Sunday, 9 February 2014

Crafty Explorers now open



The Geography Collective along with City Farmers and Explorer HQ have moved to the second stage of a Design Council competition for social enterprises called ‘Knee High’. The name refers to the age group which this project targets: pre-school children or those in Early Years.
The second phase of the competition has enabled the funding of a ‘pop-up shop’ or more accurately perhaps an activity centre which is located in the London Borough of Southwark, in an area called Nunhead, which is close to Peckham.

Nunhead Corner
26 Nunhead Lane
Southward
SE15 3QR

Dan Ellison and Helen Steer have worked amazingly hard to get the premises up and running in such a short time scale.

For five weeks, the shop is open the usual shop hours, and welcomes children of all ages, but particularly those who are young explorers and their parents.

The concept is really simple, and is beautifully executed.

The shop is decorated with the distinctive and rather wonderful art of Tom Morgan Jones, who also illustrated the Mission:Explore series of books, which are for sale.

Visitors to the shop are given a tray with a ‘workflow’ printed on it, and the crafty Fox logo of the Crafty Explorers. A lump of clay and some natural materials, which include senna pods, pine cones, feathers and other sculptural shapes can be added: some are free of charge and some are available for a cost, or appropriate donation.
There are also ‘boggly eyes’ which turn any piece of clay into a creature. 
Each crafty creation has its moment of glory as it is photographed, and added to the 'wall of fame'.

Once the creature has been named, parents and children are then given three challenges using a combination of stamps. The mat that was used to mould the clay on is folded to become a mission booklet, which is used to record the adventures.

At the rear of the shop, a huge map of the area drawn by Tom is used to show the visitors the open green spaces which are nearby. The site is ideal for this, as there are a number of parks, greens and other open spaces within easy walking distance of the ‘shop’. On returning, children are given a stamp and asked to put a sticker on the large map to show where they completed their missions.
Coffee and snacks are available to purchase at a very low cost, and you can enjoy the crafting or a hot drink, while sitting on the most awesome grass covered tables and chairs.

I visited on the first day of opening, and despite having had no real advertising, there was a steady stream of curious people through the doors.
For more details about what the Crafty Explorers get up to over the next five week, visit them at:



You can also follow what we get up to on Twitter @CraftyExplorers

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