Independent yarn shop and weaving studio Coorie Creative has opened in the Thistles.
Coorie Creative CIC is a social enterprise which uses the therapeutic art of weaving to support those who have experienced trauma, loss and social isolation. The workshops, which include tartan scarf weaving and knitting, run alongside a shop where people can buy a wide range of yarns and equipment for knitting, crochet and weaving.
Coorie Creative was set up by Mairi Breslin, a former trauma psychologist, nearly three years ago and has been based in several locations before moving to its current home at the Marches end of the Thistles. The enterprise opened on August 21 this year following a major transformation of the 4,000 square feet unit, next to Primark, which was previously a restaurant and the base for a Christmas Market.
Mairi says: “We are thrilled with our new home in the Thistles and our space provides the ideal spot for people to discover weaving and the numerous benefits that come alongside the craft.
Being situated right next to public transport with fully accessible entrances, means the Thistles is an ideal place for us to set up shop and get to work. And after the challenges of the past 18 months and hosting our workshops over Zoom, we’re excited to return to running our in-person workshops offering people from Stirling and beyond the chance to come along, relax, and learn a new skill.”
Mairi started the enterprise after finding that weaving and other creative activities helped her to deal with management of a chronic pain condition, stress and trauma issues.
She wanted others to experience the same benefits and had the idea of creating a space where those suffering from trauma or loss could come along, relax and take part in something creative. And at the same time as helping themselves, they could perhaps create something practical for others who were suffering in a different way – for example making blankets or hats for premature babies.
In 2019, Mairi launched a Crowdfunding appeal hoping to raise funds to buy the weaving looms and materials she needed to put her ideas into practice. And she was delighted to massively surpass her target.
She says: “I wanted to see if this was something that other people would be interested in and started a Crowdfunder with a goal of £3K and actually got £9K which was amazing. It meant we were able to buy looms and yarns to get started and also told me that other people thought this was a good idea – that it could work.”
Mairi began by running an exhibition and workshops in King Street’s Made in Stirling creative hub before moving to a unit at Stirling Enterprise Park (STEP). During lockdown, Coorie Creative offered online workshops as well as selling project kits and once restrictions eased, Mairi began searching for the perfect space which would allow the organisation to gain an income stream from a shop whilst also running workshops.
The workshops are open to all and the commercial arm of the venture helps fund the social enterprise aspect which offers free workshops to support people at risk of social isolation and those who have experienced trauma and loss.
Mairi says she couldn’t believe her luck when she was offered a large unit in the Thistles by Centre Manager Gary Turnbull. She says: “The space had been empty for four years and needed a lot of work to make it look good. We were delighted and couldn’t believe our luck when we were offered the unit as it is the perfect space for us with huge windows and views out to the Wallace Monument.
We had lots of volunteers in working to transform the space and now it looks amazing with the yarn store at the front as you come in and the workshop area further back. We’re now the largest weaving facility and shop in Scotland and we sell products from independent makers and independent dyers with nearly everything made or manufactured in Scotland.”
The shop sells a range of yarns, looms, weaving equipment and accessories, project kits and books while the workshops include `Weave a Tartan Scarf in a Day’ and ‘Taster Weaving Sessions.’
More details of the products and workshops are available on the website – www.coorie-creative.co.uk – or by dropping into the store. The enterprise, which is run by eight members of staff and eight volunteers, is open daily and business has been brisk since opening day.
Mairi says: “Footfall has been gradually increasing and we’ve been getting very positive feedback. We’re so grateful to Gary and his team for helping us get started and find our new home and the Thistles staff have all been so welcoming to us.”
Coorie Creative is open from 9am until 5.30pm Monday to Wednesday and from 9am until 7pm on Thursdays. Friday opening hours are from 9am until 5.30pm while at the weekend, the store is open from 9am until 6pm on Saturdays and from 10am until 5pm on Sundays.