Updated: Apr 21
Wow! I can't quiet believe that we have been running workshops now for 7 months! How did that happen?!
Despite lockdown, time has flown by as we have designed, created, prepped and delivered our workshops for all - a real whirlwind of activity, almost without pause!
This week I am reflecting on what we have achieved in this short time, and for those of you who are new to Cygnini, show you what we are about and how our business is developing.
Where it all began...
Back in October 2020, following a stint of homeschooling lives on Facebook, I plucked up the courage to develop a children's Halloween workshop and run it on Zoom, live. It was stepping into the unknown! I had taught classes and classes of children before, I'd even taught one-to-one dyslexia friendly support sessions online, but to run a creative workshop, demonstrating and guiding a number of small people on different screens as they make and create, well, that was something different... deep breath!
I dived in and decided to offer a workshop (or two!) with a craft kit included. This would be addressed to and sent out to the children and I would make every effort to make it a special package! Inside was everything they needed, apart from glue and scissors, a ruler and pencil. There was a message written by me too!
I went about advertising and set up an Eventbrite page, which I still use today and you can follow me there too so you don't miss any new events! We had two fab sessions and some very proud children at the end of them!
Before the event, I was approached by a company in Ireland about doing a Halloween Team-building workshop online! Wow! I couldn't believe they had found me - it was a fabulous opportunity and I leaped at it! Having been a school leader, I was at ease with working with adults too - I'd never carved a pumpkin with them online before though, lol! However, I needn't have worried - it was a great success as you can see from our screenshot! :)
Next steps and new ideas.
After Halloween, it became clear that there could possibly be a little business emerging from this idea and I began to think about Christmas and get some new ideas a'cooking!
Ireland requested a Christmas event after the success of Halloween - I obliged with a super traditional mulled wine and gingerbread men making workshop - Merry Christmas!
I was also approached by a contact who put me in touch with her school PTA. We ran a fundraising event for them over two days and raised £s for the school. Again, I supplied the kits and worked through them with the families. It was great to be able to support something obviously close to my heart <3
The same contact signed me up to run a craft workshop for her business, where we made super cute peg angels! <3
We also ran a Christmas event of our own and realised we were gathering a little following and broadening the way that we thought the business would go.
We realised we were able to offer different creative opportunities to different people and support good causes as we went along - that's why we signed up to do a Mind Crafternoon in November. Why not raise some money, give back but also give people some crafting fun and an afternoon with company?!
New Year, new attitude.
The New Year brought new perspective. We had now run 10 events and were beginning to feel our way. We ordered new letterbox boxes for our kits and set about creating a new look.
We picked a theme for January - DREAMS - and worked new workshops around that. Dream Catchers were a favouite and our chief designer Hannah developed our Dream Catcher ring to simplify the process so that all children could access the workshop.
This was followed by journal making with japanese ribbon binding to hold your dreams for the year...
Each month we want to offer a kit based event and a "find it at home" event, with different price points, making it easier for families to join in some of the workshops on offer.
As a subscriber, there are also offers and discounts to treat you and yours and we currently have a freebie for you when you sign up to join our family :)
Loving what we do!
Love was in the air in February, so it seemed a good time to spread some love too. We approached the charity Eva's Angels, which is based in our hometown, to run a fund-raising event for them. We had wanted to make those gorgeous peg angels again for a while and now seemed the right time and for the right cause!
Chinese New Year gave us opportunity to push Hannah's design talents to the max by creating a 3D Dragon puppet! She did not disappoint and we had some fabulous creations! Each time, we feel so much pride for the effort the children (and parents!) put into the challenges of creative learning online! Each and every child who takes part should be very proud of their achievements :)
Our "make it from home" workshop in February was a weaving bookmark workshop with a special guest presenter! It was so lovely to have Shannon from Weaving Club with us to show us how to weave a bookmark - it was certainly a challenge, but was thoroughly enjoyed by all! We are hoping that Shannon will be doing more with us very soon and for adults too!
Caring and sharing.
As I already said, we knew that we could offer opportunities to get creative together and also create awareness of great causes. In February I met Colin from the charity Three Little Birds at a networking event. We decided to work together to raise awareness for their new, but important and exciting work with mental health and well-being. We ran an Easter Crafternoon for them in March, building their visibility and spreading their message across the UK.
We also love secrets at Cygnini, so running a secret mission for children to create a Mother's Day gift was a fabulous change to showing everyone what they are making! It was a hit and there were many surprised and happy mums on that Sunday! :D
Easter arrived early enough at Cygnini to allow you to make the decorations you needed for the day, so Bunting and Carrot Treat Bags were on offer for our family workshop. There were definitley one set of happy bunnies that day - one of our children attached their bunting to her fabulous rabbit hutch!
...and now we are here - April. Already this month we have made a finger puppet theatre and run a free Earth Day event last Friday! (You can grab the free 15-page booklet here on the website until 25 April 2021 with the activities we did PLUS extra ones too! - look out for the sign up form or message me direct!)
There is just so much going around in my brain - sometimes I can't keep up! Ideas flow to me like water at the moment and we have already planned a World Bee Day workshop which is live until Friday this week (23 April 2021) and then we are looking at an adult weaving double session and an Ocean's Day event in collaboration with clothing brand and environmental supporter Hannah Planet! <3
We are always on the look out for collaborations, joint ventures and fund-raising opportunities, so if you know of anyone who might like to work with us on a creative project, then please pass on our details :)
Our mission at Cygnini is to get as many people as possible confident in being just the tiniest bit creative. The benefits outweigh the negatives and you wouldn't believe how much achievement you can feel from doing something you haven't before. Even I was so chuffed with myself when I wove a bookmark! And I craft most days! It's a great feeling :D
Looking forward to seeing you at one of our workshops soon, but even if that isn't for a while, thank you for being here and supporting what we do! Every time you like, comment or share our posts, whether on here, on Facebook or on Instagram, we do a happy dance - it's cartwheels when you book an event ;) !!
Take care and see you again next week :)
P.S. Don't forget that freebie - it's only here for this week! :)