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Weekly Discussion: Craft, Materials, and the Environment (oh my!)

Discussion in 'General Guiding' started by badgemad4, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. badgemad4

    badgemad4 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Myself and the other leaders in our unit are not especially crafty, but the girls enjoy it and haven’t done craft in a while. So the other day sat down to think of some ideas to balance out the term.

    We looked back on the craft we did when we were Brownie age (early 00s), and some of them we realised wouldn’t be possible now due to availability of material. Because of the abundance of free CDs for things like AOL (I remember my mum as a leader being handed handfuls by other parents at drop off time as they thought it might be useful), lots of our activities used them. Similarly plastic bags used to feature in lots of craft, and although it’s falling back I still see a few things that require several bags per girl. We also wanted to avoid something that had no use and is bulky as an ornament.

    We ended up deciding on some recycling based craft as lots of suggestions we found online would have lots of wastage.

    Are there any types of craft you think should be discouraged? Particularly for eviromental reasons.

    Are there any craft trends that have been forgotten but were once very popular?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  2. badgemad4

    badgemad4 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I asked Mum about her youth and she said in the 70s Pom poms were very popular, like how loombands were about three years ago.
     
  3. Quack

    Quack Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    Personally I have an issue with the book folding craft...it's something to do with the desecration of books. I was taught as a child to look after books, you don't write in them etc so to see them used as 'disposable' craft materials seems wrong to me. That said I know they are cheap novels generally (ensuring the content is suitable for young eyes) and may have been destined for recycling... it just goes against the grain...

    We used to do lots of pom poms and french knitting as Brownies, spare wool always seemed to be available...
     
  4. Tez10

    Tez10 Ninja

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  5. Trinny

    Trinny Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I would like to see glitter and single use plastic crafts forgotten about!
    Glitter is just small pieces of plastic, and often get washed into rivers and oceans. But, being plastic, they don't break down for hundreds of years! Same with single use plastics - cellophane, plastic cups, straws, plastic cutlery. Unless they have already been used, you shouldn't use them solely for a craft. It's terrible for the planet and particularly the oceans, and it's so hypocritical to tell girls to look after the environment when we are encouraging them to do crafts with materials that will still be on this earth in 200 years' time.

    </rant>
     
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  6. Lynz

    Lynz Veteran (100+ posts)

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    There was a phase a while back where every other resource seemed to have an activity that involved upcycling old clothing. It drove me mad because the kids kept asking to do them but the "old clothes" rarely materialised. Many of the activities themselves were clever/ inventive/ fun, but all were based one the assumption that the kids had lots of old clothes just lying around at home that wouldn't already have been handed down to a younger sibling/ friend or sold via ebay/ jumble sale. They looked great on paper and perhaps other units had more success, but they really didn't work for us in a unit setting.

    I remember one patrol picking a GFI activity about recycling/ avoiding wastage/ reducing landfill where they were meant to bring in an old Tshirt to dye or decorate to give it a new lease of life instead of binning it. Half the patrol turned up with brand new £1.50 Tshirts from Primark because they didn't have any rubbish shirts at home and parents didn't want to spoil a "good" top for a guide activity. What can you say! The kids had a a lot of fun and the Tshirts looked great and I'm certainly not going to complain that the parents were supportive enough to buy what they thought their kids needed for the activity, but it totally missed the point of why they were doing it in the first place!
     
  7. kingfisherblue

    kingfisherblue Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I can't stand glitter. We never ever buy it, and environmentally it's a nightmare. Just wanted to get that out of the way :cool:

    I have an ever growing collage box. I don't know why it grows (the lid wouldn't fasten on it tonight :(). Whenever we use it, we take stuff out but the amount seems to inexplicably grow. It's popular though.

    We occasionally buy stuff in for a craft, but I tend to collect things if I can, or I use whatever I have managed to get from Freecycle (420 corks earlier this year - from one private household!). If I can, I choose crafts that we have resources for, but that might be because I'm thrifty!

    In Rainbows, the other leader tends to prefer craft activities to any other, and can be a little uncomfortable when we do something else (acting a fairytale scene tonight - definitely not her thing!). In Brownies, we are far less likely to do crafts, but still manage it every now and then. Guides have just been doing some crafts as we are working on the Craft badge, but otherwise it tends to be a similar frequency to Brownies. On Brownie pack holiday, I made a conscious effort to vary the activities so that it wasn't craft heavy - we had a treasure hunt, games, films and more.

