 2011 that benefits everyone in the community. Basically, ‘Amazings’ suggest skills and an online community votes for the ones they want to learn. These in turn are converted into classes that can be booked by the general public for a nominal fee. According to the most recent article I read (“Well, That’s Amazing”, Mollie Makes, Issue Twenty Two, p.51) there are already 120 classes being offered all over London, and the plan is to expand nationwide this year. The new twist to the old trick is that these classes are as diverse as the skill sets and don’t have to fit into a previously determined program. Things currently being offered include: East End London walks offered by Sean, a historian; how to build a box sash window by Thomas, a master carpenter; and how to make artwork from altered books, by Jacqueline, a retired librarian and crafter. Check out all of this – classes, stories, teachers – on their website http://www.theamazings.com/ . This business has figured out how to be successful AND give back to the community.
I think this is really AMAZING.