DIY Cultures the Third


I'm currently experiencing a bit of a come-down from the weekend. Not for any chemical reasons, but because on Sunday DIY Cultures happened. It was the third DIY Cultures at Rich Mix and my third year there, but it was my first time with my own table, although I was the next door neighbour of the radiant Hanecdote. Here we are all set up:





This year was particularly frenetic, with over four thousand people attending. Unfortunately the busyness made it difficult to focus on the talks, which were on everything from arts education cuts to gender and technology. But the conversations I had with passersby, customers, and interested parties were equally as fascinating.

I spoke to the founder of an online publishing house and to a woman who hand stitches protest banners, to name but a few. And I sold out of Treasures For Your Troubles zine! I will be making it available to print-by-order online in the next few weeks.

There was a wonderful atmosphere at DIY Cultures; relaxed, and genuinely friendly, with none of the reserve one typically associates with the British. It was a summery day, and visitors had dressed accordingly; Hannah and I kept commenting to each other how gorgeous everyone looked.

I spoke to the lady presiding over Alternative Press's stall, where their project A Room of One's Own was features. AROOO, as it is abbreviated, focuses on "social housing, not social cleansing", and the effects of gentrification and "regeneration" on local working class and low income families and single parents. On the importance, which Virginia Woolf recognised, of having your own space for creativity. I will be following the project's development with interest.


A lovely woman bought my last fox brooch and immediately pinned it to her bag. We had quite a chat about the beauty of foxes.


Last but not least we met the man we referred to simply as Zine Man. He was, as you might have guessed, covered in zines; he swapped his own for ones for sale at the fair, and pinned them to his clothes and hat.


I couldn't stop smiling all day; here's to another three years of DIY Cultures. Long may it live.



Participate Potion

Yesterday at DIY Cultures I had so many fascinating conversations with fellow creatives. I also made a bit of cash! It reminded me of the importance of participation and networking. And so, this week, I have simply stitched the phrase "Turn up" (because decisions are made by those who do!) for #secretsofselfpreservation. I accompanied the words with the last Stitch Witch badge left over from the fair, as a memento of the perfect end to my 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.

DIY Cultures

I'm still buzzing from tabling at my first ever DIY fair at the weekend. My dear friend Hannah Hill invited me to share a table and give her a hand at the second ever DIY Cultures Fair at the amazing East End cultural space, Rich Mix, and I was only too happy to oblige.

Hannah was selling a variety of her wares, from stickers to her Ghoul Guide patches to little ghostly brooches (I just had to snap one up at the earliest opportunity!) as Hanecdote. I joined her as Poesie Grenadine, displaying my pop feminist/body positive lino patches for sale.


I must say I think our products looked very cute together, in their colourful array. And, if it's not too smug to say, we looked pretty darn cute too, Hannah in her sugary tough girl get-up and me in my Ghoul Guides dress, bedecked in patches.


Even if I hadn't sold anything, I still would've had a lovely day; it's always a pleasure hanging out with Hannah and her hilarious boyfriend Gerrard, and Pip came along to watch the stall whilst Han and I listened to a talk about anti-capitalist fashion. The talks were really interesting and varied; from "De-colonize It Yourself" to alternative mental health care and the difficulties of trying to shop ethically. Lots of varied views to listen to while we presided over our produce!

Uber-cute Poesie Grenadine business cards that I gave out at the Fair.


It was great to meet other makers and have some chats about mutual interests. I've been watching my pennies a bit lately, but I picked up two zines; the first issue of Hysteria: A Collection of Feminisms, partially for the name and partially due to the fascinating conversation I had with one of the women running the stand, and Poems Underwater: essays and photographs from mermaid haunts around the east of England. I've been reading this zine today, whilst bedecked in my Caitlin Shearer dress, and it is quite unlike anything else I've ever read. Very inspiring.


One of the babes who picked up one of my most popular patches (Thunder Thighs Are Go, of course!) posted a picture of their haul on their Tumblr.
How fab does all that look?!

Speaking of fab, my adorable little Ghoul Guide takes pride of place on my Suzy Bishop dress.


A wonderful day of positivity, with a really strong, engaged female presence; I felt proud to be a woman, and an artist and maker on Sunday, and it's good to hold on to and remember that when there have been such atrocities committed against women recently, from the Nigerian school girls to the women gunned down in sheer misogyny in America over the last few days. If we can, through the phrases on our hand-crafted creations, engender pride in one's womanhood, if we can motivate, come together to create and talk and protest, then we are in some small way standing up to such horrors. We are women, and we will not be silenced.

Independent Women - selling my wares at the DIY Cultures Fair this Sunday

I've spent all day printing over thirty five lino cut patches from the comfort of my loft, with 6Music playing, bedecked in my pyjamas so my pretty dresses didn't get covered in ink.

This is all in aid of the DIY Cultures Fair at Rich Mix in Shoreditch on Sunday, where I will be sharing a table from 12 - 7 with my dear friend Hannah Hill, the designer/artist behind Hanecdote, an indie label that produces everything from silk screened feminist tees to badass Ghoul Guide embroidered patches. It's fair to say I'm a little bit excited about this opportunity. Below are the linocuts I will be selling at the event. Hope to see you there!