If you’ve ever turned out a few hundred Quality Street caramel noisette lookalikes and want to wrap them up like the real thing, or can’t find the 25 metres of extra strong bra elastic you need for that extra support, I now know just the place.
My mission, as Chief Out-Of-The-Box Strategist and Head of Left Field Thinking, tasked with designing and producing the winning entry in this year’s village scarecrow festival, was to find something crow-like. I’ll not reveal any more at this stage, as competition is fierce and scarecrow spies are everywhere, though they’re not too hard to spot as they leave a trail of straw.
The design concept relies on large-scale production, so Hobbycraft, always a pleasure to visit, but too dear by half, is out of the question. Even tax-dodging Amazon with its free delivery can’t offer me what I want. But it turns out that all I could possibly need plus much much more that I will need at some stage and hardly anything I won’t need at all, is right on my doorstep.
Scrap is one of those ‘oh my!’ places. Once you’ve negotiated the metal steps to the cavernous rooms in old factory buildings on Kirkstall Road, Leeds, and go through the door, all you can say is, ‘oh MY!’ Shelves, barrels, drums, hooks and rails are full of stuff. I have to use the word ‘stuff’ because everything is so random. Giant gold Christmas baubles, bandages and dressings still in their wrappers, spools from old reel-to-reel tape recorders, a barrel full of lenses, five miles of tarnished ‘happy baby’ giftwrap and reels of the afore-mentioned Quality Street wrapping and bra elastic. And somewhere in there was just what I was looking for.
This fabulous randomness makes Scrap the best play and certainly cheapest resource in the city. Companies who would previously have sent these treasures to the tip now give it to this wonderful social enterprise which, for a very reasonable price, provides materials which are used by schools, arts organisations and individuals to do their creative thing. They also run workshops and, when they’re not busy the volunteer staff do their own creative thing. Oh my!
Scrap is next door to Seagulls, another social enterprise with environmental values, which re-uses all those part cans of paint we have hanging around in our cellars. It’s a very green part of the city.
More will be revealed about the StripeyAnne scarecrow ‘Don’t Stone the Crows’ at the Calverley Scarecrow Festival in August. I think I may have to make a return trip to Scrap in the meantime, just in case I’ve missed anything…