Suffragette Banners Project: 10 Things I learnt about me

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Originally posted 6 July 2018

Hello friends!

Well, I have now extracted myself from the rabbit hole that was the suffragette banner project I wrote about exactly 4 weeks ago. I have completed it, come up for air and I’m dying to tell you all about it. My lovelies, I especially wish to tell you what I have learnt because I did a lot of thinking and realising along the way!

But first…

If you read that post, you will know that I was going to be working with the gorgeous children in our local primary school right from the littlest in nursery to the biggest in year 6. The whole project was coordinated by the lovely ‘curriculum and arts’ lead at the school, who was incredibly supportive and encouraging throughout. The children, who are already well versed in the rights of the child had been learning about the suffragettes due to this year being the 100 year anniversary of some women winning the right to vote.  Each year group had designed their own suffragette banners based on their understanding of the values and sentiments behind the campaign. Armed with these designs, I was given the task of bringing them to life in a series of workshops with the children.

I started by measuring, cutting out and hemming the banners (of which there were a few different sizes) using fabric donated to the school by a teacher’s friend, who had worked on the set of the film, The Kingsman no less. With the youngest (nursery and reception – 3 to 5 year olds), we painted straight onto the background fabric and from year 1 upwards I taught the kids to sew using binca and wool!

Suffragette Banner Nursery

I drew the outline of letters (which required much measurement and head scratching on my part) and various shapes onto the binca and the kids stitched them after a little demonstration by me. A few children who already had some sewing experience, sewed felt shapes directly onto the banners. These sessions were intense but fun! In fact in years 1 and 2, I taught every child – approximately 60 children each day! The kids surprised and delighted me! They were so switched on and enthusiastic, they engaged with the process, were respectful, took great pride in their work and didn’t want our sessions to end! They were just fantastic! The look on their faces when they ‘got it’ and realised they could sew was priceless!

So 8 sessions done, I then assembled the banners at home by finishing off any sewing that the kids didn’t manage to complete and appliqué the letters (160 in total across the whole project!) and other shapes onto each banner. It took many hours but the feeling of joy and sense of satisfaction on completion of each banner was immense! Each time I took a banner into school, there were many excited, grateful and impressed expressions and sentiments from both teachers and children. This really did blow me away and made my heart swell with pride. The kids and I only went and smashed it!

Suffragette Banner year 1

I am so so grateful that the wonderful Head Teacher at our school believed in me and gave me this opportunity.

“But Lucy, what have you learnt about yourself?” I hear you ask!! Well…

I am in a better place than I was when I wrote this blog post. In fact you will find me sitting in a beautiful, tranquil spot full of self love, appreciation and less self doubt than I have had in years! If you fancy joining me here, there is enough space for you too and you’d be so very welcome.

Suffragette Banner Year 2

I am not bad at teaching kids to sew. Just that.

I really love to appliqué and I do believe it is a forté of mine. However, I must say that I may have said a few swear words by the 145th letter! Look out for some appliquéd tutorials here on my blog in the future.

Suffragette Banner Year 3

I work really well and really hard with a deadline looming and I am so proud of that stamina and my work ethic. It is something I want to carry on… although, check out the next one…

I tend not to take breaks when I feel I have lots on my plate. This is not good for me and in the end exhausts me. I find it hard not to just beaver on until time constraints, e.g. picking the kids up from school, means I just cannot carry on. I’m going to change this and that may mean working differently. I haven’t quite figured out quite what that might look like yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Suffragette Banner Year 4

I pretty much always underestimate how long things will take me! I get very frustrated about this. I think the way forward may be to estimate, measure and then predict for the future, if that makes sense?

Suffragette Banner Year 5

I thrive on reassurance and positive feedback. When I handed the first banners in and I received such fantastic comments, it really spurred me on and gave me renewed energy. I am well aware that when you work on your own, it is sometimes difficult to measure how well you are doing. I find this tricky but I’m getting better at giving myself positive feedback.

I rarely go into something without a few doubts but for some reason this time, even though I was a little worried about balancing it all, I really went for it and spent hardly any time overthinking the outcome. I was slightly anxious about not delivering on time and I’m feeling very sensitive about charging my beloved primary school for the hours I have worked. But I am feeling so much more confident when speaking about myself and my business. It is almost as if I have convinced myself that I am a blogger, crafter and aspiring author!

I love making people happy. I really do.

Suffragette Banner year 6

I adore writing and feel the lack of it when I don’t do it often! Good news for my blogging future and perhaps THAT book too!

So that’s 10 right there, but I realise I have just one more. 11 for the price of 10!

Lastly, but by no means least, I have a real pull/desire/love/need to hand sew. Much, but not all of the project involved machine stitching, and although I have nothing against machine sewing and find it necessary and enjoyable at points, hand stitching has my heart. I feel a deep deep sense of well being and connection to the process when I am hand sewing and it feels familiar, like it is meant to be. I have such a feeling of yearning for the past as if I am reaching back, far beyond this life, into the depths and mysteries of my DNA and the energy in my soul. I realise I’ve gone a little bit deep here lovelies but being awake to the throws of my heart brings me to places like this more and more. I also realise I have a lot more to say about this and where these feelings come from or might take me, so another time, another blog post methinks!

Well on that slightly pensive and spiritual note, I will sign off until next time.

But just before we go our separate ways for a week, do tell me if any of these learnings resonate with you? Do you see any similarities with how you feel or the ways in which you work? I’d love to know!

Take care of your lovely selves.

Lots and lots of love

Lucy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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