My everyday world has changed lovelies. The last time I was here on the blog, we were in lock down and my family and I had experienced and recovered from unconfirmed Covid-19. But something much more profound and deep rooted has been happening in our lives and I mean that as a collective ‘our’. The horrific murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis in May, and tragically too many other racially motivated crimes before and since, have raised awareness of the traumatic experiences of black people past and present, and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The protests, conversations and mass awakening to the realities of systemic and institutionalised racism in the world have touched me deeply. The legacy of slavery, colonialism and white supremacy are unfortunately still steeped in the everyday fabric of our societies. I have spent time thinking about my own and loved ones’ experiences of racism and those of my forefathers and mothers. I have thought about what I want my role to be. I have listened to my heart and responded to it’s call to action. But first, a little look back…
Last March, in a blog post entitled, ‘Finding My Way’, I wrote, “I still regularly hesitate in putting more of me out there when I want to. I have lost my voice and it is about fear and self preservation.” At the time, I felt that I was at a turning point in my creative journey. I wanted to be able to tell more of my truth and I wanted my voice to grow in confidence and certainty. I also wrote, “My story does not just involve an awakening of a love for nature and the seasons. It also involves being a woman with a beautifully rich heritage, the images and experiences of which are itching to be expressed creatively and authentically from my heart.”
I sketched this image of a fist in the power and solidarity salute with intertwined flowers and vines, soon after publishing this blog post. I called it, ‘Power to the Gentle People’. It reflected my belief that we can be sensitive and strong, gentle and firm, loving and fierce, beautiful and powerful. My voice may not be loud, but it is still important and my story holds value.
A couple of months later, I took a long break from posting to social media and my blog due to overwhelm. Despite writing that blog post and feeling like I was on a new and clear path, I was still full of self doubt and fear about how to use my voice, how to tell my truth and through which creative medium to express the stories I wanted to tell. My heart needed a rest and my mind needed to settle and simplify.
During this break, I went to the Nelson Mandela exhibition in London. As you can imagine it was incredibly moving and my image, ‘Power to the Gentle People’ popped back up into my conscious mind. If there was ever a person who signified love, gentleness, power and strength whilst fighting for equal, human rights, it was this beautiful man. He was the epitome of grace and wisdom in both his actions and his words.
Since then, I have made progress with my business, notably settling on hand embroidery as my primary creative medium. I have launched 5 seasonal embroidery patterns, which you can find in my Etsy shop and 2 additional free patterns here on the blog. I love all my patterns, however those that have a special story behind them, ‘A Fire in My Heart’ and ‘Festive Hut’ are particularly important to me. These are the designs that I feel really connected to and combine the seasonal and nature with my story.
Back to the present now and as I wrote at the beginning of this post, my world has changed and I am not going back. In light of recent events, my image now called, ‘Power of Love’ has gained new meaning to me. I have been feeling angry, sorrowful and mournful. Finding a place within me where the difficult emotions can co-exist with peace, joy, hope and love is sometimes a struggle. But I feel determined to use my voice to tell our stories, because they really matter. The stories and messages I feel called to amplify are clear, strong and often hard to hear. The stories I want to tell centre blackness, black people and black experiences. The stories I am going to create in fabric and thread are real, painful, beautiful, cultural, hopeful, positive, natural and seasonal.
The ‘Power of Love’ will serve as a constant reminder that the fight for equality and justice needs to be driven by love. If love is the fuel, the engine will stay running.
As the remarkable Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin…. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”…TRUTH.
Thanks for reading lovelies. Respectful, thoughtful and kind connection is so important during this time and if you wish to connect with me, you can leave a comment here or over on instagram.
You can find the ‘Power of Love’ embroidery pattern in my Etsy shop, with the option of also ordering the pattern pre-printed onto self-adhesive water soluble stabiliser, which simply sticks to your fabric. You can then follow and stitch the design using the clear lines in the printout, missing the ‘transferring the design to fabric’ stage…
This pattern is suitable for beginners. Detailed and clear instructions, including pictures of each stitch are included and the template is provided. If you have any questions about this or any of my other patterns, please do ask.
Love, warmth and light to you always,