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We’re having an Open Day!

25th September 2016, 1-5pm @ City of Edinburgh Methodist Church

Are you interested in supporting small local businesses? Maybe you have a business or social enterprise idea of your own and would like to know how to access support in making it a reality.

The Dream Factory is a supportive community of people who are embarking on creating small businesses and social enterprises in areas of life, colour and justice. These are enterprises that promote health and wellbeing, arts and creativity, global and social responsibility. Those who commit to becoming part of the Dream Factory join a networking group in order to help one another out by sharing advice, experience and skills with one another.

  • Come along on Sunday 25th September and …
  • Find out more about the Dream Factory
  • Meet our community members
  • Discover our shared workshop and therapeutic space
  • Hands-on activities available throughout the afternoon:
    • Art with Kate Christmas
    • Have a go at letterpress printing with Lou Davis from Dot and the Line
    • Receive a relaxing hand massage from Hope’s Garden’s Angela Wells
    • Sustainability and electronics with Heat Hack
  • Drop-in to one of our sessions:
    • 2pm -Discovering Hypnotherapy with Gill Smith of Horizons Hypnotherapy. Gill will give a 15 minute demo allied to hypnotherapy and talk about her hypnotherapy practice.
    • 3pm – Creativity for Wellbeing with Lindsay Gibson. Lindsay will be offering a drop-in taster session on her Creativity for Wellbeing workshops. Come between 3 and 4pm to take part.

City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX


Hope’s Garden – An award-winning business

We’re really thrilled to let you know that Hope’s Garden, the aromatherapy business supported by the Dream Factory, has won the inspiration award at this year’s Holistic Business Awards.

Angela was at the ceremony in London on 4th October to receive her award. We’re all delighted to offer her our congratulations.

Congratulations Angela, very well deserved!


Click here for details about the awards.

Holistic Therapist Magazine held its first Holistic Business Awards on Saturday 4th of October at the Olympia Beauty Show, London. The awards were a celebration of the achievements of unsung heroes of the complementary and alternative health industry, recognising the passion, tenacity and hard work of those nominated who all had one thing in common; their dedication to make a positive difference in the lives of others doing what they love.

Kate Christmas : an exhibition of acrylics and textiles


Kate is an artist who has been working in residency at City of Edinburgh Methodist Church. She has a track record of producing beautiful artworks in silks and has recently also begun experimenting in acrylics and collage on canvas.

Inspired by nature, in particular flowers and floral designs in wallpaper, her artworks are a vibrant expression of colour and form.

Kate is exhibiting a selection of recent acrylic and mono print collages and works on silk from throughout her artistic career.

The exhibition will be available to view 9am-3pm from 21st September in the gallery on the 4th floor of the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, above the Well Cafe.

Kate will also be leading a drop-in workshop on the afternoon of Saturday 26th September when the church building will be open as part of Doors Open day.

Kate is a member of the Dream Factory, which has been supporting her in her new artistic experiments and has helped her in putting on this exhibition. Kate has kindly asked that any profits from the exhibition will go back to the Dream Factory to support others.

City News Article

I recently wrote an article about the Dream Factory for City News, a publication detailing what’s happening at City of Edinburgh Methodist Church. I thought you might like to read it too!

A few days ago I had a chat in the Well Cafe with a young man who may be interested in joining the Dream Factory. As I spoke with him about the project, I explained that we were a community of people all committed to helping one another as we go about the difficult task of discovering our passions and working out ways of living them. This often involves setting up small businesses and social enterprises, and we help one another as we go, sharing knowledge and experience and offering practical help with the things we’re good at.

I took him down into the basement of the church where he met with Jean, working on our heathack project, who was assembling a temperature sensor network to take to a church in another part of the city. He also met with Carmen, who has amassed an impressive array of recycled materials which she was sorting out in order to make into dolls, home furnishings and jewellery.

I showed him Hope’s Garden, a haven from the city and a real place of peace and healing as Angela gives aromatherapy massages to those who have been referred from a number of charities and agencies throughout the city.

Later, he also met Kate, who has taken refuge in a tiny space in the Church gallery. Kate is a full-time mum, but in the free time she has, she has returned to painting, which she loves. She is experimenting with new media and will display the results of her experimentation along with some of her paintings from her past in a new exhibition in September.

