Wrapping It Up Potion

With this week's potion complete, the Apotheké/#secretsofselfpreservation project has only one more week before its conclusion. That is one of the reasons why I have named this week's creation "Wrapping It Up" potion. The other is that this week has been marked by frantic gift buying and the dispersal of my work Secret Santa. So the ingredient to accompany the embroidered text is a message from a Christmas card, and the label the card's front. This week's text reads "Giving gifts is good for the soul." I love giving presents, and the only reason Christmas shopping this week has been rather frantic was because I was yet to give the perfect gift for several people, and I still haven't, so fingers crossed for the next few days!







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Drawing Strength Potion

 This week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion follows on from thoughts last week. I am still drawing, sketching every other day, and finding I am not as hopeless at it as I thought (although perhaps still slightly hopeless... practise makes better!)

I am doubting myself ever so slightly less than I have done of late. So, the stitching this week reads "Have more faith in your abilities". This applies to every area of life; work; friendships; juggling swords. My dyspraxia aside, I feel more comfortable in my own skin, more sure of myself, and more ready to try doing the things I feel trepidatious about, but I know either must be done or I desperately want to do. The peachy pencil represents conquering my fears and proving myself to the only person I need to prove myself to; me.





Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Sweet Kernel Potion



This time of year heralds some of my favourite things; Twin Peaks watching season, warming bowls of food,  woollens, the colour orange in plentiful supply, hunting for mushrooms in the forest, and yes, leaf-peeping. I realise all this makes me sound like a Pumpkin Spice Latte acolyte (I've never touched a drop I swear), but I still think Autumn is somewhat magical.

As yesterday was spent fungi foraging, it seemed apt to include sketches of mushrooms I made last week along with photographs from our family walk in Epping Forest as the diaristic element of last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion.

I finally bit the bullet and started drawing, and the results do not appear to be utterly catastrophic. It reminds me of a page from this visual diary entry and this #secretsofselfpreservation potion from back in March, which was about feeling the fear (of drawing terribly) and doing it anyway.

I drew inspiration from one Ms Hermione Granger and embroidered "Fear of a thing is worse than the thing itself" on to autumnal ribbon. Because it so often is.

The potion's label is from the first page of my altered book What To Look For In Winter. The potion's title is Sweet Kernel Potion, a reference to Keats's To Autumn, and to hope in the face of fear.







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Agency Potion


For the first time in over a month, I'm feeling (somewhat) in control of my life and (somewhat) positive about the future. I am moving towards accepting that I am an artist and a millenial and that consequently it's never going to be easy.

This meant that last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion was a no-brainer. A tutor of mine once described me as being "a bit of a free spirit", which, as a person for whom the phrase "highly strung" would be a polite way of putting it, I found hilarious. But I must concede that going with the flow a bit more would be good for me, and so last week's potion reads "Being mistress of your own destiny is nothing to fear."



Inside the potion bottle is a smaller potion bottle filled with coffee, for reasons best left to myself and my future therapist.

The potion's name, Agency Potion (as in self-determination) is written on the back of my business card, which I like to think of as a metaphorical passport to my future.





 Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Fortitude Potion

One of my favourite young artists, Caitlin Hazell, once scribbled an illustration which read "I'm sad because I'm not Kate Bush". I'm sad at the moment, but I thought that Kate Bush might help rather than making me sadder still.

Therefore, this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion borrows (or do "great" artists steal?) a line from one of her most beautiful songs, This Woman's Work; "I know you've got a lot of strength left." Because I do, despite what even I may believe. I have been in this place before, and I have come out the other side. I will be happy and healthy again, and I will work at it until I am.

Accompanying the words is a tiny LED light, which I thought made a good metaphor for a kernel of hope. It was gifted to me by a lovely lady at a workshop I was involved in at the weekend. More on that later, possibly. 

