26 Jun 2017

A craft school in the central city will resume its free workshops after receiving a Council grant.

The Resourceful Ōtautahi Outdoor Craft Workshop has been given approval for a $29,523 grant from Christchurch City Council's Enliven Places Projects Fund.

The project opened for a few months on a trial basis from February this year and has already received a Council grant of nearly $15,000 towards its set-up costs. The school is located on the former Convention Centre site on Kilmore Street - a spot which has been activated by Life in Vacant Spaces since 2013 - and will be the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Using recycled materials and natural resources the school aims to offer free tuition during the week with the aim of boosting well-being and social connectedness through weaving, crafts and green woodworking.

Resourceful Otautahi's workshops will teach green woodworking.

Resourceful Otautahi's craft workshops will include green woodworking.

The new grant will go towards operational and capital costs so the school can offer free weekday public workshops for the rest of this year; help with marketing the project to the public; and a retractable canopy to cover the site in wet weather and through winter.

Led by Juliet Arnott, who founded Rekindle, Resourceful Ōtautahi's craft school is a project that's designed to engage with locals and visitors. Ms Arnott is pleased the grant has been approved.

‘With this support from the Council we are super excited to be able to move forward with developing Resourceful Ōtautahi in a bigger way. This will mean that during the week the Christchurch public can learn and share a range of resourceful skills that use local abundant and undervalued resources.

"An example of this is making string, baskets and matting from cabbage tree/tī kōuka leaves, and wood-working with timbers fallen within the city’s parks. These workshops provide opportunities for people throughout the city to connect and share local resources. The initiative is entirely focused on resourcefulness because I reckon that feeling able to make what you need from what you have, is a vital part of living well."

Rekindle will now be able to schedule a new series of public workshops. Details will be published on their website www.rekindle.org.nz(external link) soon. 

More than 400 people have previously visited or taken part in workshops which provide training and resources for all ages and skill levels.

If demand for the project continues beyond the end of the year, it could establish satellite workshops elsewhere in Christchurch in 2018 while maintaining a central city location.