• The Disruptive Designer

Joining Denby Dales Men's Shed Association

DDMS is: An organisation that provides woodworking and metal working facilities as well as promoting skills, hobbies and education to men over the age of 18 years. They also provide the opportunity for social interaction to people who are vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness.

Denby Dale And District Men's Shed Association's charitable objectives:

To promote social inclusion for the public benefit by preventing people, particularly but not exclusively men aged 18 or over, within denby dale and the surrounding area, from becoming socially excluded, relieving the needs of those people who are socIally excluded and assisting them to integrate into society through the provision of facilities in which they can meet to undertake creative, physical or recreational activities, learn or pass on skills and knowledge, and support each other socially. for the purpose of this clause 'socially excluded' means being excluded from society, or parts of society, as a result of one of more of the following factors: unemployment; financial hardship; youth or old age; ill health (physical or mental); substAnce abuse or dependency including alcohol and drugs; discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, ethnic origin, religion, belief, creed, sexual orientation or gender re-assignment; poor educational or skills attainment; relationship and fAmily breakdown; poor housing (that is housing that does not meet basic habitable standards); or crime (either as a victim of crime or as an offender rehabilitating into society).

Joining Men's Shed.

Men's shed is charity that is based 5 minutes from my house and provides access to workshop facilities typically associated with wood and metal work but also an abundance of knowledge and expertise through networking and social interaction of its members. According to Bob Barber (founder of the Denby Dale branch and ex Sheffield Hallam MA design course leader) they currently have about 30 members, ranging for 24 - 90 years old all with various skills and interest. Currently there are several ex engineers, joiners, designers, automotive repair specialists, shop fitters, electricians and general hobbyists. There is a leatherworker who is experimenting with moulding tan leather through the use of vac forming and a new group forming who are looking at rebuilding the first ever hand weaving loom. I estimate that collectively there is over 1000 years worth of experience handing different materials and processes within the current 30 members.

I approached joining mens shed as a place to explore the moulding potential of my research, focusing on the automotive modification angle and shape making. From my first day, everyone was keen to offer advice and support and I found that through the set up, there was no judgement or criticism on individuals projects and in fact everyone was happy just to play and see what happens, offering support and advice where appropriate.

I truly sensed a genuine community spirit, which was positive, infectious, welcoming, creative and above all fun.

Phil who was the workshop supervisor on the day I went in, spoke about:

- Skelmanthrope textile heritage centre:

- A metalwork artisan (Jason Heppenstall's) sculptor who uses discarded metal to create one off pieces (based in Clayton West 5 mins from me) recent project used thousands of Allen Keys to create a peregrine falcon, celebrating the opening of IKEA in Sheffield.

- A husband and Wife creative duo based in Clayton West old print studios, one is a textile designer and one a film maker.

- He also mentioned BBC - Money for Nothing are often in the area filming and have approached mens shed for future filming (He mentioned the joiner in the unit 2 down is one of the regular furniture artisans on the tv programme).

- Jay Blades is also a frequent visitor for his repair TV series - The Repair Shop and Money for Nothing.

Moving Forward:

Make contact with Jason Heppenstall - possible case study/collaboration

Continue to experiment with Mould and resins - Looking into Bio Resins, Convex moulding, latex and colourisation - Men's Shed

Make contact with car body repairers - Jessops- possible car wrapping and specialist moulding.

Looking into the creative duo and recreating the hand weaving loom at mens shed