The concoction is named Fortitude Potion. Fortitude, I am told, is defined as strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage. It might seem a little contradictory to be talking about strength of mind when in fact my mind is so vulnerable. But buried deep inside me is a stubbornness that won't let me give in. That wills me to keep going, like Sylvia Plath's "I am, I am, I am." A little lightbulb, if you will.








 Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.





Keep The Faith Potion

 Still struggling, but still here. Sometimes you have to blindly go forward, hoping and believing that things will get better.

That's why this week's potion reads "It can and it will get better", and that's why it's named "Keep The Faith Potion" (as well as that being a reference to my predilection for Northern Soul).

This week's diaristic element is some electrically conductive fabric, a small amount of which I have been given to play with ahead of an event in which it will play a part next week.






Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

I Get By Potion

I've been struggling lately. And what is the most important thing to do when you're struggling (other than admit it)? Ask for help. Call in the cavalry, get all the help you can get to get back on the ball.

That is what I have been trying to do, and that is why last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion reads "It's ok to ask for help."

I didn't want to include any of the help-getting paperwork in the bottle as I'm feeling so wobbly, so, as last week was eating-out heavy, I included the business card for a lovely local restaurant, Orford Saloon.

"I Get By" is a Beatles reference of course, but also an allusion to the fact that sometimes simply getting by is the best we can hope for.










Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Comparison Will Kill You Potion

As my previous blog post indicates, I have a terrible tendency to to compare myself to others. I really believe this can never end well; I certainly always find myself lacking when I compare myself to other people, particularly other artists.

Perhaps surprisingly, the awe-inspiring Joseph Cornell exhibition mentioned in the previous post didn't lead me to make unfair comparisons between myself and Mr Cornell. It inspired me and spurred me on to make art and not give up. For this reason, I included the ticket from the exhibition as the diaristic element of this week's potion.




The stitched words of the potion read "Not being the Best  being the Worst". As the year has gone on, the words of the #secretsofselfpreservation potions have become less self help happy talk and more straight-talking mantras. And I am happy with that.





Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust

Until yesterday, the most recent exhibition I had been to see was Grayson Perry's Provincial Punk at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. On that wet Sunday afternoon, I left the gallery feeling overwhelmed and underqualified to make art. Following in the footsteps of this country's biggest art star may seem a tall order for a twenty four year old at the very beginning of her career, but I've always had impossibly high standards.

I think part of why I felt so dejected after Provincial Punk is that I can see myself doing similar things to Perry in my work; exploring the lineage of a handicraft with a healthy dose of humour and subversion, and not (at least not initially, in Perry's case) executing this handicraft particularly perfectly; perhaps that's one of the reasons why it's art, not craft? Concept over construction; the ideas are bursting at the seams, the stitches fly as quickly and messily as the thoughts.

I looked at myself and found myself lacking; I should be exhibiting more, I should be selling more work, I should be making more work.

Working almost full time and sometimes at the weekends, even before visiting the exhibition, I had been finding it difficult to locate the motivation to make work. I am still struggling with this somewhat.

Which is why the exhibition I went to yesterday was a welcome godsend. The Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust exhibition is a rather ironic choice for the Royal Academy. When the Academy was founded in 1769 its edict was that "no needlework, artificial flowers, cut paper, shell work, or any such baubles should be admitted". In Wanderlust, cut paper and baubles of all varieties are in much evidence. Admittedly this exhibition occurs in the present day, not the 18th century, so it's reassuring to see that the RA has loosened up somewhat in the intervening two hundred plus years. It's hard not to wonder, however, what the reception of Cornell's work would have been, both now and during his lifetime, had he been a woman. Women of course, as well as the working classes, were precisely whom the Royal Academy intended to bar from their hallowed halls with their proclamation. We see Cornell as alchemist and archivist, visionary and eccentric. Had he been a she, would we have seen her as a frivolous, sentimental, dippy spinster? Certainly it is difficult to separate Cornell's formidable body of work from the aesthetic it spawned. Through the lens of nostalgia this aesthetic is now seen as sentimental, mawkish, twee. It is used to sell everything from records to expensively "shabby chic" pubs and bars.

