Walk into the workshop of the Lantern Weavers and you will be greeted by an abundance of lively colour and textures. The workshop is a light filled space with an atmosphere of both intense activity and thoughtful reflection. The workshop provides a positive and stimulating environment enabling individuals to lead a meaningful working life.
Emphasis is on acquiring and developing new skills and experiencing craft techniques. Importance is also placed upon the social skills that develop intrinsically when one is an active member of a committed working team. There are usually up to five adults with a learning disability working in this workshop each day, Monday to Friday, making up a team of skilled craftspeople.
The weaving is carried out on traditional hand looms. The aim is to produce cloth of a high standard that is attractive, well made and that will last. The yarns used are mostly cotton, linen or wool and are often unbleached or dyed in-house using natural dyes.
The range of products includes rugs, blankets, table runners, large floor cushions, tea towels and scarves. Simple products which are beautifully made.
The workshop is regularly opened to visitors. This gives an opportunity for meeting the weavers and to see the work in progress. The weavers are happy to take commissions from individual customers. The products are sold through the Lantern Shop and at arts and crafts shows throughout the year.
Potentially each weaver experiences a sense of self-worth through creating something that is useful and enjoyed by the customer. Each weaver is involved in selecting colours and yarns to create their cloth, giving the end product its unique quality.
“If you have woven the cloth yourself it has something of you in it, it is from your hand, your imagination, and the beauty of the cloth and the skill of its maker can be seen”