So this is a bit of a tale of two cities, a request for help and a general flicking of fingers at craft and DIY snobs. Any chance of a hand?
I’ve mentioned before that The Husband runs the local foodbank /homeless resource centre / community cafe. They have 5,000 people on their books who get food bags from them, but more than that they try and support people out of poverty, to give them self confidence, to get them out of what can be a pretty rubbish and vicious circle. One of the ideas that they’ve had kicking around recently is that they would like to start a furniture upcycling project. Take some old bits of furniture that are no longer loved, get the people who use the centre to work on them, fix them, make them look lovely again and then, hopefully, sell them and use the money they make to help support feeding the 5,000 and all that. And the people who work on the project learn a new skill and can, hopefully, take that skill and hopefully use it to start thinking about doing that for themselves too.
It was a great idea. We spoke to a furniture upcycling shop in Cornwall and they gave us a few pointers, a bit of advice, they were lovely but too far away. The Husband spoke to a few of the men who use the service and they really wanted to do it. A few of them started work on it, one of the guys I know personally and he lives in a bush in a park nearby. Upskilling, gaining confidence. Great.
But the staff in the centre don’t have much experience or skills in this so they thought they would ask an expert, and today The Husband phoned a local expert who sells shabby chic furniture to ask for a couple of hours help a week or just a bit of advice. If money was needed he would have found it somehow. And would you like to know what she said?
“People like you give shabby chic a bad name.”
It would be laughable it it wasn’t so pathetic. People trying to learn something. People trying to help each other. As if shabby chic is something that people can only do if they have a masters in chalk paint. God forbid that the rest of us should ever try and do anything creative, try and make things look nice. I expect she would hate this blog, I didn’t even do GCSE art, who am I trying to kid?
So, armed with two Annie Sloan books, access to Pinterest and having read a couple of blogs on doing up furniture I’ve said that I’ll help to try and get them started. I have no childcare so The Toddler is coming too, and obviously I’m quite heavily pregnant so I can’t commit to much at the moment either. But while I may not be an expert, at least I can’t see any reason why anyone who wants to try and do something creative shouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to do it.
So if you know of any great blogs should read, tell me about them. If you have any advice on paint schemes that are popular, give me a yell. I’ve started a board on Pinterest of Furniture Upcycling ideas, if you want an invite to pin your stuff or anyone else’s to it just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll love you forever. Share this post! It only takes a few seconds.
If you live in or near South Essex, have ever done anything with furniture and can give an hour or so to help out and share some skills, please do. We have no funding; if you have some spare paint, tools, furniture or anything of use it would be very gratefully received.
No one should be told that they can’t do something, that they aren’t the right kind of people or they haven’t done their years in servitude enough to even give something a try. I would love to somehow make this a success and show this woman that she’s wrong, if you can help me do that it would truly be a marvelous thing.