Building a Creative Community
New Toowoomba-based creative space, Tinker is set to offer art and craft workshops to all ages, as well as being a space other creatives can hire to run their own classes. It's a place to learn, create and connect. Founded and run by local Toowoomba Artist, Alex Stalling; you will be uplifted by her humble and passionate spirit. Alex is an expert in her field; she is also the founder of Deer & Fox and is a photographer specialising in child and family portraits.
When did you decide to act on your idea for Tinker and what research/planning went into making this a reality? ~ I feel like this should be some professional advice for others that may want to follow in my footsteps, but unfortunately it isn't. It was one of those situations of timing, I had been teaching art previously and I always knew at some point I wanted to open my own space that could grow with the needs of the local creative & craft community. The space that is now Tinker popped up on my radar one day and it was an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up on. I had made up my mind, a super rough napkin style budget that needed to be met that was achieveable and I just kinda jumped. The whole time telling myself it would work out, I would work it out as long as it covered the running costs I could build it into something stable for when my youngest started school in 2020. So almost zero planning.
Did you have a marketing plan you devised? ~ All advertising was through free platforms; I asked others to help contribute. I do have a kick arse communiy of small business wizards and beautiful friends. Social media was my only marketing plan and the hopes that my professional network was still intact during my maternity leave.
How are you juggling both Tinker and Deer & Fox? ~ I have run many projects/business along side eachother. This was probably my only real planning side of launching Tinker and it was not nearly as much as I would normally have done. It was completed in a weekend. I took a bunch of product photos, scheduled posts, made sure I had enough stock to fill a stall when needed and I pretty much automated Deer & Fox for the first two months of starting up Tinker. Luckily it worked. Now I have set times (a mental timetable) I have time for Tinker, Deer & Fox, my own art, photography sessions, family, friends and me. That last one is important as it is a very real possibility to be over doing it. Each night computers, phones and business goes away, the kids go to bed and me and the boy watch a show, chat, and often sneakily order some sort of treat/date night food. Ok that last one happens 1-2 times a week cause you know; budget and hips.
How are the workshops being received and what seems to be most popular? ~ Honestly the response blew me away I was working off the minimum needed to cover just running costs. I went from excited to nervous fear to overwhelmed panic to finding the right time to put on my business pants. Workshops are still in high demand, the one that surprised me the most was the adult watercolour sessions. It thrills me to see how adults are so interested in the arts, this is a huge change from when I was running workshops three years ago.
What workshops do you offer? ~ I personally offer regular art classes for kinder, primary, secondary and adults as well as pop-up workshops and holiday sessions. Tinker itself is also a space for hire and has already been snapped up my soapers, sewers and other artists to run their own creative sessions.
How can people find out more and get in touch? ~ All the information is available at our website www.tinkertoowoomba.com. For social fun snaps and on-the-go information head to www.facebook.com/tinkertoowoomba
What do you love most about teaching art? ~ My style of teaching is all about finding ones individual style. I teach techniques and let the individual find out their own groove when applying them. Watching someone profess that they cannot draw a stick figure, but they have always wanted to be able to and than three hours later they walk out with an original artwork that is better than they expected and ready to be hung is why I do it.
What are Tinker's goals for the next 12 months? ~ Probably to find a routine, at the moment it is a lot of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. But there will definitely be something new or different to what is happening right now. I get bored easy and so my workspace often evolves rapidly accordingly.