Gaia’s Harvest: Recipes + More!

On Saturday, we donned our raincoats and wellies and headed down to the Old Print Works in Balsall Heath to celebrate Gaia’s Harvest in the rain!

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Over the past six months or so, the community garden has been transformed from a neglected courtyard to a blossoming garden bursting with an abundance of fruit, veggies and useful plants, planted and nurtured by an amazing team of dedicated volunteers since it’s opening back in May.

 

Despite the *very* wet weather on Saturday (it wouldn’t be England if it didn’t chuck it down, would it?!) we had an awesome day celebrating the changing seasons and everything that the team have achieved in the garden, using the home grown produce to create an incredible community feast.

 

On the menu of tasty treats rustled up on the day were pudina pickle potatoes, pea and parsley soup, lentil and marrow bake, vegan pesto pasta bake, and cheese, chive and sweetcorn and muffins, to name just a few, and all washed down with our homemade raspberry and rhubarb squash – yum!

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If you fancy having a go at the delicious dishes we made on Saturday, check out the recipes we followed below!

 

Pudina Pickle Potatoes. – This pickle is a great way to use loads of mint, which grows like wildfire in Gaia’s Garden, and is really great for your digestion. You can use it as a curry paste and cook up meat or fish in it, although we went for some home grown potatoes. To tone down the flavour if it’s too strong for you, add a tin of coconut milk when simmering the curry down. Delicious!

Pea and Parsley Soup – A classic bit of Nigel Slater! Just remember not to let the soup boil – if you heat it more gently you’ll preserve more of the nutrients. Parlsey is high in vitamins A, C and K, and it’s really easy to grow, so get some in your diet!

Lentil and Marrow Bake – We made a veggie version of this, but you can see why bacon would really complement the mild flavour of marrow.

Cheese, Chive and sweetcorn muffins – Using Gaia’s Garden homegrown sweetcorn and chives, these are a yummy savoury breakfast treat, and really easy to make.

 

Amongst the other dishes served up, we threw together a really simple vegan pesto, with rocket and sorrel from the garden, along with olive oil, cashew nuts, salt, pepper and some lemon juice to loosen it up. We combined this with tomatoes, sweetcorn and runner beans, all from the harvest, along with some penne pasta.
And to wash it all down, we also made raspberry and rhubarb squash, simply by simmering loads of these fruits up with sugar to taste, then straining it. Just add water, ice and a cheeky slice of lemon and you are good to go! So refreshing!

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A huge thank you to everyone who came along to visit us on the day, Tessa Lowe for the tea runs, Ria Moeyens for all of the delicious breads and energy bars, and Elaine Ring for the chocolate cornflake cakes! AND, of course, thank you to all of the volunteers who have popped along over the last six months to get your fingers green in Gaia’s Garden! Whether you came by just once or twice or got involved every week – we couldn’t have transformed the garden in to the beautiful, blossoming space without you all!

Old Print Works Open Day

It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend at the Old Print Works! Not only have we got Gaia’s Harvest to look forward to on Saturday 10th September (find out more about that here) but it just so happens to be Old Print Works Open Day, too! Amongst the programme of activity, all of this week MAK! studio have been holding a Makers Workshops to build two new bars for the Old Print Works, and members of the community have got involved to help out! On Saturday, there will be film screenings, live music, DJ’s and street art from 2pm – 10pm, and of course, a delicious homegrown feast courtesy of the green-fingered folk at Gaia’s Garden! Not familiar with the Old Print Works? We asked the team there a few questions to find out more…

-What is the Old Print Works?

The Old Print Works is an old factory on the Moseley Road in Birmingham that used to design and print transfers for branding items from steam engines to tennis rackets as well as many others in Britain’s then large manufacturing industry, instrumental in introducing colour into branding in the UK. The Old Print Works is now a thriving maker and creative community.

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-What is the Old Print Works mission?

We are a diverse and welcoming community that believes in the transformative power of making and creativity. Through mutual skill sharing we are building a resilient, sustainable and cooperative future. The Old Print Works is run by a charitable company, Make It Sustainable, with collaboration from diverse partners.

What sort of events and activities is the Old Print Works home to?

We host makers and artists in studios and workshops; we act as a platform for community-focused groups such as Sundragon Pottery and Ort Gallery. We host the amazing Ort Café and a range of events from music, theatre to art.

How does the Old Print Works benefit and work with the local community?

We host community-focused partners and events, providing opportunities and spaces for collaboration. We have shared makerspaces where local people get the chance to be creative, explore materials and processes and learn new skills.