Joseph Cornell is famed for his boxes, assemblages of bric a brac, artfully arranged but often seemingly thematically unconnected. But when viewed in this retrospective, the mysterious titles of his works begin to shed light on a labyrinthine library of a mind. Because Cornell was a voracious consumer of knowledge. He read everything; from biographies of foreign princes to zodiac charts. He collected papers, documents, photographs and prints of all sorts, from maps to Victorian etchings. These he reassembled into his works, interweaving disparate material and references, creating tangential masterpieces. Cornell's genius is in never quite giving the game away, the full extent of his meaning; he leaves you hungry, as if his hunger for life, knowledge, and even travel across space and time, is infectious.

Wanderlust reminded me to relocate my curiosity; to read for the love of learning; to make for the sake of making, for the joy of it.




No Blueprint Potion

 This #secretsofselfpreservation potion brought to you in collaboration with the city of Glasgow.


In a fairly run of the mill week last week, the most remarkable thing that happened was mine and Pip's stay in Glasgow for the long weekend. We spent four gloriously sunny days in the city, consisting of rose lemonade, real roses and other flora, cocktails, vegetarian junk food, classic films, scouring Glasgow's charity shops, potato scones, running, walking, contemporary art, ancient culture, old clothes, and orange subways. I think it's safe to say that we'll be back!


So the diaristic objects of this week's potion are all artefacts of our holiday, from a leaf which matched our friend's dress to Saturday's subway ticket which matches the national drink of Irn Bru. The embroidered text of the potion reads "You don't have to have it all figured out yet." 

I seem to be having alternate #secretsofselfpreservation weeks of "Try harder"/"It's ok to flail a bit in your twenties"; my indecisiveness even comes out in the potions! But I am hoping a bit of both attitudes at work will keep me sane and well.




 Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Stigma Smashing Potion

Earlier this week I was talking to some people I think of as fairly broad minded. I mentioned a mental health issue because it was relevant to the conversation, and something remarkable happened; there was a sharp intake of breath. It shocked me. Safely ensconced in the bubble of my network of likeminded (in oh so many more ways than one!) people, I forgot the "us and them" mentality of the man or woman on the street; the dichotomy of "we are well, happy and safe - they are mentally ill and dangerous" which fab mental health awareness campaign Only Us wants to dismantle.

There is also something of a hierarchy of mental illness, with depression and anxiety the "acceptable" bottom (the common cold of mental illness, I like to call them) and hearing voices and unusual thoughts and beliefs at the "unacceptable, dangerous" top.

As someone who has rather run the gauntlet of mental health and come out both stronger and more cynical about society's opinions on the matter, I stitched the phrase "Being your authentic self is a revolutionary act" for this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion. But it's not just about blowing my own trumpet; I really believe that anyone being their authentic self is revolutionary. How often in our day to day lives, when asked how we are by a colleague or acquaintance, respond "Fine, thanks", when we are anything but? Or indeed, when we are brimming over with joy.

It's almost as if emotion itself is to be policed, and if it tips too far over into negative or positive, it too is "unacceptable".

I had a conversation with a friend the other week in which we both agreed that learning to accept the fact that we were emotional people was probably a good thing. Better to be emotional and irrational than a scary robot!

This fear of emotion is of course also sexist; the centuries-old binary of man/woman = rational/emotional. This leads to internalised misogyny which I know I myself am guilty of.

I was afforded a professional opportunity to be my authentic self last week, and I was a little shocked when good came from it. But thinking about it, people warm to people who are palpably human; who have perceived "flaws" and are honest about who they are.

