Neomari Beadcraft at Harrow Art Centre

Come and learn new craft skills like jewellery making, glass painting, wirework and sewing and make new friends. We also have guest artists and go on external trips to museums and craft fairs.

Join us for a wonderful inspiring experience.

No registration fee, just pay £5.00 per session.

For more information drop in on a Wednesday, 10am to 1pm at Harrow Art Centre, Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, HA5 4EA,

Alternatively you can contact Neomari Beadcraft at or call us on 07403381512.


The aim of the project was to set up a craft based self-organised group in Harrow that would meet regularly learning and producing different craft items. As a pilot project, we aimed to introduce an enterprise element to the programme so as to be self-sustaining at the end of the year.

Participants would learn new functional craft skills like jewellery making, glass painting, wire work and sewing, learn some business skills, meet new people, and make new friends.

We would also invite the participants to facilitate the sessions teaching their own skills. There was also the opportunity to go on external trips of interest.

The project began in October 2013 and ran weekly on a Wednesday 10.00 am to 1pm at the Harrow Arts Centre.

Craft work and Skills

Ekky Archibong facilitated most of the sessions. Each week was different from the other. Sometimes we learnt a new skill and other times we all just brought in something to do.

An example would be the Henna Painting on Candles session. This session, facilitated by another participant Yazmin, not only taught us the calligraphic skills involved in using a Henna tube, it also taught us about different types of Henna and indeed the best types to purchase. Making the designs on a candle was new. This session also introduced a debate around how what we design is influenced by the culture and society we live in.

Other sessions

Blog and Communication

We set up a blog site to showcase our work and participants were encouraged to share the page amongst friends, colleagues and family to attract more interest in the group. See attached extract.

Participants were very active in networking with each other even outside the sessions. The facilitator sent out a weekly Club letter which touched on the next session, events that had happened in between and any other item that was sharable. The participants also made use of social networks such as Viber and Facebook, to post pictures of anything of interest or anything they had accomplished at home.

External Trips

In December 2013, we visited the V& A Museum in London to see the Pearl Exhibition.

In May 2014 we paid a visit to Craft and Clay in Bushey, where we painted on ceramic using different glazes.

Some of the participants have continued to visit craft fairs in Birmingham, London and Surrey.


Our aim was to create avenues to raise funds to continue to run the group after a year. It took a while for the group to settle and to gel. At Christmas, we decided to make a first attempt at producing for sale. Each participant chose a specific item they would produce in a small agreed quality. This was funded by the weekly session fees. We organised a Xmas sale and invite staff, friends and family to come and shop. Unfortunately though we had products for sale, we didn’t attract enough foot fall to break even. The products were also sold at two other non-Harrow fairs.

Since this outcome the participants have focused on developing their skills and are now looking at other ways to make an income while we prepare for craft fairs.


Most of our participants came with one craft skill or another ranging from cake decorating to henna art. This gave us a wide range of choices for our sessions as some participants took turns to teach us their skills.

We made Sock Buddies out of socks, bejewelled hangers, painted glass ware and learnt Blackwork amongst other skills.

The sessions were very informal and the participants, predominantly women, were able to bond and build friendships that have been, maintained even outside the sessions.

Some participants had pre-existing personal situations and found the group a kind of therapeutic getaway.


1.  The sessions were well received and the participants (though sometimes few) were enthusiastic about the skills they came to learn.

2.  Learning took place and each participant has gone away with a skill which some have already passed on to friends and family.

3.  Two participants have decided to set up their own jewellery and make up art business while one has just completed a PTTLS course so that she can teach her craft.

The Way Forward.

1.  The sessions were not filled to capacity and upon discussion we have put it down to the location of the course not being in the right area to attract our intended target.

2.  Our marketing and advertising would have been more efficient if it had been supported by the funders by way of a network / marketing event for the funded organisations.

3.  The participants slowly lost enthusiasm for the sales and business objectives of the project. We put this down to the fact that this was a new group and that the participants were still carving a skills and ideas based niche for themselves. With the new term, we are looking at different ways of raising funds both through craft markets and an eBook.

We would like to thank all staff and funders from Harrow Borough Council for the support for our project.

Extracts from our blog site

1. Introducing Neomari CraftClub 15/11/13

When we decided to present this proposal for this enterprise led craft club, I knew that we were on to a year’s worth of creativity, meeting new like-minded craft workers, and most importantly, learning new craft skills. I’m so used to being the “tutor” that it is nice to know that I will be learning skills I haven’t had time to learn such as working with resin, embossing and mixed media textile design.