The Dream Factory is growing organically with new members being referred to us by agencies and churches. Many of our members are finding it to be a place of real support and understanding, enabling them to do things they would not have been able to do on their own.


Carmen’s Dolls

I’ve been meeting with Carmen over the last few weeks. We’ve been working on putting together a website for her business. Carmen is hugely prolific with so many ideas I’m struggling to keep up! She makes dolls – particularly in traditional Romanian costume, and also jewellery and accessories. We’ve just started loading pictures of all the things she’s made so it’s way from finished yet but I thought Dream Factory fans might like a sneak peek!

Be warned – it’s bright!


Heat Hack at the Mini Maker Faire

Heat Hack took a table to the mini maker faire at Summerhall on 19th April as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival. It was an all-day event with thousands of visitors. The maker faire itself is fascinating, there were folk doing traditional crafts like screen printing and upholstery but there were also robots, laser cutters, 3d printers, homemade arcade machines, a piano made from bananas (yes really!) and someone making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. We took along a candle votive stand we’d made and invited anyone passing to make an LED candle to add to the stand. We also had temperature sensors attached to helium balloons broadcasting the temperature of the ceiling. Oh, and Jean and I did a talk about how the project started and where we hope to be going with it.

There was so much good energy in the faire that it was a great day all round, not only demonstrating our makes and talking about what we’re hoping to do with Heat Hack, but also seeing what other groups are up to.


Palm Sunday Pilate

Choose a character from the passion story and look back on the events of Jesus entry into Jerusalem. Bring the story up-to-date and make it particularly relevant to Edinburgh. That was the brief going into yesterday’s Palm Sunday Stooshie (Stooshie is a Scots word for a furore, a fracas or a bit of a fuss). From the off, I knew I wanted to take on the character of Pontius Pilate. I have no idea why – perhaps because I’m always drawn to dubious characters!

I did my piece on a rainy and windswept Castle esplanade – the seat of power right behind me. Other performers told their tales in suitably evocative places. St Giles made a good stand-in for the temple. We met a gravedigger in Greyfriars kirkyard and other characters in secluded courtyards and hidden gardens. We finished our journey in the Grassmarket at the old place of execution, where a cross marks the spot where the gallows once stood and Jesus (or Sarah as we usually know her!) told us of his great love.

Here’s Pilate’s reflections … in the form of an email to his boss.


To : Emperor Tiberius Caesar (

From : Pilate, Prefect of Judea

Subject : Report on Latest Attempted Judean Uprising – Private and Confidential

Your most eminent Grace,

Greetings from Jerusalem. I have much to report from recent days.

As you are no doubt aware, the locals here in Judea have recently been gripped by yet another bout of nationalist fever. They continue to believe that, inconsequential as they are, they would be able to function as an independent nation. Preposterous of course, they have neither the military power nor the resources to function on a Global stage, yet they continue to resist the peace and protection of Rome. 

Much of this foolishness is fuelled by an almost religious fervour that has little to do with the functioning of their strange temple practices, which do remain entirely under our discretion and control. 

The people continue to put their hopes in one prospective ruler after another, who arrive at the city supported by a small group of radicals, who make jingoistic speeches hoping to gain followers, raise armies and find the financial backing to buy weapons. Of course our security services are not unaware of these cells, we have sent people to infiltrate their inner circles, to gather information and we squash any rebellion before it can take root. This is a cycle seemingly doomed to repetition. I felt the cycle could be broken, however, if by some means we were able to control one of these so-called leaders we would have a tame prophet of our own. They would retain their popularity but effectively neuter their political ambition. They could continue to make their populist speeches and youTube videos, but if we were able to influence the message, their energies could be directed in a more profitable direction.

The most promising candidate was in the city during the recent festival, we had been following him for some time and I had hopes that this one might be of use to us. His rhetoric was subtly different from that of his predecessors, more interested in peace than war – an aim we share. He was indeed on his way to gaining a large following and I had hoped he might have been amenable to a deal. An impressive title perhaps and some small devolution of powers, in return for his unquestioning support of ultimate Roman rule. 