To accompany the stitched words, inside the potion bottle I added cut up phrases from the "Wellness and Recovery Plan" I was given by a mental health practitioner when recovering from a period of serious illness. This plan was never mentioned again, and reading it back, the idea that a bubble bath can stop you sliding into paranoia and psychosis is slightly laughable. But the intentions are good, and so I picked a few phrases which seemed pertinent to include; "Ambitions and dreams", "When things are breaking down", and "What I am like when I am well".

The potion is entitled "Stigma Smashing Potion", which is just what I intend to do.







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Making for Change

Craftspace, a crafts development organisation based in Birmingham, has long encouraged social change, from mental health stigma busting through craft to a jewellery making group project intended to give female refugees and migrants sustainable futures. In their latest initiative, Craftspace are bringing social change front and centre. Making for Change will be a social action training programme for 14 - 25 year olds, having their say on the issues that matter to them through craft.

The project kicked off last Saturday with an Inspiration Day at the very swish, gorgeously designed Impact Hub, one of a worldwide series of cutting-edge community spaces for "compassionate,  creative and committed individuals".

I was invited as one of three artists who each gave a drop in workshop and a talk for young people on the day. I chose to focus on my project Apothéké, or #secretsofselfpreservation as it is known on social media. 



Apothéké is a travelling “medicine cabinet” which travelled to the Inspiration Day, which starts conversations about better mental health in a very simple way. I ask participants to stitch one phrase about a way they’ve taken good care of themselves that week, or perhaps a way they could’ve taken better care of themselves, for future reference, on to a ribbon, and keep it in a little bottle to take away with them as a reminder to practice better self care. I call them self care potions, and this year I am stitching one every week. Mine have a little memento of that week in them, too, which you could add later, if you want. But if you’re not a stitcher, you can still get involved; you can tweet, or Instagram, or Facebook, or blog about one simple way you take good care of yourself, and share it via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation.



Craft is good for you. It has been proven to trigger the relaxation response, where your breathing and heart rate become more regular and leisurely, and you get into a meditative state. This is something craftivist Gemma Latham, talking and crafting at the Inspiration Day, knows all about. Whilst the young people hole punched messages with fonts based on cross stitch patterns, Gemma measured their heart rates and fed these into a computer in a way I don't fully understand; coding witchcraft, I think. As their heart rates became steady and consistent (through crafting?) the word "craft" appeared on screen.


 Craft is a good way of meeting likeminded, in more ways than one, people – people reach out to craft, and to the communities it makes, when they are going through life changing, and sometimes difficult, experiences. You will find true friends that way. It is a challenge, it keeps your brain ticking over, puzzling out the best way to make, and it fosters self esteem and pride in your abilities and achievements.

Something I like to do when friends are having a rough time is put together a care package for them, with little gifts I’ve picked up which remind me of them and something I’ve made for them, thinking of them while I stitch it, which will put a smile on their face and, ultimately, let them know I care. Similarly, I’ve found that others in the craft community have really reached out to me when I’ve been down, and let me know that me and my work are appreciated even when I can’t appreciate it myself. 

Craft brings people together – the word textile comes from the Latin “texere”, meaning to weave or bind; thread really does bring people together, and the world wide web, an international interwoven network of “threads”, makes it easier to reach out, and be reached – to create new crafting communities.

All these reasons for crafting, which essentially boil down to craft being good for you and craft being good for others, really sum up for me why effecting social change through craft matters. Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective, who gave a fantastic talk and workshop at the Inspiration Day, defines craftivism as "gentle activism". A quote she used in her talk was Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world"; you have to start with acts of kindness and small changes for yourself before you can make change for others. If you can couple craft being good for you with craft being good for others, I reckon you're on to a winner.


The Personal is Political Potion


As you can tell from these photographs, the garden has been utterly scorched recently. The past couple of days, however, have brought some very welcome rain. This hasn't aided my mood, though; the gloom has impacted on me whilst, like the grass, I'm feeling a little burnt out.

