The Joy of Shibori – the review

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry to all my loyal readers who got faked out with my previous post. I hope you enjoyed it, because I enjoyed writing it and I’m not sorry if you read both this and the other one. 

Now, let’s try this again. 

On the 14th of August, the great Kylie Burgess and I embarked upon a crafty quest to learn some new things (you can read her blow by blow of the day here).  As Neil and Kaley have already illustrated this week, SLQ’s space The Edge is a fantastic lurking place where inspiration, creativity and power tools come out to play, and the public is greatly encouraged to join the playground. Kylie and I did just that one Sunday afternoon, and the process was amazing.


Thanks to the affordances of modern technology, I was able to book and pay for my place in the workshop right from the comfort of my own home. The Eventbrite website is a great facilitator for crafty people who want to see at a glance what is coming up over the weeks. Admittedly, $80 is a steep price tag for a makerspace workshop. And for some, perhaps a prohibitive cost. But the reason that I chose to part with my hard earned cash is because SLQ have a policy regarding these sorts of courses, in that for the 80% of tickets they sell, they try to donate the remaining 20% to low income groups who could benefit from the service (I can’t find a link that backs this up, but it was something I was told on a tour of The Edge in 2015. I hope this is still the case).

I already knew that the space was very well resourced. On top of the sewing machines that I already knew about, workshop supervisor Jim had brought in 4 boiling pots for dye baths and heating elements to get them on the go. I was also impressed that Jim had brought many of the resources in and had put in a lot of preparation leading up to the class. We walked away with plenty of information, plenty of examples of our own work, and a finished product that we could be proud of. Additionally, he made recommendations to books we could read in our spare time, that could be hired from BCC Library. Nice touch, bringing it back to libraries and books.

When faced with the prospect of not having enough materials to go around (the wooden blocks needed to shape cloth for the itajime shibori technique), Jim was quick to come up with a solution. His time management was also quite good, and I felt he was able to give us all the attention we needed. What I was most impressed with is that he delivered the notepad cover project in two modes: Simple mode and ‘professional’ mode. If you weren’t experienced with sewing? No drama, a simple zigzag stitch to finish your edges will be fine. Want something a bit more challenging? He sat down with some of us and showed us exactly where to sew and trim our corners, to have a “seamless” cover. His personal sewing experience showed here.

The process was expertly handled right to the end. Two days after the workshop, I was invited to complete a short survey about my experience. SLQ are using the data collected from the booking site, contact patrons using The Edge, and then follow up to make sure they are providing a useful program. While I haven’t had a chance to fill out the survey yet (I know, naughty me!), this gave me a great feeling. While some might argue that makerspaces are not appropriate for libraries, I don’t think you could say that in the case of SLQ. They have done a very good job of ensuring that the program meets the needs of their patrons, and are checking in on it with regularity. I can’t wait to see what they run in the future.

And how did my project go in the end? Well, you’ve read this far, I guess I should ‘reward’ you…


Now I just need to find a note pad the right size.


  1. Ashlee Brown

    Hi Rebecca,

    I was not aware that that SLQ donated a percentage to low income groups who could benefit from the service, I think thats great! It makes me want to participate more in these more pricey events.

    It’s also good to see that SLQ follow up on the users experience with the workshop to make sure they are providing a useful workshop

  2. Karen Parker

    Really lovely creation Bec! As I commented on Kylie’s blog it sounds like a great program. I was surprised at the high cost though. I would like to see a big discount for concession card holders as the cost would be a barrier to many. Thanks for the review 🙂

    • Bec

      Yeah $80 took the wind out my sails quite a bit. But I literally just shrugged it off with “LOL No price too high for completing assessment and having a good time!” 😛

      I would like to see more put in place for concession card holders too. I almost wonder whether the Edge don’t consider uni students part of their core demographic. Crazy right? But perhaps they think that uni students already have access to these sorts of resources from their home institutions? So no student discount?

  3. Chloe Delaney

    Hi Rebecca,

    Great review! That looks hideously creative, and well out of my own creative depth, so good job for going!
    It sounds like this program is great in many facets- you get something out of it, and so do low income groups that might not have much of an opportunity otherwise. I liked reading about the fact that the instructor was really skilled, I think that’s important with these kinds of programs, if you don’t like it the first time/ don’t get a great experience, you’re probably not likely to come back!

    • Bec

      I do consider myself naturally creative, and a workshop like this wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for me. I give mad props to Kylie, who is a self-admitted not very creative person, and she had a ball!
      And yes, Jim is a doll. I believe he said he makes clothes in his spare time, and is one of the sewing induction instructors at The Edge.

  4. Kylie Burgess

    Great post(s) Bec 😀

    I’m glad you were there for the experience, it definitely helped me get over the initial hurdle of attending, but it was definitely a good time, wasn’t it? 😀
    I also thought the survey was a nice touch – a very direct means of getting feedback from their community of users to make sure their programming is meeting their needs and expectations.

    Now … if you’ll just run a crochet “makerspace” at the “library” sometime, maybe I can keep working on the whole “creative” thing 😛

  5. Chloe Pickard

    Hi Bec,

    The more I’m reading about the The Edge, the more I feel I should really check it out one of these days despite not being very crafty at all. It’s great that SLQ donates some of the money to groups that could benefit. Did they mention any cases of what these groups might be?

    • Bec

      It’s not so much that they make donations in the form of money, as it is donations in the form of “free lesson slots”. I think the demographic they have in mind for these is usually brisbane high school students who could not otherwise afford a shortcourse like this. I think it happens more often with their robotics program.

  6. Anitra Ross

    Hi Bec
    Very interesting Makerspace – I would love to do some stuff at the Edge.
    However i do think concession rates would promote some equity…


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