I wish you a Happy New Year and hope it brings you all that you wish for.
Like many, the horrific Bush fires in Australia have been constantly on our minds, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted. The destruction of life, both human and animal, as well as property has just been horrendous and and on a scale that is hard for anyone to comprehend.
Having just visited the country in November, where we enjoyed being in the West Australian Outback and the Native Forests again, it is just so awful to picture the destruction of their sister Forests in the Southern and Eastern States.
Most of our family (but not all) are in Western Australia which has been relatively untouched, but there is no guarantee that the same won't happen there. The Australian Summer has only just begun.
It is natural to feel despondent and helpless. I have been reflecting on this over the past weeks, and, as usual, when I feel existential angst like this, where I have no control over distressing events, I go into creative overdrive.
Fortunately, the start of the year is a busy time for me, with preparation for the Swiss Yarn Festival where I will exhibit for the first time and also preparation for the Knitting & Fibre Retreat at the end of March at the Hotel Chaux d'Abel in the Swiss Jura. Creative overdrive has been put to good use!
So while I've been stitching or knitting I've been thinking about what is going on around me, and and how we, as crafters have chosen to react. Here is my personal list.
Reach out to your Community and draw strength from each other. One of my pivotal communities at the moment is the Swiss Yarn Festival community. I decided to offer one of the products, an Afghan made with Australian fabric brought back from my trip, as a prize in a raffle I'll conduct at the Festival.
Will it raise millions? No.
Will it give me and a lot of other people a chance to do something? Yes.
And that is enough.
Also a pivotal community-in-the-making, is our Knit & Fibre group in Biel/Bienne the nearest town to our Village. For the past three months or so we've been meeting up and getting to know the makers in the region. Already it is a source of fun, respite and inspiration (well to me anyway!).
Our next meet-up is January 18th and once again I'm sure we'll laugh and knit and drink coffee together and leave feeling renewed. If you're in the area join us! We are an inclusive group of people with varied crafty interests, backgrounds and histories.
Focus on the positives
Easier said than done but I have been trying to focus on the positive and am buoyed by how our craft communities internationally have come out in their millions to support the relief efforts.
Also to think of the happy memories and moments during our recent trip, such as a wonderful morning kayaking with our sons on the majestic Frankland River (above).
To care about Nature we have to have contact with Nature so we feel a genuine connection with our Planet. However when she is suffering, so do we and are motivated to do something about it!
Self-care is important if we are to soothe our anxieties and be in a space where we can be helpful to others.
By happy coincidence, I recently took up the art of Slow Stitching - quite by accident! The principles behind slow stitching, are that it is S L O W .... what does that mean? Well if you take a look at the piece I'm working on at the moment which in another life was a very well worn cotton shirt, bought in a thrift store in Texas, dismantled and fused on to a strip of white linen, you'll see that first, it isn't perfect, and, it isn't supposed to be.
There is also a definite environmental element to the work that is very important to me as I try to re-use, re-make, visibly mend, buy only second-hand outer clothing and generally try to avoid waste.
Slow Stitching is an exercise in meditation, letting the mind wander along with the stitches, letting them go where they will.... to produce an effect that is pleasing to you. Slow Stitching is mysterious... you don't necessarily know what the piece will end up becoming ... rather like life really.
Working on this slow stitching piece has really helped me to relax, meditate and enjoy making something that isn't rigidly following a prescribed pattern. I don't know what it will become but I like what is happening - will post more photos of the work as it moves along..
Do you have a similar list? Please share!
My Works in Progress are mostly the baby blankets and lapghans for the Swiss Yarn Festival as well as a sample shawl also for the Festival knitted in Babbles Yarn. I'll be vending yarn from three Irish producers including Babbles this year. Very excited to get the reaction of the attendees to some Irish yarns that I absolutely love!
I'll put up another Blog shortly that will focus on the Events coming up.
A bientôt ! Until next time, mind yourselves and happy knitting xx