Self Esteem Elixir Potion


I have never had an over-abundance of self esteem. It's not anyone's fault, except perhaps my own, but I would say that, wouldn't I? In any case, it is something I am constantly working on. I find self help literature and buzz words nauseatingly patronising, so I try to steer clear of that. That's why last week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion reads "Begrudgingly love yourself"; it's not an easy task, and putting myself down comes much more naturally, so I do it with a certain amount of diffidence/resentment.


The words are accompanied by a clothes peg from a performance that was described by The Journal as "A raw and awkward, yet cathartic exploration of what it means to achieve success as a woman… groundbreaking originality and captivating humour ... an outstanding piece of performance art". I would tend to agree with them, though I am slightly prejudiced, as The Main Yvette is the brain child of the performance company Good Punch, one half of whom is my dear friend Rohanne.

Clothes pegs had a starring role in The Main Yvette (which previewed at Rich Mix last night); they were one of many ways of judging the women competing to be "Yvette". The piece merits a full review which I will try to post here whilst it is fresh in my mind, if it's alright with Rohanne before she takes it to the Fringe. Suffice to say, it produced copious joussance laughter, and referenced everything from psychosomatic tics/Freudian female hysteria to Activia: for happy tummies and a happier you™. And I liked it very much.


I have named the potion "Self Esteem Elixir Potion", both in gently mocking reference to such aspirational adverts and in the hope that some more self esteem will come my way soon.


 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.

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!










Doing It Ourselves


Yesterday I went to support my friend and fellow founder of  Stitch Witches Collective Hanecdote at the DIY Cultures Fair at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green.
I’d been to Rich Mix once before, to hear some poetry at their Jawdance open mic night, an evening that really did reflect the cultural diversity of East London, in all its myriad forms (as the Rich Mix aims to with all its programmes). I found myself back there yesterday for a celebration of “all things independent, autonomous and alternative“.
After bumping into everyone from ex-Dartington students to the founder of the Craftivist Collective, I got down to doing what I do best; stitching at a Girls Get Busy X Hanecdote embroidery workshop.
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As you can see, plenty of girls got busy creating their own version of the Girls Get Busy/feminist/Venus symbol. One guy got busy too; my boyfriend Pip made a very valiant attempt at stitching a sunshine yellow symbol.
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I think you can see from the pictures how engrossed everyone was with their DIYing. Hannah’s friend Mollie, a first time embroiderer, made this incredibly cute Venus symbol. I hope she’s proud of her newfound embroidery skills!
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As Pip and I arrived a little late to the fair, I had to finish my patch at home. Inspired by Mollie’s design, I added gold star sequins to my yellow stem stitch symbol:
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I’d love to send the patch to a fellow feminist of a crafty persuasion; if you’d like it, let me know and I’ll send it along in the post free of charge.
OOMK Zine, whose first issue features an article about my experiences of exhibiting in the E17 Art Trail, tabled at the event, and DIY Cultures was co-curated by OOMK founder Sofia Niazi.
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I bitterly regret having run out of money and so not being able to pick up a copy of Sofia’s wonderfully witty and engaging zine Talk To The Scarf, a tribute to her hijab. However, for those of you who are similarly skint, Talk To The Scarf can be seen and read in full over at Sofia’s website.
My favourite new zine I encountered at the event was one which broke free from the normal constraints of the zine format; Indestructible Energy is produced in a print run of one hundred, and is comprised both of original artworks and reproductions. For each run, one hundred copies or one hundred original artworks are produced by the contributing artists for inclusion in the zine. Indestructible Energy is not unique only in being comprised partially of original artworks; it is also an unbound zine which comes wrapped in a screenprinted cloth, lending it the flavour of an archive rather than a publication. Indestructible Energy is also a digital art zine, and some of the reproductions which comprise issue 1 are screenshots from films featured on the zine’s website.
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Shots of Indestructible Energy’s table at the fair
The idea of a zine or archive which allows people to own potentially hundreds of pieces of affordable original artwork really intrigues me, and I will certainly be contributing to issue 2. I don’t think I’ll be completing one hundred embroideries, though! (Well, maybe for issue 3!)
Pip and I stuck around for a talk on DIY Artist Communities, during which Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective spoke passionately and inspirationally about the power of craft as a tool for social change, and the founder of FoodFace, an artist run space in Peckham, reminded us that you actually can’t “do it yourself”; as artists we all need to support one another and come together to make change, and share our work with the world. I am so grateful for the many people present at DIY Cultures yesterday who have accepted me and my work, and helped to share it with a wider audience. Both Hannah and myself were so inspired by what we saw and heard, and can’t wait to turn Stitch Witches zine into a print reality. Watch this space.