Imagine taking your campervan right inside the inner sanctum of a very famous museum. Wouldn't it be something of an adventure? A rarity? An outright impossibility? Take a look at the pictures below. I know it might seem hard to believe, but there is Bambi - aka The Mobile Makery - looking very much part of the scene at The Imperial War Museum in Salford! But what were we doing there?
At the moment, IWM North is showing Fashion on the Ration. I saw the exhibition twice down in London and was really impressed. It's all about street style during WWII and how innovative and thrifty women in particular proved to be when it came to devising a wardrobe that was smart, attractive and functional at a time of austerity and rationing. Make-do and mend was the order of the day back then and being something of a modern make-do and mender myself, I was invited to offer a thrifty creative workshop to visitors. Not only that, but Bambi - my upcycled craft studio on wheels, was to be a star of the show for a special weekend at the start of June.
It was incredible to see peoples' reactions to Bambi. Many of the visitors couldn't quite understand what a campervan was doing at IWM. I had to explain the link between modern upcycling and the wartime ethos of make-do and mend. But once people got it - they were hooked - hopping on board to have a look at Bambi's upcycled interior and decorative touches. Two teenage girls couldn't quite believe that I really DO travel around in Bambi putting on creative pop-up workshops and speaking about how to make beautiful stuff out of throwaway trash!
My take on this for the museum was to offer workshops turning old T-shirts into turbans - the sort of headwear that was worn by the women working in the munitions factories during the Second World War. I think it's fair to say that some of the ladies who came along are now ADDICTED to turbans!
My weekend at the museum was over all too quickly. Staff had really taken to Bambi - who'd almost become a living character in their eyes! Bambi often has this affect on people.
Special thanks to all the museum staff and to our lovely mechanic who had to drain Bambi of petrol, take out the gas cyclinder and battery and put everything back again perfectly so that we could drive back to Scotland without a hitch!
Do go and see Fashion on the Ration at IWM North. It's on until May 2017. Also accompanying the exhibition is a marvellous book of the same name by author Julie Summers and if you want to make your own thrifty and stylish turban, you'll find it in my book Chic on a Shoestring.