Who am I?
Hi, my name is Natalie, otherwise known as Tillie. I have been involved with children's arts and crafts for a number of years. I decided to write and illustrate a short story about Ollie the Owl (That's a Nice Hat) and learnt how to crochet to make soft toys suitable for children. I have also gained valuable experience of running children's craft workshops by visiting local schools and youth centers where I realized my passion to spread creativity.
After speaking to numerous parents from various workshops I have realized that there are a large proportion of parents who would like to carry out creative activities with their children but do not have the space or resources at home. They also mentioned they would love to have a place to go to meet with other parents for the social aspect but also to know that their child is completing an activity that is both creative and valuable. The young adults on the other hand would like somewhere to go where they can learn a new skill such as weaving or crocheting, Little Tillie’s Craft Café will give them that place.
The ideas from my children's books and soft toys gave me the inspiration to spread my creative vibes in schools and youth work. This quickly became the thing I loved the most, helping others realize their creative abilities and how creativity can benefit their lives, how therapeutic it can be and how much it can open up their minds to a whole new way of seeing the world.
One of the groups of children that benefited the most from my activities were those who suffer with learning difficulties such as autism, therefore I developed my activities further to ensure they can be more suited to their sensory needs.
This has inspired me to run my own children's craft cafe called Little Tillie's in Brighton City Center where parents can come to get 5 minutes to themselves whilst enjoying great locally sourced organic food and drink. They will be content in the knowledge that their child is fully entertained, safe and happy exploring their creativity. However you do not need to be a parent to visit, come grab a cup of coffee and a zen coloring sheet while appreciating the local artist's work on display and browsing the wonderful line of handmade gifts and art supplies available.
What I am going to do?
The plan is to open Little Tillie's Craft Cafe to spread my creative thinking through simple craft activities that will open children's minds that all can get involved in along with offering excellent food, drink and gifts, what you can expect to see are:
- Arts and crafts activities for adults and children
- Mama and Papa mornings (Meet other parents)
- Special sessions for sensory development
- A touch and feel sensory wall
- Learn a skill for children(Closed door sessions) e.g: How to make a soft toy
- Learn a skill for adults(Closed door sessions) e.g: Crochet
- My handmade gifts on sale within the cafe
- Local artist's work and gifts
- Locally sourced organic food and drink
- Birthday packages
- Party Packages
- Team Building - office functions
Why I want to do it?
I want to give back to the community of Brighton by running Little Tillie's Craft Cafe for a number of reasons. I want to offer parents a chance to pop in, relax, grab a cup of coffee, relieve some stress whilst their child is enjoying an arts and craft activity to enhance their creativity. In the modern world we tend to forget about old skills such as crochet, sewing, weaving etc. I want to create a community of highly skilled crafters who will apply these skills to make something amazing after popping along to Little Tillie's for an adult skill lesson. Also I want to encourage the community to take time out, pop in for a stress relieving coloring sheet whilst sipping on a cup of organic coffee. There will be readily made coloring sheets (illustrated by myself) at the counter to take with your coffee to help you destress.
I have the passion, the commitment and dedication to pull this through, I have trialed this over a few months at a small venue and I know it works! Children and parents loved their time at Little Tillie's! The main problem I have is the funding, your funding will go towards helping Little Tillie's first of all stock the cafe with all the necessary equipment for the variety of activities on offer, we do have stock but feel it would not be enough for a whole cafe at this time. Secondly Little Tillie's needs help to get going, your funding will help us see that property rent does not set us back which also means you will get high quality food and drink that is locally sourced. Finally we need furniture, again some furniture we have from the trial period however we will need to ensure that parents and children have somewhere comfortable to sit, a place to stock handmade goods and even down to the mugs you will drink out of.
I hope you are all as excited as I am about this idea and back us to make Little Tillie's Craft Cafe happen!