We are bedford has grown into a community collective. Bag designer Lisa Tilley has been involved from the early stages and has been on a bit of a journey. She is the talented young woman behind uoldbag! Her story is below.
Wow! Where to start!
The first inkling I had of this project was when I came across the ‘We Are Bedford’ facebook group but wasn’t entirely sure what it was about, I thought it was just a Bedford fan page for the people of Bedford so I joined. Then I attended a Creative Bedfordshire Networking meeting at the Bedford Corn Exchange, where Kayte and Erica told us all about their plans for the Castle Quay weekender.
Now I’ll be honest I don’t normally attempt to take part in that many events in Bedford and it’s not because I don’t love it, just simply that I don’t feel there’s much of a market place here for my work.
However when I heard Kayte and Erica’s idea, I knew instantly that I wanted to get involved. I was impressed not only by their infectious enthusiasm but also by the fact they’d seen something that needed to be done and instead of waiting for someone else to do it, decided that we could do it as a community and that they’d take the lead. Aside from this, it just sounded bloody good!
When I approached Kayte to say that I’d like to get involved and she told me she had plans for me to share a shop with Max McMurdo the furniture designer, I was silently chuffed and quite honoured that I’d be sharing a shop with someone who is very talented and established in his trade. (He’ll like that!)
Now I’m not expecting big things from the event in terms of making money or anything but I’ve already been benefitting hugely from being involved and we’re one and a half weeks away until the actual event. The main benefit I’ve found is from working with others, I’ve been having the time of my life and am so happy to be working and interacting with others, a community collaboration can make you so many friends! Last weekend we were painting our shop with volunteers, who just gave up their weekend to help us. Now that’s amazing!
As well as binding friendships, I’m gaining knowledge and advice from other participants and feeling more motivated and enthusiastic than I have in months.
I met Max a few years back at the River Festival and we were meant to hook up some time for tea, in order to get advice from each other and just make friends, but it didn’t end up happening because we were always busy. Then years later this event has brought us together and I’m hoping I have a friend for life!
I’m buzzing at the moment from all the excitement and really looking forward to filling the shop with all out amazing wares.
It’s a good experiment and experience for me to see what it would be like to have a shop in the area. I have had my eyes on the shops there since they were first built and have toyed with the idea of having a shop stroke studio space there, but have hesitated due to lack of funds and potential market place. The weekender will be a good test and a few of us are thinking about the possibility of sharing a shop after the event.
It’s going to be amazing to see the area filled with buzzing creative talent and I can’t wait. There’s going to be loads going on down there, there’s tonnes of amazing creative’s coming out of the woodwork that I didn’t know existed in Bedford, so much so that I’d like to be visiting all the different events as a consumer, but I’ll be too busy in our shop hopefully.
See you there!!