Troublemaker’s Festival interviews: Tasha Middleton
In an act of gentle activism and as part of Troublemaker’s Festival, Tasha Middleton from Sew Swansea will be running two workshops jointly with Craftivist Collective. Do you want to make a mini protest banner or sneak a message under the nose of someone with the power to change the world in the form of an embroidered handkerchief? Then the two workshops, Craftivism: Don’t Blow it and Craftivism: Mini Protest Banner will be for you. Both are on Sunday 16th July.
Tasha Midleton – super stitcher
Tasha Middleton calls herself a super stitcher and is an artist/maker and trained in fashion. She runs the fantastic Sew Swansea from premises in Orchard St. Her main aim is to bring affordable fun and relaxed textile classes, courses and workshops to as many people as possible. She is particularly keen to support vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community and is happy to run workshops for groups and organisations out in the community.
Tasha Middleton – Craftivism
PD: “Can you tell me about the Craftivism events you are doing during the festival?”
TM: “The Craftivism workshops being run at Sew Swansea over the weekend of the Troublemakers festival are being led by Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective, they are a form ‘gentle activism’, from kits that Sarah produces for workshops she runs all over the country.”
TM: “My main role is as host and facilitator for these events, assisting Sarah and the students. I think both Sarah and I have a similar goal in that we are using crafts to empower people – Sarah, to help people feel heard about things that really matter to them, a way to use their voice for good in a non-aggressive way, and me, by building on people’s own self-confidence, their feeling of achievement and self-fulfillment and as a way to de-stress. ”
TM: “Crafts are extremely powerful and have a huge effect on people while also being gentle and bringing people a little extra happiness – which let’s face it, is never a bad thing!”
Tasha Middleton – doing good things
PD: “What is your favourite craft object of protest and why?”
TM: “That was kinda of obvious I guess, but for me personally having a sewing machine has allowed me to fight against the idea that because I was 17 and pregnant that I would amount to nothing and was just written off. I guess for me, what I’m doing with Sew Swansea is my way of sticking two fingers up to attitudes like that, because I’m more than that label and I’m doing good things. Granted it’s taken me a long time and it’s been a lot of hard work too but without that first sewing machine, I’d never have found this passion I have for sharing my skills and teaching others.”
PD: “You’ve been involved on the High Street for a while, what attracted you to locate there?”
TM: “Honestly, it is so expensive to set up in town, especially as a new business – my first premises on High Street offered me a chance at starting to establish myself and it really helped to have a dedicated space for my work. I am now located in the new Elysium studios above Volcano Theatre, this new studio overlooks High Street as it was important to me stay as close as possible to High Street, because, despite its reputation, it is becoming a really great place to be with a lot of exciting people and businesses setting up here.”
Tasha Middleton – Sew Swansea classes
PD: “Can you give me a flavour of the classes you run and the vision you have for Sew Swansea?”
TM: “I run a huge range of workshops at Sew Swansea and I am adding to them all the time. For example I run a fortnightly Stitch Social session which is just a relaxed social crafting evening with tea and cake. People bring along their current project, from crochet to knitting to embroidery, to quilting, we get it all. There is no teaching, just chat and new friends. We have the more advanced workshops where I teach pattern drafting such as the intensive dressmaking weekend. There, students learn to measure, draft, cut and make a dress to fit from scratch in two days. There are workshops for everything in between, from beginners basics in both sewing and crochet for those who are brand new, to either craft, children’s wear, using an overlocker, leggings drafting and hand embroidery. I’ve recently introduced children’s classes, including a Parent & Child sewing class where parent/child pairs learn to sew together… plus loads more.”
Tasha Middleton – reaching out
TM: “On top of all this, my kit and I are also available to hire for community groups and organisations. I travel to community centres around Swansea to teach or groups can come to my studio.
TM: “I’d love for Sew Swansea to continue growing. People have been really responsive since I opened in High Street and I’ve met some really amazing people. I hope that I’ll be able to keep expanding the range of workshops that I offer and possibly bring in some other tutors, in time.
PD: “What one thing would you do to change the world?”
TM: “I’m not really sure what to out for the last one… so I won’t :)”
Troublemaker’s Festival – 13th -16th July #trouble2017
“Changing the world, starting with the High Street”
The festival reimagines the stretch of street between the station and Castle Square as a pedestrian-friendly place where arts and culture aren’t something special but are part of everyday life. It opens up buildings that people perhaps don’t normally see and uses spaces that perhaps people don’t normally notice. The Troublemakers Festival is for everyone who uses Swansea High Street and cares about it’s future. It’s for people who live on High Street, work on High Street, shop on the High Street, socialize on High Street, pass through High Street. The festival is for young people and old people. It’s for Art lovers and show-goers and pizza fans and it’s for people who’ve never been to a gallery or theatre in their lives.
Come along as together a manifesto is created for the High Street. Lose at the Unfair Funfair, Levitate The Palace Theatre, have a Tea Party, join a march, recreate extraordinary speeches from history, watch films, make placards and eat pizza. Be inspired, entertained and provoked. A chance to be at the heart of the change taking place from the station down to the sea. Everyone is welcome!
Please note some events are bookable. Follow event links within programmes (see below for further detailed information) to book these events in advance.
Please also note: The road will be made pedestrian friendly and will be closed from The Grand Hotel down to Argos on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm.
Festival partners include The Last Resort, Sew Swansea, GaleriesSimpson, TechHub, Urban Village, Cinema & Co, Oxfam, Castle Square, Elysium Studios and Gallery, UWTSD, PEG Talks, The Environment Centre, The Women’s Institute, Hyst…
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