With the weather getting warmer and spring now a reality, what could be better than soaking up the Valencian sunshine in Turia Gardens? Boasting nine kilometres of green park space, Turia Gardens is a charming park with a plethora of activities and opportunities to enjoy in a beautiful natural setting. There are plenty of yoga clubs, dance groups and fitness fanatics in the park, but when Rachel Adams created her project ‘The Craft Garden’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was doing something new. With passion and heart at the centre of Rachel’s vision, the project has since flourished in ways she could not have foreseen.‘The Craft Garden’ is an initiative that is focused on building community and connection through art in the park. Bringing together the people of Valencia and welcoming all levels and abilities, the group offers language-exchange opportunities and community-building events in the great outdoors. Often taking place on Sunday mornings, the activities range from mosaic making to tile painting, embroidery to macramé wall hangings and seasonal crafts such as Christmas wreath making and printed cards. There is something for everyone at ‘The Craft Garden’. A member of the ‘24/7 Valencia’ team spoke with Rachel Adams to discuss the origins of the project and her hopes for the future. Read on to find out more…
24/7 Valencia: What was the idea behind The Craft Garden? What did you hope to achieve?
Rachel: During the 2020 lockdown I finally had time to delve deeper into my creative side in between teaching English online and watching The Tiger King. Honestly, it saved me during that period…and I realised I had a true passion. That gave me a vision of bringing crafts to the people! When I first started out with this project, I honestly had no idea where it would take me. As it wasn’t something concrete like yoga, or dance it was hard to imagine how it would evolve, I would just describe to friends that I wanted to start some kind of creative community. I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring that to light, until suddenly ‘Art in the Park’ just popped into my head! Although I didn’t have everything completely clear from the start, my main goal was bringing people together through creating and crafting.
24/7 Valencia: How important do you think a sense of community is in an activity like this?
Rachel: It can be so lonely moving to a new country or town, and I think that’s why my events have appealed so much to an international audience. Bar crawls and partying are a great way to meet people, but that’s not for everyone. The events are just as much for people who want to connect and meet like-minded friends in a wholesome setting, as they are for someone who wants to completely disconnect and go into a quiet little craft bubble for a few hours. I always try to emphasise that my events are about coming together, meeting people, taking time for yourself, enjoying the sunshine, letting go and trying something new.
24/7 Valencia: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Rachel: For me the greatest moments are seeing the events in full flow. After all the work of advertising, planning a craft, trying examples, buying and sourcing the materials, checking the weather hourly…packing up the van (usually with baby and dog too)…setting everything up in the park, making sure everyone has all the info and finds us…it’s the best feeling when I can finally take a step back and look at all the happy faces enjoying the activity. I’ve always loved bringing people together, I think it’s one of my favourite things in life.
24/7 Valencia: I understand you’re taking a break from ‘The Craft Garden’ since the arrival of your little one. Now the weather is starting to improve, are you thinking of starting up again soon?
Rachel: I’m on it! I had a busy few months of events before Christmas, and managed to set up a new event, ‘Baby Messy Play’, which was a great success! Now the spring is here, I’m working on getting things up and running again.
24/7 Valencia: What are your hopes for the future of The Craft Garden?
Rachel: A long-term goal is to have my own fixed indoor space and turn it into a kind of craft café with regular activities for all ages. I’d like to think I’d always do the activities in the park though. I love that people can come on a drop-in basis, bring whoever they like, and of course enjoy the gorgeous park setting.
24/7 Valencia: So, what are you waiting for? Come join the fun and contact ‘The Craft Garden’ today to register for your first session. You will be welcomed by the lovely Rachel and, if you’re lucky enough, her adorable dog Enzo! There is no doubt that after going once, you will want to go back so don’t forget to ask for your loyalty card and collect stamps at every event. After attending three sessions, you will receive a tote bag handprinted with a stamp designed and carved by Rachel. What’s not to love!? See you in the park!
Interview by Imogen Hockings
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
Photo: ‘The Craft Garden’
Location: Turia Gardens, Valencia
Contact Rachel Adams for more information
Tlf. +34 693712867