You have never visited the city during the festival time but it can be a maelstrom of emotion and it is teeming with people. You can barely see down the street for jugglers and student theatre companies but behind the celebration is always a subversive undercurrent. It can be a difficult time to keep the peace. He arrived in the city at the head of a political rally that I might have thought was a performance art piece instead. Usually, whenever an idealistic leader of rebellion enters the city, it is on the biggest war horse he can find, and with as many burly armed men as he can afford. This one, this Jesus, arrived on a donkey with a choir of children and a flotilla of women handing out tree branches. 

Though bewildering to me, his street theatre certainly proved popular enough with the city. He made as much impact as if he had arrived with a whole legion of his own. His downfall was in angering the temple authorities. No more than a few days later I had the chance to meet with him in person as they brought him before me. The charges they wished to lay against him were ridiculous. I couldn’t fathom them at all. Something to do with the technicalities of their strange religion. 

Nevertheless, I was able to question him with the aim of establishing an agreement between us. It soon became clear to me that he would not be manipulated, in fact, he would not be moved at all. I offered him a clear way out of his predicament and he refused to take it. I hinted that I could be of use to him against his enemies, he remained silent. In the end, I had to accept that he would be of no use to us. It was with regret that I had him crucified, but necessary, just as with any other usurper who comes along and wants to be King of the Jews. It’s always the same with these idealistic types, no idea of the compromises necessary for leadership, of what might be expedient and no sense of self-preservation whatsoever. Another independence attempt over with for now, we must simply await the next one and hopefully I will discharge that with as little fuss.


Pontius Pilate

Hacking Preaching

I’ve been preaching in churches for donkey’s years now, but recently I’ve felt that I’ve needed a change of scenery and have felt a bit of a push to explore what else I might do with the experience I’ve gained there.

I still want somehow to take life experience, faith and story, weave it into words and perform it to other people, I want to hack it in other words. Take the essence of it and reshape it. That’s led me to writing quite a bit of poetry and taking a few steps into performance poetry by reading at some open mic nights. Some of it works best as a performance, and so to share it with you I’ll have to record it. Other poetry works just fine on the screen.

I wrote something sketchy today. It came off the back of a letter that the Church of England bishops had put together, nothing wrong with the words. But the words were undermined in the comments below the news articles and the main criticisms were of the status, riches, palaces and general out-of-touchness of bishops. That’s not to say all the individuals behind the purple shirts are complicit, but they do become their rank. I’m pleased that women can now be bishops, but there’s still something not quite right with the whole picture and so I just started writing to see where it took me. Here’s what I came up with.


Girls Wearing Purple

Heroic magenta deserves to be worn by all

But this parody of a royal robe, with priestly crown, jewelled fingers and shepherd’s stick

is a lost belligerence from another time.

It may be redeemed by Tabitha’s hand.

Her task is to restitch this shirt,

sever the link to power and blood.

Those who claim this way, should know that the greatest is a small child

and those who grasp the most rank the least.

As you take your place, make it be at his feet,

the only desperation to be the one who can cling closest to his tongue and memory

be the first to share your jaw-dropping story

mingle your tears with your hair and the dust from the road.

Give a gift of your power to the world

For this is what it is to lead.

Heat Hack Shrove Tuesday Balloon Trials

A good time was had by all this last Tuesday when HeatHack took over Christ Church Morningside for the day. We were there as part of innovative learning week with Edinburgh University. Our aim was to map air currents and temperature stratification in the church. We went armed with helium tanks, balloons, a blimp, fishing floats and pancakes. (The pancakes weren’t for scientific purposes, they were because it was pancake day and hungry scientists need to eat!)

Here are some photos from the day, and watch out for a video coming soon!

Lou from is part of the Heat Hack organising team and the group usually meets twice a month on a tuesday evening in the dream factory space, as well as putting on events like this one around Edinburgh. Find out more from


New art drop-in sessions

New dream factory member Kate Christmas and resident artist Lou Davis are getting together once a week to make some art, and we thought – why keep all the fun to ourselves? So we’re opening up our artistic play sessions to all-comers!

The next one is Wednesday 18th Feb, 10am – 1pm at the Dream Factory, beneath the Well Cafe. The address is 25, Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX. Ask at reception or in the cafe and they’ll point the way to where we’re meeting.

For future dates, keep an eye on our Facebook page or email Lou through the contact form.