BAM meets Bristol Children’s Scrapstore

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the Children’s Scrapstore in St Werburghs.

Walking in, you find yourself in the Artragreous shop, which stocks everything from spray paint and art materials, to instruments and games. There’s a play area in the corner that’s always stocked with colouring materials, scrap and a wall of ideas so the kids can keep themselves occupied while you wander the aisles.

Even if you think your imagination has long gone into retirement, you’ll leave buzzing with ideas for crafty projects. Every now and then we go with £5 to spend and no plan. Previous trips have seen us coming home with everything we need to make fridge magnets, confetti crowns and our own t-shirt designs.

Then there’s the actual Scrapstore. It’s only open to members but, by filling up a loyalty card in the craft shop, you can gain access to this incredible warehouse of junk. Bottle tops, blinds, leather scraps, rolls of vinyl, yoghurt pots, mannequins… all presided over by a magnificent old Sully who sits high up on a shelf out of the reach of little hands! You never know what you’re going to find, which makes each visit a real adventure.

We caught up with Rachel, the Scrapstore’s Playworker and Workshop Leader, to find out a little bit more about what it’s like working at the Scrapstore.

The Scrapstore is such a great place for fuelling imaginations.  What makes your art sessions so unique?
Scrapstore’s core message is about encouraging and facilitating free play. Our sessions are child led and although we theme some of the sessions, children are encouraged to explore there own ideas. I run the Messy Play sessions for under 5s where I put out two sensory tubs and two activities to start the group off but the children are able to move freely about the space. They can engage in water play, dressing up and use loose parts to make dens and inventions. The session is continuously adapting to suit the needs of the children attending that day and parents and carers are encouraged to play alongside their children.

You must have seen some amazing projects made by the kids. Do any stand out?
The projects that really stand out are the ones where the children have just taken an idea and run with it. For example, today I facilitated a workshop where I set the theme ‘Robots’ and provided them with a lot of scrap but each robot was so different. Some children even made costumes to turn themselves into robots. And one girl just decided that she would rather make a castle, which I love. That’s fine by me!

What’s the most popular type of scrap you get at the Scrapstore?
We get so many random bits and pieces, its so hard to chose! The warehouse boys say that tulle and pieces of card are really popular but I would have to say the most versatile piece of scrap that anyone can access is the humble cardboard box. The possibilities are endless! 

Who is your personal art throb? 
It would have to be Tony Hart because I used to love watching ‘Hartbeat’ and I now find myself doing lots of the things he used to do. (I’m showing my age a bit mind!)

What’s your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
My favourite public art at the moment is Duncan McKellar’s work. He’s the guy putting all those yellow foam insulation tubes on the statues so that they look like they are wearing exotic headgear. Every time I see one it makes me smile.

As well as popping up at family events in Bristol museums and around the city, you can also attend one of the Scrapstore’s brilliant play events in St Werburghs. Messy Play sessions for under 5s take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:15 – 11:45 and cost £5. Super Saturdays run from 10:30 – 14:00 (last entry 13:00) and the sessions are free, though donations are appreciated.

Over the Easter holidays they have a number of activities including an Outer Space workshop where kids will get to play with space slime!

Adults interested in becoming more creative and playful themselves can attend one of their Make Play Do sessions which take place on the third Wednesday of the month from 18:30 – 20:30. They sound amazing and promise to send you home armed with ideas for different ways to play at home.

You can see a list of all upcoming Scrapstore events here.  If you haven’t already then do go and check them out. You’re always guaranteed a fun time and you’ll leave feeling inspired and bursting with creative ideas.

💥 BAM 💥

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