Craft and making
SMEDBYN local guide for children and visiters
story telling and crafting
During the summer 2014, my partner of the spirit of play Marta and me were invited by the Jönköpings kommun to be guest artists in Smedbyn. The project was about investigating play opportunities and providing creative sections for children, so as to activate the area in a small town Huskvarna.
Smedbyn is a craft area with long tradition of craftsmanship back to the 17th century. However, nowadays, it lacks facility and space for children, as well as gives the sense of emptiness of the public space.
The result was a map of Smedbyn and craft guide in one, which intended to provide self-directed play opportunity. The guide includes a brief background of the area, a short story - developed by us and kindergarten children, and suggestions of simple craft activities.
Surrounded by nature areas, Smedbyn is also a place with rich nature material which is very suitable to use for handcraft. In order to simulate craft and making activities for visiters as well as local children, we created and installed serval creatures out from locally found materials. They are hiding in every corners now.
"Long time ago Husqvarna factory has made a sewing machine, inspired by a cat. It wasn't any old cat, it was a cat living in Smedbyn for a long time.
It has fur black as soot because it used to sneak about in the blacksmith fireplace in Appelbladska smithy during the old times. It has been helping the craftsman with their jobs and learned from them and their children how to make things with its little hands.
Now there is no more blacksmith master living here, but people say you can still meet the cat. Although the cat is shy, sometimes it hides in the bushes and eats plums, sometimes it sneaks in to people's home to watch TV shows or meets its cat friends secretly!
Nevertheless, the cat still helps the local craftsman and makes his own craft as well. The story has it keeps its treasures somewhere in the garden. If you try to look around, maybe you can find them or even see the cat. If you meet the cat say meow to the cat!"
The story was co-created under story telling workshops, where we first introduced a cat characters and shared a short history of Huskvarna factory. A group of children from a local kindergarten, with the help of paper and local found nature materials, created the scene or collage the story together.