A new ‘thing’ where I share something I’m doing that involves recycling, upcycling, turning trash into treasure or just something that’s doing a tiny bit of good for this planet we call home.
You may have heard of the organisation ‘TreeSisters’, but if you haven’t, allow me to introduce you to a global network of amazing women* aiming to inspire and channel women’s nature-based feminine leadership into local and global action. Specifically, by funding the reforestation of the Tropics. Not ‘planting some trees’, not ‘running a couple of workshops’, but reforesting the Tropics! Working with and empowering women’s groups across the globe to plant One. Million. Trees. A month. Every month. Can you imagine how awesome that is for this beleaguered earth?
Fast food! Deadlines! Instant news! Exams! Facebook! Don’t be late! Don’t you just wish the world would slow down a little, just to let you catch up with it all? Well guess what, that’s not the world’s decision, it’s ours, and anyway, it just did 🙂
The incredible team at Doncopolitan pulled everyone together and made Doncaster chill the heck out last weekend, with Slow Down Sunday (image by Horne & Draper, btw): a wonderful, sunshiney day of homemade bread, apron making, music, chatting, seed-bomb-making, cooking, vegetable entertainment (no really), homemade jams, chutneys and sauces, sewing, smoothie making, and a whole heap more. Including (which is where I come in), sitting down with a cuppa and some needle and thread, and reminding ourselves just what makes Doncaster such a great place to live.
Hey there gorgeous souls. March 8th is International Women’s Day (where we remember, and come together to push against, gender-based oppression and inequality, and also celebrate the achievements of women everywhere). I am setting up a kind of ‘pay it forward’ craftivism project, to both reflect on all the ways women are amazing, and to pass on some love to our sisters (not just our cis-ters!). Women we know, women we have heard of, women we have never crossed any kind of path with. March 8th will see me in Doncaster, making, teaching and sharing crafted hearts, but if you’d like to get involved too, here’s how:
Hey hey, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow! That one day where we divide ourselves into two distinct camps: Those who adore the opportunity to get romantic – buy huge bunches of flowers for no reason other than to say ‘I love you’, spoil their lover with luxurious chocolates, pop a marriage proposal over a dinner date – and those who despise and deplore the commercialisation, the sickly affections, and the reminder that society values you considerably more once you’re neatly paired off.
So, as I don’t know which camp you, gentle reader, fall into, I’m going to show you
Living between worlds is both a curious exploration of those creatures that do so – gannets that pierce the surface to move between air and water, mangroves that stand with roots underwater and limbs reaching skywards – and a shallow explanation of how my brain fails to get a coherent grasp on either art or business. I’m getting better though, and just like I said this time last year (and quite possibly the year before), this year is going to be the year I work it out and achieve greatness. So there.
Welcome to 2017! Here in the UK the winter grows colder but lighter, wrapping around itself in preparation for the bursting out of spring. Which will happen, no matter how bleak it gets. It happens every year – nature is full of stillness, but it never stops moving.
If you were at the Remembrance of Lost Species event on Wednesday, you might have noticed some large memorial banners hung behind the stage. If you were too dazzled by the performers (Nancy’s coat was rather fine), I quite understand, but trust me, they were there. They were made, by me, from rescued old wool blankets (the ladies in the charity shop wanted to throw them in the bin), and assorted scraps of recycled clothing and fabrics left over from other projects. I make all my things from recycled or repurposed fabrics, in a bid to minimise my environmental footprint on this beautiful earth. It also means that if you accidentally leave a scarf
I failed my Art GCSE, did you know that? Art & Textiles: grade D. Fail. I mean, that wasn’t my only ‘creative’ exam – I did CDT (Craft Design & Technology) too, making clocks and bedside lights, working with wood, metal, plastics, all that stuff. I failed that, too. CDT: grade D. Fail. Sorry Abi, but you can’t Art.
About six years ago, after spending a long time admiring embroidered art and thinking ‘I wish I could do that’, I decided that wishing wan’t going to get me anywhere, and if I really wished it, I’d do it. So I found an old napkin in a drawer, drew some patterns on it with a biro, and started stitching. I had a book of embroidery stitches, so I tried to work through and stitch different ones. My first attempts were a bit scraggy, as is to be expected, but with practise my tangled mistakes got fewer, and I learned.
I learned, through repetition of trial and error, how
I find big paper a great medium for collecting ideas, and when I put out a table-length of lining paper at my ‘Open Studio’ event and asked “What can we do, now, to make this world a better place?”, I got some *really* good ones 🙂 Plant trees, and hug them! Play music, laugh, take a deep breath,
The Force is like Gaffa tape. It has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.