We have the team at Adult Community Learning department of Harrow Council, to thank for awarding us an Innovation grant to see this project through for a year. One of the main objectives is to be self-sustaining at the end of the grant year. Our members will be encouraged to get involved in the business of selling craft right from the start so that we can meet these objectives.We have an active core membership of 6 ladies in the Club at the moment with others dropping in and out due to commitments.

2. We Have More Creative Skills Than WeKnow. 19/11/13

Week one of our craft club was such an eye opener as after all the usual introductions, we made a list of all the creative skills we collectively had. These were people (me included) out to refine existing and find new skills.

Our first project was a Kris Kross beaded earring (see above) which proved to be a challenge. Eni finished hers first (though she did do a shorter version). As the facilitator for the club, my role is to encourage self -organisation, support the members and undertake some of the tutoring. The most important aspect for me is enabling peer to peer support. This came in very handy during this session. There was a lot of laughter as Vandana struggled with the drawn templates and I struggled with tangled threads. Next week, mixed media designed folders.

3. TeddyPig!! What would you callit? 27/11/13

Week 4 -The Teddies were donated by Christine’s mum who used recycled fabrics from curtains etc. to make them

Last session was probably the most entertaining one we’ve had so far. First of all, what is a TeddyPig? The dolls were donated by a kind lady who is supporting our “craft to enterprise” venture. We spent the three hours designing, selecting fabrics and starting to dress the teddies. The themes varied quite a lot from a Retro teddy by Kathleen, all dressed in blue but missing boots. Mine was a bit of a bad girl teddy. Watch this space next week by when we would have finished them. The one with the weave and false eyelashes is mine!!!

4.  And S.O This is wasChristmas 10/01/14

TeddyPigs at Christmas

This is where my real story begins. In one of my other blogs, (“TeddyPigs” to be precise), I mentioned that we ladies at the Craft Club were producing gift items for our mini Christmas sale at the Harrow Art Centre. No need to tell you what the theme was but each member was commissioned to produce some pieces. We had “Votives by Vandana”, “Resin Rings by Jayshree”, “Cinnamon Tree Decorations by Kathleen”, “Crafty Cards by Eni”, Beaded Snowmen by Ekky” and of course to crown it all, we had our TeddyPigs display.

Neomari Craft Club mini Xmas Sale

Our mini craft sale event took place at our last meeting for the year and was attended by visitors and staff at the Harrow Art Centre. We made a few sales which really boosted our confidence. It showed us that as a collective, we could also be enterprising.The amazing thing as well is how we all managed to come in on the day wearing red and black. It was totally unplanned.

5. Sock Friends (as tried and tested by Sew Inspired, ASCEND) 28/01/14

Jayshree’s Sock Friend on a mission

When I first saw the Sock Buddies that the ladies at the Sew Inspired Enterprise group had produced, I was smitten. They were the coolest things I’d ever seen made from socks. All of a sudden, I could see lots of possibilities for those forever single socks that come from my washing machine every week.

They say practise makes perfect. I believe that. Vandana, Tahera, Jayshree, Kathleen and I decided to follow the pattern with ribbons, buttons and beads to embellish them. There was more than enough wadding to stuff them like Xmas turkeys. So how they came out in various “interesting” forms, I don’t understand. I’m talking about over stuffed, under stuffed, very long bodies, very short bodies, one leg longer than the other, one leg thicker than the other.

6. Henna: Designed onTile 26/03/14

Yazmin Siddiqui, Make Up and Henna Artist.

As we started to work with the henna paste today, I couldn’t help but notice the lovely scent that filled the room. Apparently henna flowers have a strong smell that people either like or dislike. I liked.

Our session today was facilitated by Yazmin, one of the participants and a makeup and henna artist who has a background in art and fashion. We were very glad when she agreed to run this two day workshop. Most of the ladies have used henna before for weddings and celebrations but have always had it done by someone else.

Using the tube to design on tile

What Yazmin did show us was the different types of Henna pastes, the black, the tube and the cones. It was also very clear that with a steady hand, a pin (to clear the hole in the nozzle), and a creatively wandering mind, we could create near expert items as those shown. I, for one, was on a mission and was told countless times by Tahera that “less is best.” This is from the woman who enthusiastically transferred her new skills to a ceramic mug for her daughter. My hand got a royal Egyptian treatment.

Meanwhile, Vandana’s intricate designs were already on show on Facebook by the time I got home. This week we worked on tiles and card.