A regular group for anyone interested in participatory, amateur, and heritage crafts

In partnership with Heritage Crafts, Creative Network: Crafts connects people who participate, work, or volunteer in all kinds of craft activities, especially participatory, amateur, and heritage crafts. Each session focuses on a different theme, led by a guest speaker. We discuss issues and challenges, share tips and resources, and support each other.

Previous topics have included craftivism, wellbeing, using crafts to discuss 'knotty issues', and turning your crafting hobby into a business. We've welcomed guest speakers who specialise in a range of artforms, such as gold embroidery, patchwork, and weaving, and from organisations including Bristol Textiles Quarter, Brooklyn Lace Guild, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Craft.

Sessions are held online via Zoom, and everyone is welcome to join. Find upcoming sessions listed on our Creative Network page or on Eventbrite.


Date Theme Further information
May 2024

Social media as a form of crafting

Cyanotype maker and craft influencer Daisy Bow du Toit shared her perspective on social media as a form of craft creative practice, including tips on how to grow a following. Watch a recording of her presentation on social media as a form of crafting. 

February 2023

Textiles and masculinity

Worcester-based textile artist Oliver Bliss shared his practice with the group, including '#SoftLads', a series of largescale handmade tapestries exploring notions of masculinity.

December 2022 Making the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant cart

Guest speaker Chris Hocking spoke with us about organising Bridgwater Carnival's entry to the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, and we discussed the vital but often unnoticed role of volunteers. 

October 2022 Libraries as hubs for community crafting We were joined by Tracie Meredith (Staffordshire County Council Library Arts Officer), Sarah Baker (Librarian at Inspire Culture), and Jennifer Collier (Paper and Stitch Pioneer) to discuss how libraries are playing an important role in hosting and delivering craft activities for their local communities.
August 2022 The Parliament Coronavirus Memorial Quilt Project

We explored how crafting can benefit mental health in troubling times by learning about the Parliament Coronavirus Memorial Quilt Project, with guest speakers Dawn Butler MP and Naomi Clarke, the memorial quilt stitcher.

June 2022 How crafting can bring a community together

Naz Syed and Marilyn Priday shared their experiences of creating a community quilt during lockdown as part of Lost Connections, a project run by Coffee 'n' Laughs bringing together women of all ages, faiths, and cultures.

March 2022 Weaving by numbers

Guest speaker Theo Wright explored the relationship between technology and weaving, and how his background as a computer scientist led to his practice as a weaver and textile designer. 

February 2022 Goldwork embroidery

Hanny Newton gave us an overview of the traditional art of goldwork embroidery, and her plans for the Goldwork Embroidery Workshop as part of The Making of Coventry project.

January 2022 The history of waist beads

Special guest Ebony Ademola, creator of Cultured Waist, spoke to us about the history of waist beads as a form of expression and self-love, and the community wait bead workshop she's running as part of The Making of Coventry project.

December 2021 The Making of Coventry Project

Rachel New (Creative Lives On Air Producer at BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire) and Daniel Carpenter (Heritage Crafts Operations Director) spoke about our new collaborative programme, The Making of Coventry.

November 2021 The history of patchwork and quilt making

We discussed how the stories behind heritage crafts can connect us with our past. You can watch a recording of the presentation from our guest Jane Cobbett, a quilt maker, textiles tutor, and collector of vintage patchwork.

October 2021 Bristol Stitchers

Alli Tillcock, Secretary of Bristol Stitchers, gave us an overview of the group's projects during lockdown, and what's next as in-person workshops and activities start up again. You can watch a recording of the conversation about Bristol Stitchers here

June 2021 Meet, Make, Mend and the Bristol Textiles Quarter

We discussed sustainable textiles with Saffron Darby, Studio Manager at Bristol Textile Quarter and leader of the Meet, Make, Mend project. 

April 2021 Can crafts bring communities together to discuss 'knotty issues'?

Guest speaker Rose Sinclair (Design Lecturer (Textiles) at Goldsmiths, University of London) shared the history of the Dorcas Clubs and their links to public health and education, and we discussed the contemporary craftivism movement. 

February 2021 Microblogging and social media

We discussed how to use microblogging and social media platforms to raise awareness of heritage crafts, with insight from guest speaker Elena Kanagy-Loux (Brooklyn Lace Guild).

January 2021

Available support and advice

We outlined the support and advice provided by Creative Lives and Heritage Crafts, and then discussed the types of support that people want and need from national organisations.

November 2020

Keeping a craft group together through thick and thin

Guest speakers Fee Barton and Kerry Russell spoke about how their respective craft groups have developed over the years, and how they've coped and adapted through lockdown. 

October 2020

Turning your craft hobby into a business

We were inspired by Cass Barton (Bookbinding with Cass) and Molly Plummer (The Mimo Yarn Company), who have both turned their passion for crafts into flourishing businesses.

September 2020 Can online teaching ever replace real world teaching?

Kate Dewmartin (Craft Courses) and Sally Evans (Craft Workshops) spoke to us about leading online arts, crafts, and wellbeing workshops, and we reflected on the pros and cons of online and in-person teaching.

August 2020


We discussed craftivism with Sarah Corbett (Craftivist Collective) and independent artist Julia Davis Nosko, and explored how activism can be slow, quiet, small, and compassionate whilst still making real positive change. You can watch some short clips from our craftivism session here

July 2020

How the grassroots crafts community can speak to government

We learned about the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Craft from Baroness Sue Garden, Patricia Lovett, and Lucy McGrath, and discussed how the crafts sector intersects with advocacy, policy, and research. You can watch some short clips from our session about how the grassroots crafts community can speak to government here.

June 2020

How to keep making during a pandemic

In our first Creative Network: Crafts, we discussed how to keep making during lockdown, how craft contributes to our wellbeing, and how craftspeople are keeping heritage skills alive in difficult circumstances.

Other craft resources and organisations

    You can also find useful umbrella bodies on our listings page.