    I'm not a fan of Baker Ross as everything turns out the same. I like individuality. Crafty Crocodiles has more choice because they have lots of blank options. We had wooden owl clock blanks for pack holiday (a good price, but more than we would usually spend, simply because we decided that it was a great activity with a practical result, and it offered the chance for the girls to create something of their own design). Crafty Crocodiles also have the option to buy hoowever many pieces that you want, rather than packs fo six or ten like Baker Ross - and we all know how that leads to extras having to be purchased when we don't actually need them!

    Guides will be sewing in the coming weeks. It may be a craft, but it is also a skill. It won't cost anything because several items have come from Freecycle. We also have a Brownie grandparent who has a sort out every now and then, and has donated fabrics, threads, buttons, trimmings, beads, etc. We're looking at making a fabric Christmas angel to hang on the tree.

    One craft activity that the Guides loved was creating a campsite from various bits and bobs from the cupboard. The Patrols each had exactly the same things (clearing out a few bits), and just had to use their imagination to make a campsite with only those materials. Great fun, and one of the most popular activities so far!
     
  8. Tregi

    Tregi Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I do not like craft for the sake of it. As for the environment, when you know a majority of the girls will either put it in a bin, leave it behind or it will go in the bin at home, I do not see the point. Creating something that teaches a new skill however, is very different, and I will encourage those rather than cutting out and colouring in at guide age, as that is more suitable for younger members developing their fine motor skills. We do have some older girls that need that help, but try to make it less obvious!!!

    Sent from my SM-G850F using Tapatalk
     
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  9. AngliaGuider

    AngliaGuider Regular (50+ posts)

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    I'm a Guide leader so, like many others here, craft is something we do occasionally rather than often. We make sure that we have it on the programme once a term, because I know that our girls enjoy it, but there is so much else in our programme that if we did it more frequently it would be at the expense of something else equally enjoyed.

    Our crafts tend to be either something that we can make with things that have been donated (we've made bead charms with some of the hundreds of beads that have been donated to our District crafts supplies store, and I just bought some acrylic pens to decorate the wooden beads for those who chose those rather than the colourful plastic ones; this term we did iris folding with paper and cards donated by a grandparent who was having a clearout...) or crafts which tie in with another purpose. We did tie-dying of plain cotton drawstring bags this summer to make plate bags when almost all our Guides were new to camping (they also use them weekly to keep their G file and our printed badge books in), and we are upcycling clothes (supposed to be from a charity shop purchase rather than new, but we will see...) in a few weeks to make something they feel fabulous in, to wear at a 'catwalk' show to celebrate the individual, as part of our Think Resilient activities.

    By instinct I am not generally inclined to spend a lot of money on crafts unless I am certain that the item made will be long-serving, either as a practical item or as something that will be kept for a while rather than consigned to the bin after a perfunctory two week period on display 'because I ought to, because my daughter made it'. I quite fancy pyrography, if I can borrow the equipment, but I want to make name tags to attach to bedding rolls/kit bags/rucksacks rather than decorations per se.
     
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  10. Epona

    Epona Veteran (100+ posts)

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    It may be an age thing, but I really dislike seeing crafts that use up perfectly good food (potato printing, hammering nails into apples, salting dough into ornaments). I know we have had many decades of cheap, plentiful food but prices are rising steeply now and I am acutely aware that the demand on local foodbanks is rising even more dramatically.

    I also concur on avoiding the use of plastics and glitter.
     
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  11. badgemad4

    badgemad4 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Glitter is evil on many levels. The other day one girl managed to find glitter from somewhere (we did not put out glitter). I don't think I am yet ready to discuss the aftermath!
     
  12. dragnilk

    dragnilk Beginner (10+ posts)

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    I'm glad to have discovered another reason to avoid glitter - I really hate clearing it up and avoid using it as much as possible for that reason.

    We do use baker ross for some of their craft kits but probably just as often use items I've saved from recycling or the bin for crafts too. I find buying kits does take the pressure off for preparing items for 20+, especially when I know that I have a busy schedule of my own and I'm the only one planning meetings.
    I'm quite a crafty person in my spare time, I enjoy crochet and sewing and making my own birthday cards. I try to share my interest in these crafts with the Brownies and will sometimes use Brownies as an excuse to try different techniques I've come across e.g. marbling paper using shaving foam and food colouring was one I enjoyed trying out. We rarely craft just for the sake of it, usually gifts for mothers or fathers day, easter, christmas or to fit in with a theme. I probably don't consciously think about the environmental impact but most of the crafts we do are probably card/paper or textile based as that is where my strengths are. I would think most things we make could probably be recycled in someway once the girls have finished with then. Maybe I should consider that more?

