I graduated in 2015 with my MA Art and Environment from Falmouth University. Since then life has been a fair bit of a rollercoaster, slowly the stormy waves of life are settling and I am literally picking up the lose threads.
Since then I have been involved during summer 2017in the School of Craft at Newlyn Art Gallery, where I enjoyed teaching a range of taster workshops from Hand spinning to Matchbox Weaving and taking part in Sarah Johnson’s Indigo Workshop.
As I am still in recovery, I have returned to the the gentle art of stitching, finishing small hand stitched projects, learning English Paper Piecing and taking part in Indigo dyeing workshops.
The #wellmaking Flowergarden is popping up in Penzance!
when: Saturday, 13. December, 15.00 – 16.30
where: Archie Browns Cafe (above the Health Food shop)
The #wellmaking Flowergarden is a nationwide project initiated between Fiona Hackney from Falmouth University and Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective.
Currently there are over 40 groups all over Britain taking part!
The project is an invitation for people to come together and while making flower through crafting (stitching, crochet, knitting) to share stories, ideas, memories about the connecting between craft and wellbeing.
We are collecting information / date for a survey and there is the plan to sum up the whole experience in a
” Craft and Wellbeing Manifesto”
In January will be a closing event in London were all the flowers will be on show and raise awareness how important wellbeing is.
For more information check out:
Introducing the #wellMAKING Craftivists Garden! | Craftivist Collective
Craftivist Garden #wellMAKING – Projects – Falmouth University
Craftivist Garden #wellMAKING is a participatory project run by Falmouth … Craftivist Garden takes the flower garden as a metaphor for creative flourishing.
The hand spun yarn, Wensleydale locks and White Shetland slows down the process even more. The ends don’t felt and I knot them, which creates a resistance in the movement, and yet I persist .
Sitting in a very busy cafe in Totnes ,deeply absorbed in my movements , thought fleeting in and out……. Last night my mind needed a quite movement and soft chanting sounds to be able to settle into relaxation before going to sleep. My mind was troubled.
I had come to Totnes to attend a evening about GMO, the most prominent speaker was Vandana Shiva among a very diverse range of talks. It end with a video address by Deepark Shopra, a passioned call to action. The fact about the damage directly on humans and animals through consumption of GMO food was shocking as was the absurdity of of manipulation of science, politics and power.
Small scale farming based on traditional and organic methods feed 70% of the world population, while the remaking 30% of industrial farming is destroying wide stretches of land which becomes dead and useless.
People like Vandana Shiva advocate for the farming communities and pressure governments to take action against giants like Monsanto .
It is so easy to forget all about it, it is easier to slip back into everyday life….. And yet, everyday we make choices, where we put our money, whom we support , how we life, what we consume , how much we or how little we consume.
It is our choice to remain either part of the problem and live as if these threads as the life we know doesn’t exist and as we have no responsibility for what we leave behind for future generations. Or if we change, reassess, what are our priorities in life and what really matters; we can choose to support local and organic food producers to strengthen local and independent economy.
We can make the choice to reevaluate our real needs in everyday life. Living a simpler life…..simpler food, simpler clothing………….
I pick up my small wooden needle and thread my hand spun wool, my daily engagement with a ancient technique and and a sustainable material becomes a daily meditation, becomes the thread I can hang onto .
Tomorrow the show for the MA courses in Falmouth ( Woodlane campus, 6-9pm) opens.
The part-time student taken part with a group show in the Garden Studio.
Here is a glimpse of my contribution and a few thoughts……
Wool is my medium and my companion. Wool is renewable and sustainable. Wool is warmth, comfort and calm. Wool teaches me respect for the sheep. Wool teaches me patience and perseverance. Wool connects me to the origin of our cloth. Wool connects me to the land and to life.
“In the old days, the old fellows were sitting around, all the women were laughing , joking – so all that conversation has gone into the basket.”
Verna Nichols , Tasmania
This quote gathered to much up, how I feel about my practise.
When I look again at the cloth were people have embroidered on on now 4 occasions, it seems as if I can still her the voices, the stories and the laughter. And I see as well those, how were quietly stitching, not saying much, but listing and still part, adding their stitches.
My practise has these two aspects
– creating spaces where people can experience again a communal situation, of working with their hands creatively and being with people
– working on my own with very slow technique using Embroidery, Knitting, Crochet and very recently hand spinning as a meditative activity
– Working with my “traveling” projects where ever I am, on the train, in Cafés, with friends talking at the Folk evenings in my home town
Sometimes when I pick up a embroidered cloth, or a hat, knitted from my own pattern and from well chosen wool, I smile as the memories flood back.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that the underlying intend for my activities, shared and alone is Wellbeing.
I’ve started knitting again after a year-long break. I bought some beautiful hand-dyed, locally spun yarn in a brilliant mottled fuchsia, and then I got to work, knitting furiously for two days straight until I realized that my new infinity scarf was disproportionately huge. I had to undo everything and start over, my enthusiasm somewhat dampened.
When I took my knitting to a friend’s house, someone asked an interesting question: “Why would you bother knitting a scarf? It’s so much work and you can buy a great scarf for cheap anywhere.” It’s a good question. If it’s easy to buy a decent scarf for $10 at H&M, why would I spend $50 on handspun yarn and another week of knitting in order to get a finished product? It’s hardly economical.
But there’s more to it than that. The act of knitting is a strange combination of relaxation and activism, of protest and tradition. My urge to pick it up again started last month after reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. (You can read my review here.) The author pushes for a “slow clothes” movement, the fashion equivalent of “slow food,” in which consumers start paying attention to the background of their clothes and what has gone into their production. Knitting is my small contribution to the slow clothes movement for the following reasons:
I’m creating a product of high quality. Because I’ve invested money and time into this scarf, it is far more valuable than anything I could buy for $10. I will care for it and it will last for many years, keeping its shape and colour long after cheaper scarves have fallen apart. Clothing is devalued in North America to the point where it’s practically disposable. It would be far better for the Earth if we stopped buying cheap items that don’t last and invested in fewer, higher quality items that do last.
Knitting is a way to reclaim independence. We live in a world where we depend on certain individuals and companies to perform highly specialized tasks for us. There’s something satisfying about taking on some of the responsibility for clothing production and sending a message to the industry that I don’t need them to make my scarves.
Knitting can help a local industry. It wasn’t cheap to buy two skeins of that locally produced yarn, but at least I’m making a statement with my consumer dollars to a nearby farmer, endorsing his or her decision to make a living raising sheep. According to Cline, if every American redirected 1 percent of their disposable income to domestically-made products, it would create 200,000 jobs. Cheap imported clothes become a lot more expensive when you calculate the loss of domestic jobs.
Finally, it feels really good to make something by hand. There’s something very peaceful about performing a simple, repetitive act with my fingers that results in useful yet beautiful things.
Do you knit or have another ‘slow clothes’-related hobby?