On a happier note, on Saturday I was invited to give a drop in workshop and talk on craftivism/making for change with Craftspace in Birmingham. And so the publicity materials diaristic element of this week's potion, and its title, "The Personal Is Political Potion" came from this event. Soon I will blog all about the day as well.


The words I stitched for the potion address those feelings of gloom, or, more appropriately, dread; they say, simply "It's almost never as bad as you think". I think I will be referring to this potion often; believing these words is something I struggle with daily. Only by starting with small acts of kindness towards myself, such as thoughts like these, can I make change for others.




Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Get Your Nails Did Potion

This week's potion pays homage to Missy Elliott and her seminal track Work It. "If you a fly gal get your nails done, get a pedicure, get your hair did". Currently I can't afford to get my nails done, but I did get my hair did the other day, and between that and cleaning and tidying my bedroom from top to bottom I feel like a whole new woman. 

Due to my work rota I'm finding myself with a lot of extra time on my hands at the moment, and I tend towards thinking that when I'm not working I must be being productive, i.e. making. In the midst of doing this the other day I decided to paint my nails, and took five minutes doing something nice for myself; the entire point of #secretsofselfpreservation. It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to practice a simple act of self care, and so this week's potion reads "Self care takes a second and you don't need to 'earn it'." It is accompanied by a tiny pot of ruby slipper nail polish.







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag ‪#‎secretsofselfpreservation‬, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.


Move On Up Potion

This week brought some bad news. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's to bounce back from disappointments. 

So this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion reads "Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again"; which is exactly what I've done, although I haven't had to start from the very beginning, just to think a bit more creatively. 

On the plus side (hopefully), this week I have also been applying for this year's William Morris Gallery artist's residency. Thus, to accompany the text in the potion is a snippet of possibly Morris's most famous print, "Strawberry Thief".













In the words of Fred and Ginger:


Pine Cone Potion

Pip's correspondingly alliterative nickname for me is "Pine Cone". This is because I once sent him one in the post when I was "pining" for him... here, take this sick bag I prepared earlier. Sorry, we're unbelievably, unbearably twee.

He brought me back three tiny perfect pine cones from a family party this week, so I thought a cone was a good start for this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion. 

I have been struggling a little with self esteem and my sense of who I am this week. Initially I wanted to embroider the simple phrase "Come as you are", but I wanted to dispel any Nirvana associations. 

So I chose to stitch "You're fine as you are", which I'm sure all of us could do with being regularly reminded of. Particularly me.








There are twenty four potions now. Here they all are, clashing fabulously:


Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag ‪#‎secretsofselfpreservation‬, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Stitching #secretsofselfpreservation at home with perfect strangers



On Saturday I arranged all my brightly topped potion bottles, assorted ribbons, thread, scissors, pens and needles ready for a #secretsofselfpreservation stitching workshop as part of the E17 Art Trail. My accompanying exhibition is up in the front window of Venue 68 up to and including this Sunday 14th June. Details are here.


The ladies who joined me were perhaps tentative at first, but we soon shared some very personal stories and lots of self care tips.

One lady chose to embroider the phrase "Drop the filters" on her ribbon, alluding to avoiding both "rose tinted glasses" and "gloomy specs":


The lovely Erin (whose Instagram is well worth a look) named her creation Anti Peer Pressure Potion. In her own words, "Inside is scraps of a job description. On Tuesday I had an interview for a job that I knew I didn't want. The mantra says "Believe that you know what is for you"; my own take on "Trust your gut":





A lovely mother and daughter duo joined me and the three of us had a giggle while struggling with the mystifyingly tiny needles that came in the sewing kit I had bought for the workshop. Their potions read "CCC is good for the soul" (that's Coffee, Cake, and Cycling!) and "Stay Focused":





On Sunday, Sam Merkt came over for a mini workshop and to interview me about my practice as an artist who makes and works at home. Sam is studying at the London School of Economics and writing a dissertation on people who work in their home. A deceptively simple premise, but one with very rich seams; we spoke about everything from making the private public (both in terms of Tracey Emin's bed and hosting an exhibition and workshop in my parent's house), to house husbands, women's voices in the home as yet unheard becoming audible through the internet, the collapse of the welfare state to the rise of surveillance society. It was a fascinating conversation and a very enjoyable stitching session (even if I badly burnt my shoulders sitting in the sun!) and I am fascinated to hear what Sam does next and where her research takes her.






