It’s a while since my last update so I thought it high time I caught up with things and got a project started. The Easter hols were amazing for catching up with friends and making sure I had some proper time to relax, it’s brilliant how inspiration strikes as soon as I have the headspace! It did help that in the first week I was able to finally fly to the South of France to spend some time hanging out with beautiful creative soul Ruth-Ann of Le Petit Escargot Bleu. A busy working mum of two amazing little people, I admire how she shoehorns creative time into her hectic daily life. Since our first craft event together we have always had great discussions that fire our imaginations, and have a continuous thread of creative ideas spanning the miles via the internet.

I flew back home with a printmaking book, some definitive plans and a few freckles – it was so good to sit under those big blue skies! All I needed was a venue…and here’s where I hit a snag. After much discussion, it became apparent that running evening sessions at our previous base Middle Street Resource Centre won’t work due to staffing requirements at the centre, although this might change in the future. I am exploring a couple of other options but have a Plan B up my sleeve if they don’t come to fruition soon. In the meantime it feels like a good time to launch a new project, one we can start online and can pick up in person at a later date, and it feels good to have a focus again.

This morning Linda shared the gorgeous page of K.J. Turner with me, and I reflected on the conversation we had a few weeks ago about how stitching can be such an important way to express ourselves creatively. We talked about how much we had enjoyed working on the community quilt, and how wonderful it was to witness the wealth of ideas that came together. The sense of pride we felt when it was exhibited at Canalside Heritage Centre was of special, but so was working together to produce our individual pieces. I have also been thinking about the circumstances in which we stitched, the opportunity to reveal some of our thoughts made each square personal, our messages held within the four equal sides.

Instagram is a great place to follow creatives, and I have quite a few talented stitchers on my list now, one in particular that I have been drawn to is the Tiny Pricks Project which really supports the idea of free expression. Highly political, and as full of rage as it is elegantly stiched florals, it appeals to my belief that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. This extract from a Mary Oliver poem appeals to the side of me that longs to escape the twenty-four-seven, next-day-delivery world and seek solitude in nature. An American poet, she loved to immerse herself in nature and her work reflected this. The gift she gave us was her ability to marvel at the world with pragmatic acceptance that everything is temporary – choosing to live in the moment and be dazzled by it.

‘Tiny Pricks is a public art project created and curated by Diana Weymar. Contributors from around the world are stitching Donald Trump’s words into textiles, creating the material record of his presidency and of the movement against it.’ It is also involved in the promotion of positivity and empowerment. This stitched panel features the words that the late Leonard Cohen wrote in an email to Nick Cave in 2015 when he learned of the untimely death of Nick’s son. It reflects the absolute power of judicious words in times of despair. The handstitched hanky by Diana was part of an exhibition called Stranger than Kindness. Nick recalls that ‘it was one of the most meaningful messages’ he received at the time.

With this stitching project I would like to give participants the opportunity to express themselves, however they choose, and perhaps share something with the world they wouldn’t be able to express any other way. I thought of naming it Anonomously Yours as way of inviting people to share discreetly and without judgment if they wished. I am already imagining the power of those collective words or images of expression displayed in one place…but I am open to suggestions! To paraphrase the words of Diana, desperate times call for creative measures, and we all know how mindful stitching can be from our previous work.

DU