Last month marked one year of the AMMA workshop being open, and this month saw us move into our new space and out of our little damp garage. We also welcomed some new members to the AMMA staff team, Veni, Kogila and our new workshop manager Meena, who has taken to the dyeing like a superstar and I couldn't be more thrilled.
Moving workshops has got me thinking about the importance of space, environment & workplace and how it effects our creativity and wellbeing. When we were in the damp garage I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible, setting up a dye space in my house to work from home in the afternoons. I found it impossible to think creatively in that space, I needed to turn up knowing exactly what we needed to achieve and if anything went wrong I had to step outside to try and find the solution. I noticed that I valued AMMA a lot less than was deserved, purely because I knew the reality of what daily work was like. Creating something beautiful within uninspiring walls is difficult
Our new workshop reflects where AMMA is at now. It has a dye room big enough to scale up our process and dry white walls to hang our samples on. Its a space which we look forward to holding classes in, and one where I can feel inspired and proud of. We have a sewing room, a cutting room and a room which we are renting out to our friends 'Cloud Forest' who run a mushroom growing social enterprise.
The damp garage was a humble beginning but knowing what we achieved in that space has got me fired up for what can be achieved in our new workshop. We've gone from squeezing past each other to each having a rooms fit for purpose. It means we can provide more jobs to women living on Sri Lanka's tea estates and I wait in anticipation for the day that the number of mama's in this space means we are squeezing past each other again.
Wellbeing and workspace are tightly woven, especially so in a creative business. Suddenly our A4 ruled attendance book looks a bit crap on our freshly painted walls, so I replaced it with a printed version. Our hastily put together storage unit looks unthoughtful and insufficient so when the funding comes in I'll replace it will wooden shelves. Its given me a good prod being in charge of creating a space worthy of reflecting AMMA and I've realized its a welcome challenge.