Hopefully I will soon be doing more #secretsofselfpreservation workshops and the project will snowball; Erin is already thinking about what to stitch for this week, so I may have one convert already!





Just Say NO Potion

I finished last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion yesterday (and had completed the majority of it by Saturday evening), but it was a rather hectic weekend, hence why I'm only just blogging about it now.

I am gradually being contacted more about commissions, purchasing work, and doing arts events. It seems surprising somehow that people are parting with their cash for what I do, and it's hard not to a) be overwhelmed and b) say yes to every opportunity.


I am trying to remember that I am a finite resource with a salaried job and there is only so much I can do. It would be wonderful to say yes to every opportunity that appealed to me, whether it was paid or not, but I have to accept that I'm human! I need funds and I also need rest. Occasionally.


It is difficult sometimes, being an artist. You never really get a day off. Then again, that's your choice; you wouldn't do it if you didn't love it, and if you're like me and have a particularly over-active brain, getting those thoughts out into a physical entity can be very helpful, even necessary.

If you start to become a little more well known and success seems to be beckoning, you have to work harder and harder to maintain your standing; it snowballs and you have to hang on for dear life and put your nose to the grindstone.


But you also have to deal with the mundanities of day to day life. With the laundry. With feeding yourself. With feeding pets. With the basics that everyone has to do. And if, God forbid, you would like to occasionally have some down time or let off some steam, you will sometimes have to just say no.


Which is why last week's potion reads "You don't have to say YES to everything."

It's accompanied by the E17 Art Trail logo, as the Trail kicked off on May 30th. I have an exhibition at Venue 68, and this weekend hosted a couple of #secretsofselfpreservation embroidery workshops, which I will blog about over the next few days (I have quite a backlog!)




Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Stitch your #secretsofselfpreservation with me this Saturday 6th June

This Saturday 6th June 2015 I will be leading a free workshop in the living room of Venue 68 in the E17 Art Trail from 4pm.

I invite you to uncork my #secretsofselfpreservation self care potions, and stitch one small way you already do (or perhaps could) take good care of yourself, to take home as a message in a bottle and a reminder to practice better TLC.

To book your free place, email katerolison@googlemail.com

There are 8 places remaining for the workshop.

I hope to see you there!








Fellowship Flag Potion

I think two blog posts in one day is virtually unprecedented; I don't remember doing this (other than for brief announcements) since I posted daily during my final year of university. But I digress.

This week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion is quite a personal one (as if the entire project wasn't personal enough already!) I have been settling into my new job and trying to do the right, responsible, grown-up thing(s) and make the right choice(s). But after a particularly gruelling day this week I went out for burgers and to dance to a Blues Brothers tribute band some mates are in, and it reminded me that it's important to make the most of being young while I still am, too.

That is why this week's potion reads "Adult, but don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders". That's "adult" as in the verb; "to adult". It's a very Web 2.0 term.





This week I handed in an entry to an art competition organised by Uniting Friends some of the young people I work with created. The theme of this year's competition was "Dear Prime Minister", and the young people made a double sided "flag" celebrating what they love about our centre, the legacy of William Morris in our community and building, and showing the way we feel about the cuts and the new government. So it made perfect sense to use snippets left over from the flag as the "potion ingredients" this week. There are offcuts of the fabrics the young people used as a patchwork representation of the centre's logo, including several William Morris prints, and a headline proclaiming "Young adults let down on basic skills"; something we try to reverse, in some very small way, through our work.






Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.