2107 has been an eventful year without a doubt. The Inventors Asylum has gone from strength to strength changing from a small business starting in the back of a community enterprise a over 5 years ago, developing into a larger maker space and then at the beginning of 2017 having to move out of that space into a purpose built studio so that Jay could concentrate on specialist projects, commissions and one to one tuition. Yes we built it in January when the ground was frozen – it took a week to dig the ground flat for the foundations!
The real strength behind the Inventors Asylum is the ability to evolve and grow – it does not sit stagnant and let the world whizz on past; it is a business that responds to the changing needs of the world around it. One of the goals it has achieved this year is to educate beyond it’s local area by creating kits that are easily accessible to all ages and it has seen the team grow to include the two eldest children even more as they have been involved in this design process creating not only the ideas but the instructions and even helping construct the items themselves. These are the younger ones worry monster cushions that he designed early in 2017 before they hit the shelves – looks like he could be quite a trendsetter when he gets older. He made them from scratch, including zips. (he’s 9!)
The team have had some amazing success this year as well with members winning awards and getting commissions. The year started with Bex creating a huge Rockpool embroidery for Wetherspoons as they opened a new unit in Chester, later in the year Jay was part of a team called Swytchcraft who scooped second place in the National Open Textile Exhibition judged by a panel of industry professionals for his contribution to the piece the ‘Dragon Queen’ and Makani-Kai came 1st in the under 18’s and Kaida-Rayne 2nd in the under 18’s for the same competition.
Last summer saw the Inventors Asylum come out of the studio and onto the national show circuit joining Bex and taking the kits and demonstrations across the country. This has been hard work but extremely rewarding and we have had some amazing moments meeting people we have not seen for years and making new friends.
Then came the biggest task of the year….. the Treehouse Studios! In the autumn we built in 12 days from the ground up a brand new teaching space so we could run workshops onsite at the Inventors Asylum rather than having to rent space elsewhere. (we also did a show in between some of the days and had lashing rain for most of it – it is Wales!) It was worth it though and now we have a fabulous space onsite where we can demonstrate, teach, make big things and sell all year round. Here it is in the snow!
So as we finish 2017 we say “phew…, that was hard work”, but we don’t intend to sit on our laurels for January either so watch this space!