How does this tie in with Brum Spirit’s theme of We’re In This Together? We share a value of inclusion.  We want to make a difference to our local community.  We believe everyone has something to learn and something to teach.  A sharing community is a stronger, better and more welcoming community.

What other community events has the Old Print Works been involved in?

The Old Print Works is a platform for people to make things happen; an enabler and a safe haven for makers, artists and musicians to engage with the local and wider community.  We have hosted open days, taster sessions, and celebrations and are regularly open to the community for a variety of activities.

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What does the future hold for the Old Print Works?

The Old Print Works is going from strength to strength, in partnership with a strong and growing community of creatives that share our vision.  Purchase of our building will cement our business model and our sustainability largely without grant support.

-Where can we find out more about the Old Print Works?

Take a look at our website www.oldprintworks.org.

Head to their Facebook event page here for more on the Open Day.

Gaia’s Harvest at Old Print Works

The Great British Summer Time is drawing to an end, and to celebrate the changing of season, Gaia’s Garden at the Old Print Works is holding a community harvest – and we’re all invited to join them!

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As many of you know, Gaia’s Garden is a community green space tucked away in the courtyard of the Old Print Works. Over the last six months or so, an amazing group of volunteers and local residents have worked incredibly hard each week to transform the once disused area into a thriving garden, planting, nurturing and tending to a whole host of useful plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

 

Gaia’s Harvest, which will take place on Saturday 10th September from 10am-3pm, will see an abundance of organic, homegrown fruit and veg gathered from the garden and prepared into a huge community feast for us all to enjoy! Sounds delicious!

 

As part of the feast, please feel free to bring your own contributions, dishes and ingredients from your backyard or allotment to share…the more the merrier (and yummier!).

 

As well as there being lots of tasty treats on offer, the harvest will be a fantastic opportunity to come together, meet our green fingered community and check out what’s been going on in the space throughout the Summer months.

 

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The team will also be collecting non-perishable goods for Sparkhill Food Bank, so please do bring along any donations that you may have on the day.

 

Everyone is welcome to join the harvest celebration, so come along and join us at Gaia’s Harvest on Saturday 10th September!

 

You can find out more here.

Save Our Print Works

This year, Brum Spirit celebrates the power of combining forces, to make lasting and positive change on our doorsteps.

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From brightening up grey urban spaces with yummy fruit, veg, useful plants and wild flowers through Gaia’s Garden, to throwing family friendly celebrations in forgotten buildings, we’re all about championing what can be achieved when we’re in this together.
As part of this celebration, we’re championing the Old Print Works Unit Partners, in their campaign to ensure the future of this vibrant creative hub in the heart of Balsall Heath.

This group of very talented craftspeople, arts educators and community activists enliven this 30,000 sq ft ex factory building with industry, activities and events that focus on hand made skills and wellbeing. From ceramics to yoga, metalwork to photography, upcycling to fashion design, there’s a real buzz behind that huge factory frontage, right opposite Moseley Road Baths and next door to Moseley School of Art.

Not forgetting Ort Cafe of course – a welcoming and cozy community space where you can enjoy home made cakes, live music of all kinds, spoken word, neighbourhood meet ups and language classes.

Faced with an uncertain future, the Unit Partners are rallying together, so this Grade 2 listed community arts venue can be restored and maintained for the benefit of Balsall Heath residents and visitors, for years to come.

Things are moving quite quickly, and there will be plenty of ways for you to get involved along the way. Just this week, we heard the awesome news that Arts Council England have granted an amazing £100k to help secure the future of the Old Print Works! You can read more about this latest development here.

Look out for more updates on the Save Our Print Works campaign, and get involved – this place is meant for everyone – we’re in this together!

Cafe Forro at Ort Cafe

After this Saturday’s Brum Spirit celebrations, the party continues next door at Ort Cafe, with live music and Brazilian fun from 9pm at Cafe Forro! We asked the Cafe Forro team a few questions to find out more about to expect…

 

Cafe Forro

What is Café Forro?

 

Café Forró is music and dance project based at Ort, the Old Print Works, which celebrates and shares forró, the music and dance style from the North East of Brazil.

Forró has taken Europe by storm in recent years; it’s a very happy style of folk music and forrozeiros (the term for forro fans) dance ‘coladinho’ (very close) meaning that people become quite quickly addicted.

We give weekly dance classes for beginners to intermediates; organise monthly forró parties, usually with our resident band, Forrobamba and sell Brazilian homemade food. This Saturday, the accordionist Junior Dias will be playing with two members of Forrobamba, Guilhermino Ramos (Triangle and Vocals) and Cassio Matheus (Zambumba).

