Creativity = Sanity

Life can get a little crazy, endless time spent behind your computer, working, thinking bills, rent, moving, shopping, organising, chores etc.  Yet life/ soul/ spirit I fully believe also needs some time to play, this isn’t something reserved for kids – as adults we think of play or downtime as just running on the treadmill or plonking down in front of the TV, maybe even take a walk on the wild-side and head out to the pub or restaurant.  Creativity, play and ‘letting your imagination run loose’ rarely if ever makes it on to one’s agenda or to do list.

Eucalyptus Leaf print

Eucalyptus Leaf print

Yet it’s so healing, it’s freeing and incredibly satisfying. This last week I’ve spent hours working on everything so I took yesterday off to just play.  I finished the top I’d been sewing and a crochet hat. I went foraging for leaves to do some eco-dying on silk – which turned out brilliantly, while foraging I took the camera out and took some photo of the amazing Eucalyptus flowers that I’d been meaning to get on film for over a week. The leaves and plants inspire me, and hence I also used some of them to dye my apron.   I finished the new label for my body oil, and made a new batch that was just for me (yes, I have the luxury of having an extra large jar just for me :)), and I made a lovely detoxing; Comfrey, Burdock, St. Johns Wort infusion to drink over the next week.  Am doing the 30 day real food challenge, going into week 3, and could do with some extra tonic support.

Leaves with inkodye

Leaves with inkodye

So at the end of extremely relaxed, chilled day, I have a new top, a gift for a friend’s child, a apron, some captured moments on film, so lovely eco-dyed silk which I am going to make into t-shirts/ tops, some luxurious body oil, and a detoxifying elixir.

I can’t recommend enough making some time in your life to just play, have fun, let your imagination run wild, spend some quality time in nature – be creative, and your life will be all the more richer for it.

And in the words of Robin Rose Bennett;

“It is within your power to make your life more magical. Let yourself think magically. Symbolically. Metaphorically. Loosen up and let the boundaries between mundane and magical living become thinner. Invite yourself to see like an artist, to think like a poet’.

If your interested in trying any of the above check out:
Eco-Dying: I recommend India Flint and her book Second Skin: Choosing and Caring for Textiles and Clothing, which is incredibly inspiring, she has fabulous workshops worldwide. Check out her blog here.

Inkodye: Sun Dying ink

Infusion & Healing Herbs, recommend Robin Rose Bennett’s book The Gift of Healing Herbs: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life , I made my own blend, however she has endlessly yummy useful recipes and detailed explanation in her book.

Top: One-Piece Wearables: 25 Chic Garments and Accessories to Sew from Single Pattern Pieces (Domestic Arts for Crafty Girls) , has some great – easy to make patterns from just one piece of fabric.

30 Day real food Challenge. Highly recommend this, it’s the second time I am doing it, and so love the recipes, the food, and how I am feeling even after the first and second weeks. The benefit is the boosted health, energy and loss of any excessive fat.

Why buy handmade… lots of reasons really

There are endless reasons really, yet I am constantly struck at by people or even at myself who can at times baulk at the price of braceletshandmade in comparison to an nice neat off the shelf number for a fiver from a larger retailer. Here are my top 5 reasons: 

  1. It’s ethical; Sure we’d all love to pay $5 for something, yet the thought of where it comes from who made it, and for what price rarely comes into the equation. In our continually striving for lower costs, so we can just buy more things we don’t need, we often forget somewhere at sometime there is a cost to someone, maybe not to you, or the company you are buying it from – however the person/child having to press out thousands of the product a day in appalling labour conditions might beg to differ, somewhere somehow someone is paying for it.
  2. You are buying a story, and a product made with Love I’m really quite new to crafting, making, creating things and yet I see that there is the opportunity when buying handmade to connect to the seller, here the story of how it came about, why it’s being made, from what materials and thoughts, ideas, passions and joys came from this one or many items. You see most of us don’t create from boredom, or lack of things to do – we do it because it makes us happy, it means something to us and we get a kick out of it. And we get an even bigger kick out of finding a good home for our creations.  They are a part of us, and what we send out into the world, and we are wanting to share that with you, so that it also makes you happy :)  Aww so now everyone is happy!
  3. Supporting small local creative businesses I know it’s great you’ve given a 10 year old somewhere in Asia the opportunity to earn a few cents a day, there are also many creative souls right on your doorstep struggling, creating, hoping to one day that their creations and passion will be their main source of income. Many working across all sorts of industries and creating in their spare time, with joy.  The products are often recycled, with a story; hours that also have value are filled with work. The product for the most part hasn’t left any carbon footprint, not been flown across the world, made by machine or pressed off in the thousands, no this little product has been thought up and handmade by an individual here, near you and there is simply nothing like supporting local initiatives, creativity, arts and culture – in brings you closer to your role in the larger scheme of things.
  4. It’s completely unique, imperfections and all You won’t be going into any store and finding thousands of them, the chance that someone at work will be wearing the same thing is minimized, its unique in it’s style, essence and mostly it’s one of a kind – maybe one day it’ll even be a collectors item of a bygone era, when they’ll talk about how once upon a time people made things, and it made them and everyone around them happy…
  5. Quality For the most part (of course on many of these points there can always be the odd exception), the quality it handmade far exceeds the factory made store bought equivalent. I always use the highest quality pure wool, it’s often been hand-dyed and it put it together with great care. It will survive being washed, and as with the handmade products that I have for myself these unique pieces often last years when all else has fallen apart or been given away, they stay in good form, colour and style.

Just some insights, of course you needn’t buy handmade,  I do though encourage people to try making something themselves, get down and get creative. I started creating as I could never find any skirts or bags in the style I wanted, then I discovered crochet and found it was relaxing and was akin to a moving meditation – and I could use the soft, colourful, beautifully, luxurious wool that I liked, and it all went from here. I also make my own ointments, it’s satisfying to have made something, something you like, you’d wear/ use, and it’s even more satisfying when someone else likes it too. And there is a deep satisfaction using something you’ve made yourself, even if it’s falling apart at the seems as my skirts often are. So talk to the creators when your at the market, get to know them – you’re supporting more than just a creation, product or lifestyle, you see you are connecting and buying something from someone, a person just like you, who has a name, a life a whole story of which this product probably plays an interesting part – listen, learn, engage.  If it resonates and you buy it, it becomes part of your story and you life, and for you to enjoy.
P.s. I’ll be at the Flinders St. Market again on the 31st August, this coming Sunday – drop by say hi!

Here is a very inspiring ‘Story of a bag’, that brings to life all of the above, by the lovely creative Juanita Tortilla: Check out her blog: