Woman You Are… Creative, Generous, Inspiring

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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:

16923826_10154913539800132_244623588_nWhat I’d like you to do is to make a small heart – I’m making mine out of fabric, and stitching them, but you can make them how you wish – about the size of the palm of your hand. The ones on the left are just hastily stitched samples to give an idea. On that heart, in stitch or whatever, please write “Woman you are” and something beautiful to brighten someone’s day. Smart, strong, resilient, enough, kind… I could keep this up all day 🙂  Embellish as much or as little as you like! Then, on the back, please put the tag #womanur  – plus your own social media handle too, if you want.

The ones I made from fabric consist of three hearts. I stitched my message on one, then sandwiched a piece of felt between it and another patterned fabric heart, and used backstitch to stitch all three layers together. This gave them a good sturdiness.

You can make one, or as many as you like, and when you send one/them in, you will receive one in return. It’s a way of connecting complete strangers, and taking time to think about and craft some love for a woman you’ve never met, to tell her how much she is welcome, loved and needed in this world. Solidarity is needed now more than ever, it would seem.

'Lift Each Other Up', by Libby Vanderploeg
‘Lift Each Other Up’, by Libby Vanderploeg

 

 

Questions:

‘Wait! Some people will make a few hearts, but only receive one in return, where will those extra hearts go?’ : They will be handed out in Doncaster to women working, volunteering, caring, or just going about their everyday heroics. Community workers, emergency personnel, cleaners, mums, librarians – we’ll find someone to give them to, don’t you worry 🙂

‘So, can I come along and make one (or several) on the day?’ : Please do! All materials will be provided, and even if you can’t sew a stitch, I can show you how 🙂 When you’ve made a heart, you can put it in the pile to be gifted to someone else, and take one for yourself to remind you how brilliant you are. I don’t have details yet of exactly where I’ll be, but it’ll be somewhere in Doncaster town centre. I’ll post specifics as soon as I have them.

‘I’m not a woman, can I still make one? Can I receive one?’ : Of course you can make one! I hope non-women appreciate women and will join in with this too. But, as they are being made *for* women, you can instead request your return heart be sent/given to someone else, or I can send it to you to pass on to someone else.

‘I’m a trans woman, am I included?’ : Hell yes! This is for *all* women. If you don’t believe trans women are women, then I suggest you do some more research with an open mind, and/or probably steer away from this project. Trans-exclusionary thinking has no place here, and I will not debate this.

‘Can I help with postage fees?’ : That would be awesome, and much appreciated. It will cost me some pennies to send these hearts around the globe, so if you were able to chip in I would be most grateful. But please be assured it is not obligatory! It’ll be around £1 for UK postage, and £3 for international, but you can contribute any amount you feel comfortable with – I’m sure some will gift more, so that those who can’t afford it don’t have to worry 🙂 PayPal has been twisting my noodle lately with their stupidity, so I’ve set up something on my Stripe page here. It’s just as secure, by the way, and you don’t need a Stripe account to use it (unlike PayPal).

‘When do you need them by?’ : Well, ideally they’ll need to arrive before March 7th, so they can be a part of the craft exchange in Doncaster on the 8th, but don’t worry if that’s too short notice. All hearts received will be gifted and reciprocated, I guarantee it.

So, when you’re done please post your beautiful heart/s to:

Abi Nielsen,
Bank Street Arts,
32-40 Bank Street
Sheffield
S1 2DS – UK

Please include your own name and address in the package, because then I can send you a heart in return! All personal details will be used for this purpose alone, and I will burn/eat/get someone else to eat them as soon as I’ve sent your post. Photos will be posted on my Instagram feed, my Facebook page, and this blog too. And don’t forget to check out the Doncopolitan page for more details of all the amazingness they’ve got going on for International Women’s Day. With of course a big shout out to that wonderful, creative, powerhouse woman Rachel Horne for organising it all 🙂

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