The national Students of Sustainability conference is in our own city this year, and I was asked to present. I did a few things, and one of them was a workshop on craft. Once I started putting together what I thought I might take, my imagination went wild, as it so often does. pretty soon I had made up a stack of mending kits. So many other women’s haberdashery has come my way in the last decade or two, and I have been such an op shopping pack rat–that I have surplus. Tins from my mother-out-law. Tins from gifts. Boxes from lovely stationery. My friend’s Mum’s huge collection of machine sewing thread. Needles from my grandma. Buttons from everywhere including three generations of my own family. When I went looking for the embroidery thread of my childhood, I found there wasn’t much of it, but there was a motherlode of darning wool and leather samples, all in a big tin with a little embroidery equipment and some English piecing left over from a quilt I began in primary school, finished as an adult and gave away the night I finished it–replete with 900, 3 cm squares of treasured fabrics gifted by my mother and grandmother for my fidgety little fingers to work on.
Hopefully these kits will find happy homes with environmental activists whose stashes are not quite as replete as my own–they all went to new homes at the end of the workshop. I took a couple of beanies to give away too. Then I ironed some bunting that spent months in the street and came down when council decided on a permapine barrier to stop cars killing the plantings by the tram line (happiness!). It’s a lesson in colourfastness (in which indigo dyeing beats commercial black dye and dress and quilt fabrics hands down and a second hand sheet fares very well). The attendees had their own ideas about what bunting might be useful for, some of it became patches, flags, a bandanna, a bag and interfacing.
Here I am packed and ready to go. After this I added very warm clothing, and a big thermos of ginger tea with lime leaves and other good ingredients. The basket on the left was apparently made by my Mum’s mother. I borrowed it in Mum’s absence, carrying home fruit, veg and flowers when they were away, and it feels like good company somehow. So I have both grandmas coming with me, dear as they both were. Along came the bundle book in case people wanted to know about the eco dyed fabrics we might stitch on (they sure did! How did you do that? Was asked and answered over and over again as I had leaf-printed fabrics for people to use and enjoy). People also appreciated the very inspiring Little Book of Craftivism.
This enthusiastic participant is modelling one of my beanies as embellished by his Mum. ‘Lock the gate’ is a campaign against fracking in farming land.
A few people learned how to sew for the very first time.
There were some unique pouches and bags… people had some needed gentle time in their big week. A few folk had a nap in the corner at some stage (camping out in the high wind and heavy rain the previous night must have been pretty tough).
I was blessed with the support and company of a friend who is a fabulous maker and activist. She came along as support crew and brought her many fine qualities to the event. And her mending, too!