All change! Closing down and branching out

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September is unleashing its dismal rain already; a fine example of pathetic fallacy as the kids troop back to school. It’s a new breath for me, too, so this post is just to let y’all know that as of this month I am changing the focus of my ‘business’. Mainly because I hate running my creativity as a business – I’m not good at it in its current form, and it’s hollowed me out. I’ve been making things to sell, for money, and the constant hustle of  “Look I made this! It has a price, which may or may not match what it is worth or what you can afford, but please buy it, because I need your money to pay my bills.” is not making for a happy me.

I’ve done some thinking, I’ve made a decision, and I’m taking a step back. Taking time to breathe, to get a part-time job and thus sever the entanglement of financial need and creative expression. I’ve tried, I really have: I’ve done the courses, I’ve read the books, I’ve learned the social media and the Etsy algorithms – but my heart has never sat easy with it.

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Wednesday Womblings: Trash to treasure

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Friend!
Hello friend!

Well hello there! I have been away from my fabrics for a few Wednesdays, volunteering at a livery stables in Valencia (because why the hell not?), but here I am, returned all safe and sound to the land of rain, greenery, and more rain. Love it 🙂

This week I thought I’d show you how I use up the majority of my scrap fabrics: banners. Bits of clothing, old scarves, lace and trims from either clothing or other people’s fabric stashes (I find that when clearing out craft clutter, it’s often the scrappy ribbons and edgings that are the first to hit the “Leave” pile).  

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Igniting a reforestation revolution!

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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?

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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:

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Stitch me some lovin’

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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

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Happy New Year! Finding my balance

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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.

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Doing what we can’t

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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.

Poorly embroidered flower. I think.
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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

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Craftivism – get involved, you beautiful creature!

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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,

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You Are So Very Beautiful – a Craftivist project

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The photo above is one of the pieces of encouragement I’ve been leaving around the place for a few months now. Not all at once, just one at a time, when I can. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen them. But now I find something similar you might want to be a part of: because that amazing Betsy Greer is at it again, stitching things to make the world a brighter place. And she wants YOU (points finger) to get involved.

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