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Baildon Rd
Shipley, BD17
United Kingdom

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Our Story

About Sponge Tree

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Once upon a time there were two busy ladies, one an Art Teacher and the other a Nursery Nurse and Forest School Practitioner, who became full time mums. A shock to the system they found they where left seeking to enjoy some personal creativity and decided to make some beautiful things in the spare minutes around being, mum, wife and homemaker. They sold these beautiful creations at local craft markets and shops across the country. When they met they knew they would be life long friends. Paula the Nursery Nurse (right) has passion for all things natural, a calm Mother Nature, creative and kind. Nicola the Art Teacher (left) is chatty and giddy, a creative soul with a passion for people.

At the start of the year 2010, they shared their resolutions and aspirations for the coming year and realised they wanted many of the same things. They met one night every two weeks for 6 months and made a plan.

Sponge Tree was created! Sponge's take toxins from the ocean water to help the coral reef to grow (Paula's love of nature) and tree's take the toxins from the air to help us to grow (Nicola's love of people). The perfect name for a business, who's focus is looking after nature and looking after each other.

Their first event was a community insect celebration day at a local nature reserve, which was extremely successful. From there they went on to work with Children's Centres; focusing on multi sensory experiences that linked to colour and the natural world. These still continue as Saplings - colour sessions. They also offer Saplings - natural play, outdoor sessions, a real exploration of nature.

Sponge Tree continued to support local events and festivals, providing high quality creative activities for families to share together. They decided to call this their Community Roots - focused on making memories and enjoying connecting with others through creative practices. They partner with the Saltaire Arts Trail, work with the Ilkley Art Trail and Ilkley Literature Festival and currently provide activities for events around Yorkshire.

They were recognised for their ability to create multi sensory activities and were asked to write training to support Activities Co-ordinators, in the Care industry. This was the beginning of the Branching Out - Training part of Sponge Tree. The Sensory Activities Co-ordinators course now runs in Bradford, Calderdale Council and Bury Council, who have run the training for the staff in their Care homes. They have delivered training as part of the Child Care Course at Shipley College; for early years practitioners and to support creative people moving towards selling their work

Nicola and Paula still have a passion for creative practise and still where possible make. They realise how valuable it is to have time for yourself, to take time and make beautiful things. The feeling is wonderful to make something from nothing and to have a creative object that shows your hard work; that others can see and value as your skill. They still run workshops and they give people a chance to learn and express their own personal creativity. Sponge Tree has been running since June 2010 and they love what they do. Please feel free to contact them and discuss your ideas, projects, training or plans... If they can help you be creative... They will : )

Ethos

Sponge Tree believe it is important to have minimal impact on the earth's resources. They work with the rhythms of nature and promote interacting with the natural world. Where they can their materials are:  taken responsibly from nature, recycled, saved from landfill or community raised.

They also promote community cohesion, through their workshops, projects and their interaction with other community organisations. As they know this develops a stronger community to be in.

 

Press

Saltaire Arts Trail May 2011 

 http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/district/district_shipley/district_shipley_saltaire/9057080.On_the_trail_of_art_in_Saltaire/

Baildon Jubilee Project April 2012

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/district/district_shipley/district_shipley_baildon/9660291.Jubilee_designs_created_by_Baildon_school_pupils/ 

Funding application July 2013 

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10545533.Groups_hope_to_hit_funding_jackpot/ 

Saplings Outdoor Nature Playgroup Shipley August 2013 

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10618634.Children_have_been_having_muddy_summer_fun_at_woodland_in_Shipley_/ 

Ilkley Art Trail 2013 

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10672522.Ilkley_Arts_Trail_offers_chance_to_get_creative/ 

Testimonials

Saplings Colour Sessions

"We have learnt about everyday objects, life, wildlife, food and colours."

"Enjoyed working together to create some fantastic  art work."

"Sharing, making, getting stuck in, growing and building."

"Love the emphasis on nature."

"My children have been introduced to different environmental concepts and experienced new sensations they would have never experienced at home."

"Fantastic craft ideas looking into nature, given me good ideas  of how to teach nature in a fun way."

Saplings Dads Group sessions

"I liked the varied fun activities, indoor and outdoor play."

"Good ideas to try at home."

Learn, Make, Sell

"Really enjoyed the workshop day and the selling training was really useful. The week has given me the confidence to take another stall at another craft fair, which is what I wanted from the week. Thank you for all your help."

"Want to go do more courses like this. Feel able to produce something I can sell and able to talk to people again."

"Brilliant course, amazing and its helped us all."

"Will be recommending to friends!"

"Learnt to interact with new people and enjoy ourselves."

"I liked the creative head space, the time to make. Thank you."

"It has been a fantastic course, it's great that the children's centre run things like this."

Craft + Chat

"Was lovely to have a break from my children."

"I'm going to miss the craft + chat. Can't we do it all again?"

"Find the craft, chat + laughter very therapeutic."

"The projects we have done have been relatively simple but very effective and are great for people of all abilities, especially non crafties like me!!"

"As a result of the sessions I am finding that I have been inspired to be more creative."

" When I was invited to the sessions I was very wary and a little reluctant. I also suffer from depression and I try to avoid new situations and people. I had absolutely no need to worry! Paula and Nicola are very easy going, lots of fun and great teachers."