Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sob Stories and Stitching

After a hectic week of socialising, stitching, "arting" and performing, I have thoroughly enjoyed having a lazy Sunday.

However, although I haven't been darting about all over the place today, it has still been very productive; artist and designer-maker Hannah Hill came over and we brainstormed our upcoming collaboration, the Stitch Witches zine. We've planned out the first (bumper!) issue and I now have quite a bit of (very pleasurable) work to do.

I mentioned that I'd performed this week; well, this Thursday, Hannah (and my friend Nathan) joined me at Cella Salon in Newington Green for an evening of performance.

My friend Seb runs a monthly performance art night there, and at the very last minute asked me if I'd like to have a go. 

This was my set-up; I invited participants to chop onions and see what memories and emotions this evoked. After a chat about this, I shared a story I had collected (or experienced) about crying, and encouraged the participants to do the same (luckily for me, everyone was pretty forthcoming!)

Once we'd shared our (literal) sob stories and had a little giggle, the participants embroidered a short phrase from their story on to ribbon or a handkerchief. The ribbons were then kept in a glass jar to make a "jar of tears". I will do something with this jar full of ribbons at a later date, and will certainly be looking to perform at Cella Salon in the future.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Brentwood Belles get down to some serious Craftivism.

Last night I had to run to catch a succession of trains, so that I could lend the Craftivist Collective a hand at a very special Craftivist Jam event.

Sarah (of the Craftivist Collective), Sarah (of Oxfam London and South East), and I (of Significant Seams/Poesie Grenadine "fame") travelled to Shenfield in Essex to attend a meeting of the Brentwood Belles W.I. This isn't the Women's Institute as you may know it; in recent years women of all ages have been joining the organisation. There's a contingent in Shoreditch - the Shoreditch  Sisters - composed of young, hip, crafty East Londoners.

The women of Brentwood cover a greater age range than their East End counterparts, but lack none of the same enthusiasm! Soon after we arrived a hundred or so women poured into the hall where we were setting up; Sarah Pelham, a W.I. helper, and I, had to make a mad rush to get the tomato jam sandwiches ready in time.

Sarah Corbett gave a moving and informative talk introducing the Belles to Craftivism, and before the tea break the ladies had some time to consider Christine's story (and their reactions and thoughts about it), the world food crisis, and the message they might choose to stitch on their jam jar cover.

After the essential tea and cake break, we reconvened and got down to sketching and stitching. I had the pleasure of lending a couple of first-time embroiderers a hand, and was tweeting away on behalf of the Craftivist Collective throughout proceedings.

As is to be expected at any large W.I. gathering, there was a bit of a mother's meeting, but despite all the chattering, much stitching was done. We were presented with several finished jam jar covers at the end of the night, which the Belles promised to fill with tomato jam. There was also some (spirited!) discussion about the politics and quandaries of shopping and eating ethically. The ladies really did themselves proud, and gave us a very warm welcome - we were even presented with some gift-wrapped embroidery hoops at the end of the night! Thank you, Brentwood Belles!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Poesie Grenadine - the "brand"!

Here for your viewing pleasure is the preview of the Poesie Grenadine shop! I will be selling pop punk/riot girl brooches, jeans/jacket patches, and original fine art embroidery which has featured on this blog.

The shop is scheduled to open next week, or whenever my new credit card arrives (I'm just about to head off to the bank to order it now!)

Here are my current patch designs, which will be made to order in a colour combination of your choice:

I'm lucky enough to have a Dad who is also an accomplished photographer, and he very kindly took some product shots of the first three brooch designs for me:


"Abject Loveliness" brooch

"Femmeinist" brooch

Hope to catch some of you talented art and craft makers/consumers over on Etsy soon!

Time flies when you have no funds

Sorry for falling off the face of the planet (or at least the small nugget of it which is this blog) recently. I've been rather busy. In the past month I've exhibited in the Art Trail, done a few "official" reviews for said Art Trail, graduated, started a new (paid!) job one day a week, helped to launch Significant Seams'/the Craftivist Collective's/Oxfam's GROW project, got a Poesie Grenadine Tumblr and Facebook page up and running,set up the Psychobitches Go Wild! Tumblr with my collaborator, and set up my Etsy shop (just waiting for my credit card to arrive and then it's good to go!) Phew!

There's still quite a lot of projects/stuff to do on the horizon, but I feel like I'm on top of things now, rested, and ready to take on the next few months. For a start, there's my hugely exciting group exhibition at Viktor Wynd, and the opening of my Etsy shop next week (fingers crossed!) A couple of exciting "businessy" ventures/arty projects are under discussion too, so fingers crossed for those as well.

So, now for a round-up of graduation photographs.

Here is the only decent capped and gowned photograph from graduation (and the mortarboard's still too small!):

My gorgeous grandparents rented a house near Falmouth for the week, and my Grandma was able to join my Dad and I at the ceremony.

With my favourite tutor - I may look unimpressed, but I assure you I wasn't! He's looking most profound and pensive, too:

A photograph of my ex-housemate Mark and I, in which we look like a colour-coordinated couple at a relative's wedding, taken by our friend Butler with a disposable camera.

And my family's favourite photograph of the lot:

I am trying to take that Love Heart's advice! 

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Just got back from Significant Seams' first "Awesomestow" Christine's Tomato Jam Stitch-In with Oxfam and the Craftivist Collective. It was, if not a roaring, then certainly a contentedly purring success.

The stitch-ins are inspired by the story of Christine, a Kenyan woman who makes and sells tomato jam to support her local community. Tomatoes are a fairly drought-resistant fruit, and thus easily grown in Christine's home town near Nairobi. 

In this spirit, craftivists all over the country (and the world!) are coming together to stitch messages about the food crisis on to jam jar labels. These jars will then be filled with tomato jam following Christine's own recipe, and passed on to people in positions of power, or businesses which are able to call (or shout) for change.

Sarah Corbett, founder and leader of the UK's Craftivist Collective, was on hand to guide us in our stitching, and lead discussion on the issues surrounding the world food crisis. It was fascinating and often deeply unsettling food for thought (pun intended). It's certainly inspired me to educate myself so that I can make more informed choices about how and where I eat.

It wasn't a sombre evening in the slightest, though; there was plenty of tea, and a few tomato jam sandwiches for each of us!

Yes, you read right; tomato jam sandwiches. They were surprisingly moreish. The general consensus was that the jam was closest to plum than any other fruit.

We were hosted by Walthamstow's gorgeous Arts & Crusts cafĂ©, who provided us with a wonderfully DIY outdoor space, which was festooned with Craftivist Collective and Significant Seams quilts and bunting.


My role for the evening was to Tweet (via Sarah's iPhone... I've yet to invest in one myself) all the happenings, and I think I did a pretty good job! Got some nice "soundbites", for example:

Sarah Pelham, Oxfam London/South East's current intern, was on hand to snap and film us throughout proceedings, and took this rather nice shot for me to Tweet:

Well, after those sandwiches I was still feeling a little peckish, so I've just tucked in to a big bowl of pasta infused with, you guessed it... tomato jam! And now I'm off to bed. Good night, everyone!

K x