 

What does Café Forro aim to do?

 

Café Forró aims to spread forró culture, music and dance in the West Midlands by bringing people from all backgrounds and walks of life together to have a great time.

 

Why is Café Forro helping to save the Old Print Works?

 

We are attracting new people to the Old Print Works who previously had never been. Many of our forrozeiros come from elsewhere in Birmingham, so this really helps to spread the word about Ort, the Old Print Works and the cause.

 

What does the Old Print Works mean to you?

 

When we think of the Old Print Works, we think of Ort Cafe. It’s a great community hub and we feel privileged to be able to bring forro to such a vibrant, varied and open minded Cafe/Venue. It’s an asset to and reflects its diverse community.

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How does Café Forro tie in with Brum Spirit’s theme of We’re In This Together?

 

One of the great things about forró culture is that it is very inclusive. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your level of dance or social background is – everyone is welcome.

 

Who can get involved with Café Forro?

 

Anyone! (See above)

 

Where can we find out more about Café Forro?

 

Check out the Facebook page here or come along to one of our weekly classes on Tuesdays at Ort, 7:30pm.

Meet the Artists: Rebecca Belcher

Bringing their craft workshops and exhibitions to Brum Spirit ’16, Made Welcome will be showcasing the amazing work they do for Birmingham’s refugees from 10am on Saturday 23rd July. Ahead of the weekends cultural celebration, we had a chat with another of the seriously talented artists running Made Welcome workshops at the Old Print Works, Becky Belcher…

 

Name: Becky Belcher

Workshop: Sun Dragon Pottery

 

What is your occupation?

Ceramic Artist

 

What medium do you work in?

Clay

 

What does Made Welcome mean to you?

An opportunity to meet a diverse mix of people from all over the world. After the first session I had met so many people from all over the world, it’s an amazing experience. For the participants, I think it it gives them an opportunity to get involved, to meet other people in a similar situation. Particularly the mothers, and talking about legislation and what happens when their children turn 18, it’s a place to share knowledge and experience.

 

What do you cover in your workshop?

We covered all sorts, from the beginnings of playing with clay to pot making. We are making pots, and a few people tried the potters wheel, some have painted their finished articles. It’s been really lovely have been painting vases, with many using colours from their culture. We have faced challenges with the time frame and having to incorporate the process. We give them space to combat the negative messages in the media and concentrate on things that are beautiful and useful.

 

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Birmingham?

I’ve lived here most my life.

 

What inspires you as an artist?

Personally, the microscopic and the microcosm, patterns in nature and microscopic images of virus.

 

How did you find out about Made Welcome?

Through Tessa Burwood, and being a part of the Old Print Works community.

 

Why did you want to get involved with Made Welcome?

I believe in it, and what it wants to achieve. I don’t watch the news, as I am aware that it is mainly a propaganda vehicle, and I cant listen to anymore negative and ignorance towards asylum seekers.No one talks about what we have in common, its only our differences pointed out. I want to talk about what we have in common.

 

What skills do you hope to teach the participants?

Well not just working with clay! The whole idea of self reliance, that if you need something you make it or trade for it. If you want to start selling something then you can make something and sell it. And that their are support networks open to them.

 

How have you found participants have received the workshops so far?

Some people are really enjoying it, but some find it dirty, although they are all really proud of what they have made.

 

How has Made Welcome benefited you as an artist and personally?

It’s reinforced things that I already thought…people have a genuine reason for being here, and we should make them feel welcome, not punish them. We are all human beings

 

How can we find out more about your art?

The Pottery have Facebook, Instagram and a blog. You can find out more about the workshop here.

 

Check out Becky chatting more about Made Welcome on Big Centre TV!

Meet The Artists: Melanie Berman

Another awesome project has come to The Old Print Works, making us proud once again of our fine city! Made Welcome is a series of workshops run by a group of passionate, skilled and hardworking creatives from right here in Birmingham, which has set out to equip and empower the refugees of the city with a whole range of useful, creative life skills. So without further ado, let’s shine a spotlight on our first featured artist, the incredibly talented Mel…

 

Name: Melanie Berman

Workshop: Embossed book covers, covered metal boxes and mixed media mirror frames

 

What is your occupation?

Artist/ Carer/ After school care assistant

 

What medium do you work in?

Pewter sheeting, paint, fabric, and paper.

 

What does Made Welcome mean to you?

I gain pleasure from giving ability and knowledge to people who think that they ‘can’t’….. Giving empowerment to people of all backgrounds and abilities and working with people who derive pleasure in seeing a beautiful end result.