    I do think though that its also important to remember that a lot of enjoyment comes from the crafting process as well as the finished product. Allowing yourself to become immersed in a project can take your mind off things that are troubling you and can help people to relax. I think that crafts have a role to play in helping girls learn how to use different techniques to unwind and indulge their creative side.

    Another area where its about finding the right balance.
     
  13. badgemad4

    badgemad4 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    For similar reasons I dislike the “bullying” bruised apple activity that was popular about a year ago. Complete waste of several bits of fruit- and there is a better alternative (IMHO).

    You get a paper person (I’ve always done a gingerbread style person) who gets torn, insulted, scruffed, crumpled and ripped by the group. Everyone then needs to smooth, unwrinkle, tape back together, and say kind things to it. The lesson is then that after being bullied you can be “whole again” but never quite the same as before. A bit nicer than that you are forever damaged, written off and unappealing…
     
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  14. Quack

    Quack Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    For similar reasons I dislike the “bullying” bruised apple activity that was popular about a year ago. Complete waste of several bits of fruit- and there is a better alternative (IMHO).

    Whilst I agree with the sentiment, I can't help wondering how some of these activities came into being... I can imagine a busy leader wondering what to do at Brownies that night coming across an activity ..! An idea to use some of the glut of windfalls from the garden...we can do this... and afterwards they'll end up in the compost bin ..
    Time moves on and the next unit 'borrow' the idea but buy the apples...it's just how an idea can evolve and loose some of it's charm and recycablity .. The paper version is a great way of being flexible with the idea but using different resources..
     
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  15. fenris

    fenris fenris GuiderPlus

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    I'm quite anti most kits - often it means buying stuff you know will end up in the cupboard for months losing It's freshness - and the girls aren't developing their manual dexterity or their design ideas, the very things crafts are meant to develop, because all the design decisions have already been made and all the cutting out done.

    To my mind, any craft must be either useful, or genuinely ornamental. The sort of thing a parent might want to display, or might realistically utilise . . .
     
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  16. pipperpa

    pipperpa Beginner (10+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    I would say I am a crafty leader - I am an Architect in my day to day job and enjoy most crafting mediums I lay my hand to. In the 13 years I have been working with Rainbows I could count on one hand the number of kits I have used within my units. Where possible I like to make up my own templates and get the girls thinking creatively and using life skills. It is small moments that make the prep worthwhile - the rainbows and brownies who stared blankly at me when we doodled to music - they are used to be given a 'topic'. Then how they got into it within 5/10 mins with interesting results - I put on dramatic/eerie music and the next thing I knew they were drawing knives and coffins! Maybe not quite the 'craft' we are talking here but doodling as simple Or the time a couple of weeks ago, when a rainbow was holding the scissors upside down (her thumb was towards the table with the back of her hand directed towards her) and I said you might find it easier if you hold them this way up - in the end she agreed and I have seen her hold them that way again. My most recent use of a kit was a nightmare. It would have been easier and there would have been a greater feeling of achievement had we started from scratch - we were left with a lot of left overs as you could only buy them in packs of 5, the bits were really fragile, not Rainbow friendly and there were only so much of it that I could 'put in the craft box' for another night. I do not like waste and do try to reuse or recycle materials where possible. My house is full of 'useful' things that might come in handy one day. At the moment we are working through my extensive crafting collection only buying in the minimum that I can't supply from my own supplies - not because I am trying to subsidise the unit but because it benefits both of us. My house is over run and instead of throwing it in the bin - the thought of which isn't even on my radar - I/they are using the items creatively to create something that either tests life skills, is useful or ornamental. I do tend to lean towards crafts when I need a quick activity but I do try to minimise the buying new or crafting 'just because'. I know that the majority of what I do within the unit - even though some of it does have a use/purpose - will end up in the bin. I think we just have to be weary about the resources we do use and maybe relook at "buying new" every time we plan a craft. If you see an idea online which would result in wastage maybe consider how you could adapt it to include materials you already have or reutilise other things before going and buying new things. In the end it will help the environment and the bank balance of the unit!
     

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