Thursday, 31 May 2012

Enterprising spiders and helpful dragons

It’s only on until Tuesday and I’m going to miss it:  the largest textiles in the world to have been woven from spider silk have been on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in recent months but the display ends after the Jubilee weekend.  If anyone’s going to London and manages to fit in seeing these pieces I’d love to hear about it.  Seeing the enterprise and industry that goes into making spiders’ webs around the garden you just can’t imagine the vast effort that went into spinning and collecting the silk to make the textiles in the first place. 

This week’s been all about enterprise and industry in one way or another.  It’s good to see some capital being put behind young potential entrepreneurs through the StartUp scheme:  I’m sure it will help a lot of those young people coming up to graduation from their fashion and textiles courses, wanting (or having no option other than) to plough their individual furrows.  It’s about time there was something official to support them too, since Young Enterprise clubs have been going in schools for donkeys’ years without their being anything really to continue the interest generated at the end of it. 

In an article in The Financial Times this week, former BBC Dragon’s Den panel member James Caan said people participating in the programme wanted mentoring as much as they did capital:  it was the development expertise they apparently desired.   A few weeks ago I wrote about craft being about what you give, not what you get, which is something I firmly believe should hold true in every sound business.  So, being true to myself, I’m delighted to say I’m being joined on the Outward Images stand at Fibre-East by someone setting out in her new venture to provide mentoring and advice to crafters:  Juliet of Planet Handmade, who will be with me on the Saturday (July 14).  So if you’re thinking of taking the plunge into the craft world, come along for a chat. 

I’m also delighted to be joined for the whole weekend by my textile heroine who herself is a kind but potent advisor and businesswoman, inventor of ‘Extreme Knitting’™:  Rachel John.  We’re providing a safe haven for daring and creative knitters and crafters. Any Wool School students are also very welcome: designing your individual garments could be much more fun when you see what we’ve got on display!   

Between my two companions’ expertise and my own spin-doctoring experience, we’ll have our very own ‘Crafters’ Den’ on the stand.  Ours though will be one offering friendship, inspiration and options, rather than competition for capital.  I’m with Ken Hakuta as he reportedly once said:  “Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.”  Here’s wishing you a week full of ideas that prove as enticing, extensive and flexible as spiders’ silk.

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