 

What do you cover in your workshop?

I teach the fundamentals of metal embossing and how it can be used to adorn everyday items.

 

Where are you from? How long have you lived in Birmingham?

I’m from Cape Town, South Africa, but I’ve lived here for 22 years.

 

What inspires you as an artist?

African art, nature, embossed silver books and old buildings.

 

How did you find out about Made Welcome?

Through being at the Old Printworks..and through Tessa!

 

Why did you want to get involved with Made Welcome?

I enjoy delivering workshops and working with people form different backgrounds, and Made Welcome seemed like an especially worthy cause.

 

How do you think Made Welcome will benefit the participants?

I think it will give them the empowerment to use the skills they have learnt to start something of their own one day, maybe!

 

What skills do you hope to teach the participants?

How to emboss metal sheeting and how to use it to enhance everyday items. Also to give ideas on how to make one’s own items, for their own homes/uses.

 

How have you found participants have received the workshops so far?

All participants have enjoyed the course!

 

How has Made Welcome benefited you as an artist and personally?

Teaching adults has given me a different perspective on the way I usually teach – I am used to doing children’s workshops!

 

Have you previously worked on any similar community projects?

Yes, in South Africa, but with children as opposed to adults.

 

Has Made Welcome made you want to get more involved in similar community projects?

Yes!

 

How can we find out more about your art?

I am currently not on a website, but as soon as I have broadened my horizons, I will be on Facebook under ‘Chameleon Crafts’

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You can check out more from Made Welcome on Facebook here.

Made Welcome

Gaia’s Garden is Open!

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On Saturday, we unveiled Gaia’s Garden at the Old Print Works at the official Launch Day, and it was a huge success!

It was awesome to see so many smiley faces come down to check out the new space, meet new people, enjoy the food and music, and of course, do a bit of gardening!! The site is already really starting to take shape, and we can’t wait to see it develop and transform into a thriving garden for the whole community to enjoy over the coming weeks and months.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the Gaia’s Garden volunteers for their hard work and much-needed donations which will help the garden grow, and give an especially big shout out to Ciaran from the Old Crowne and Jamie Begg at Seed Furniture for the pallets, Luca Pau for building the beds, Jenna from Ort Cafe for the delicious food, Hoakser for the sign and for digging a tonne of soil, Balsall Heath Forum and Martineau Gardens for the plant supply, Dan Burwood and Darryl Georgiu, DJ Silence and Onira for the soundtrack, and finally, a massive thank you to Grow Wild and the Old Print Works!

Gaia’s Garden will now be open every Saturday for local residents to use and enjoy, so come along and get involved. It’s a great way to get some fresh air, meet new people, and make a positive difference in our community, and you don’t even need to be an expert gardener! The space will be open from 10am-3pm, so please invite your friends, family and neighbours, or come alone and make new friends, whilst getting your fingers green!

You can check out some photos from the Launch Day below, and remember to give us a like on Facebook here for all the latest Gaia’s Garden info.

Q & A With Sophie Handy

We caught up with Sophie Handy, the founder of Crafty Business, and Muzikstan torchbearer  ahead of this Saturdays Mid Summer Muzikstan edition.sophie handy

Name: Sophie Handy

Occupation: Community Artist, Organiser at Muzikstan.

From: Shropshire

Live: Birmingham

Q) Tell us about Muzikstan, what’s your involvement? 

We were living at The Old Print Works when Zirak started Muzikstan in the Directors Lounge in March 2012, he was organizing some amazing acts literally in our living room. He started talking about doing a festival in the August and encouraged us to get involved and we have been ever since. The festival was a huge success and a turning point as the growing crowd were no longer going to fit in the lounge.

When Zirak left Birmingham in the November we took the torch and been rolling with it ever since. Muzikstan is a collective of musicians and music lovers alike and with a love for live music so prominent in Birmingham- it has been a pleasure to host such an eclectic range of gigs.

Q) What can people expect from Muzikstan?

After two years of biweekly live music nights we have been focusing our energies on bigger events, continuing to bring people together through a mutual appreciation of great music. More of the same- plus I think it’s about time we got the big orange tent out again!

Q) What made you decide on the lineup/outline of the day?

