"They gave me a chance when others have not and being involved with people who are on the same wavelength can give one a sense of belonging. Funky Aardvark people are a family and deserve a home where they can continue to be creative and inspire others to do the same." D. Keates Attic Aardvark since 2014
"Being involved in Funky Aardvark is a great help to someone such as me who has suffered from long term anxiety and depression. My confidence has increased - in my abilities as an artist but also socially. It has given me a reason to create and art is a therapy in itself." S. Jones, Aardvark since October 2013
Funky Aardvark – Freedom for Creativity.
"As a member of Funky Aardvark for just over seven months my life has changed considerably: Originally trained in Fine Art I had been lost in the world of motherhood and the everyday business of getting by until I heard about this group of artists/makers who ran a shop, gallery and workshop in Chester. I paid a shy visit to the shop one day and was pleasantly surprised to find an unpretentious and friendly place where you could see original artwork sitting alongside craft in the galleries and shop, whilst being able to purchase individual quirky pieces at affordable prices.
Funky Aardvark is brilliant. Just what, every artist out there in the real world, needs. The project is inspirational with a wonderfully motivated leadership. I haven’t had as fun as a creative person since before starting school. The chief Aardvarks have such enthusiasm and self-belief it is infectious and refreshing.
As an artist/maker I now feel free to make art or “stuff” exactly as I please; no pressure to please a tutor or gallery or publisher. Funky Aardvark is non-judgemental. It has taken away the need to be the self-obsessed and self-analysing artist that is so often the result of a fine art training. I feel I have escaped being tucked into a neat pigeon hole and am free to try and make money in order to support my art practice.
Funky Aardvark encourages experimentation with both media and all aspects of art/making practice. They are non-judgemental and inspire you to have FUN with making. Providing opportunities to show what you do to every sort of audience, not just the elite art establishment. The themed exhibitions keep me motivated and rethinking my art practice. They also encourage me to take stock of where I am and to regularly finalise pieces which might otherwise never come to anything in a physical form.
Working in the shop is a great way of meeting people both other Aardvarks and visitors to the shop and gallery. It’s great to hear the opinions of others (even if it is sometimes not what you want to hear!)
Monthly members meetings not only keep me up to date but also remind me how lucky we are to have such a motivated and inspirational person at the helm. Chief Aardvark Bex Raven makes things HAPPEN, she is not all talk. I don’t know how she does it but I am so grateful she does.
Thank you for liberating me as a creative maker. Every town should have a Funky Aardvark." L. McClenaghen, Aardvark since June 2014
"I am absolutely delighted that I was accepted to be part of the Aardvark community of artists. Over the many years of my teaching career, I have not had time for me and “my Art”. I said that I wanted to become a silversmith on retirement and now I am on the way to fulfilling that ambition. The Aardvark Community is so supportive and encouraging. I feel valued. It is so much fun to be able to come along for shop days and talk “art”. The exhibitions are a real stimulus to creativity. Challenging me think and create.I am so glad I came and asked if I could join. Thank you." J. Humphries, Aardvark since September 2014
From Dogsbody to Artist - "Becoming a member of Funky Aardvarks has altered how I think about myself and what I do.
Let me tell a short tale. Travelling overseas less than two years ago I had to fill in a disembarkation card. There was the question I most dread: What is your occupation? Hmmmm…Who am I now? Woman? Academic? Mother? Parent? Book fanatic? Chatterbox? Friend? Hobby enthusiast? Seamstress? Please don’t expect me to write ‘wife’, ‘housewife’, ‘homemaker’, ‘domestic inexpert’, all words that do not describe me and what I do? But who am I? In desperation, but not in jest, I wrote ‘Dogsbody’. Fortunately, as the immigration officer assumed I was some sort of dog-groomer, I was allowed into the country. But my question wasn’t answered. Of course, the real problem is that official forms only want you to list one occupation, not many, so we have to try to squeeze ourselves into the box provided by the forms. Now when I travel and I ask myself ‘Who am I?’ I am confident putting ‘Artist’ or ‘Painter’ or ‘Creator’ or ‘Aardvark’ without someone pointing their finger at me and shrieking ‘Fraud!’
I can do this because I became an Aardvark.
I originally found out about Funky Aardvarks because of the life drawing classes. There are so many other courses that I want to take and that I want to do with my friends, and it was a very good way to find out about what the members were doing and what the whole operation was all about. Some of those doing the classes were Aardvarks already and explained what this meant, so I thought (pushed by my nearest and dearest) that I would join. Becoming a member, being part of a group of like-minded enthusiasts, doing duty in the shop, seeing the work of others, the new things people have made every time I am there, and being surrounded by people who create things with their hands has reconnected me with the way that I grew up and I have rediscovered how normal it is to be overtly creative. Moreover, I’ve been painting regularly, selling work in the shop (I’ll never forget the thrill of the first time someone bought something that I had made), being encouraged by the example of others to think of what I do as a business – an occupation – and this makes me happy every day.
I also think that the way that Funky Aardvarks is structured and organised (non-competitive, inclusive, cooperative), and its aims to be part of the greater community as well as an artistic one need to be seen more in other businesses and organisations. I am proud to be part of something so ambitiously and generously conceived and executed." D. Boleyn, Aardvark since June 2014
"My Gran taught me to knit when I was 7, and I attempted my first creation - a blue short-sleeved jumper - soon after. Life then got on the way till I retired. Now, many decades later and with the help of amazing and inspirational patterns available, I have tried so many bright and colourful creations never thought of all those years ago. Crafting can be a therapy, a hobby, a business, a career or just a relaxation - and knitting, for me, is all these." K. Hamlet, Aardvark since February 2014
"Funky Aardvark has given me the ability to start teaching workshops again after a two year break. Because of the way it was set up I could give a workshop with just 2 or 3 people and not be out of pocket. It also gave me the incentive to produce crafts for sale, something that I had not done before." M. Elms, Aardvark since February 2014
"I am a Funky Aardvark, sounds good doesn’t it? It is good. Having recently retired I thought I would try something different. Painting? never tried before. So I bought oils and all the gear. Now I have all these paintings , what to do with them. Heard about Funky Aardvark so went in and was happy to be accepted as a member. Friendly and helpful, a real joy to be involved. Have sold three paintings so far. Can you imagine how I felt, knowing that someone has hung them on their walls. Marvellous feeling, worth all the effort. Be a funky aardvark, you will not regret it." T. Woodhall, Aardvark since January 2015