 

The lineup for this event was a collection of decisions as we are working with Brum Spirit, Birmingham Promoters and Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham (CSB). We have done a couple of events with CSB before and love the acts they support so making our selection was easy- Kadialy Kouyate sounds amazing and we are delighted he and his band can join us. The Dirty Old Folkers are local champions and likewise we were really chuffed to see them confirmed. Muzikstan has always been about that mixture of cultures and sounds and this really is a treat for us. Mama Matrix played at our Christmas party in 2012 and Daz and Anne are ace, the Voices Together Community Choir seems to resonate the vibe of collaboration and making music accessible so again- top result thanks to Brum Spirit. The Mistakings are fresh and soulful and I think will go down a storm, I just caught the last chord of Tom Peel at Lunar Festival, but judging by the expressions on everyone’s faces, I think we could be up for a few smiles.

Q) Why The Old Print Works?

This is where it all began and we love making it look like home! The space is better than a blank canvas- it has a great vibe and easily takes on every colour we can throw at it. It has the openness of a warehouse so you can get a good crowd in with lots of room to dance and it still feels intimate.

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The music scene in Birmingham is phenomenal. There is so much talent about we are very very lucky.

Q) The worst?

There’s so much to do, I don’t have time to leave!

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Round the fire at Muzikstan!

Q) What one thing would you change about the city? 

If everyone had shoes like Dorothy then we wouldn’t need cars!

Q) Favourite Brummie saying?

Not sure I’ve been here long enough…

Q) What is Brum Spirit? What does it mean to you?

I think Brum Spirit is the amalgamation of good energies that occur when people are having an excellent time together, whether it’s at a gig, in your friend’s back garden, wherever- the reason it has a name is because in Birmingham this happens a lot. There are so many good people about- the vibe is always hearty.

Q) What has happened recently that gave you Brum Spirit?

Watching the lead singer from Polyphonic Spree stop mid-set at Lunar Festival to give a special thank you to the man from the “Meat Shack” burger van for giving him his last burger- having just lovingly prepared it for himself!

Q) Tell us about your creative goals for the next year, what do you have bubbling away? 

To get Crafty Business established- I’d like to support local artists including myself, to sustain a regular program of arts and crafts workshops which are accessible to local people. Providing the opportunity for people to be creative, try new things and inspire each other.  I’d also like to paint a mural at The Old Print Works, make some wacky lighting sculptures and I’d like have a go at some stained glass work.  Last but not least, do more jam sessions!

Q&A With Dan Burwood

We were lucky enough to catch up with the very talented Dan Burwood, who co-runs Some Cities – the city-wide photography social project and  The Darkroom, based in The Old Print Works – take a little look at all the great things Some Cities will be bringing to Muzikstan this Saturday!

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Name: Dan Burwood

Occupation: Photographer / Some Cities Director / Teacher

From: Swansea/ Aylesbury

Live: Brum / on the canal in a boat

Tell us about Muzikstan?

It’s a movement of music transcending borders and boundries / one of the first cultural events to make good and consistent use of the Old Print Works space. It’s a great, friendly night out.

Q) What’s your involvement in Muzikstan? 

I’m running photography workshops and making Instant-ish portraits

Q) What can people expect from Muzikstan?

A wide range of good vibes, interesting and creative activities, varied grass roots music and great people of all ages.

Q) What made you decide on the lineup/outline of the day?

I have a studio/ project space at the OPW; The Instant-ish photography workshop I run is a great intro into analogue photography, it’s fun and a bit of a spectacle to boot. You can turn around an analogue portrait in ten minutes, using a 1940s camera and 100 year old technology.

Q) Why The Old Print Works?

The Darkroom found a natural home here; there were darkrooms here before for the processes used to make the decals and transfers Butchers Printed Products designed and printed for the trades of the city and beyond. I’ve repurposed some of the kit and one of the original spaces to create a community photography resource specialising in analogue process, one of the few left in the UK.

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The accents of the people who live here; the diversity and the unexpected discoveries. The cultural heritage: Balsall Heath was an important centre for Surrealism; Steel Pulse and Black Sabbath.. what more could you ask for?

Q) The worst?

The constant – if diminishing – need for certain spokespeople for the city to apologise for it and compare it to other places. All this world city shit. It just is itself alright get the fuck over it!

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Dad’s lane allotments / Icknield Port canal loop on a misty November evening / The Lamp Tavern

Q) What one thing would you change about the city?

Add a proper river

Q) Favourite Brummie saying?

Everything anyone says

Q) What is Brum Spirit? What does it mean to you?

It’s the roots, the counterculture, the number 11…

Q) What has happened recently that gave you Brum Spirit?

Photographing The Feast Project’s inaugural awards ceremony in the Council House

Q) Tell us about your creative goals for the next year, what do you have bubbling away?

Big plans for long form photographic commissions, international exchanges and residencies through the Some Cities site, and collaborations with various institutions…