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My (Craft) Life in Lockdown

In the last 3 months we’ve all witnessed monumental changes on a global scale. It feels like the alarm clock’s going off at full volume. Some people are just getting up, some are hitting snooze and some were never asleep, but

it’s definitely time to wake up.

In the first few weeks of lockdown, as the shutters closed around me, I felt I was sleepwalking my way through endless foggy days, occasionally discovering clear patches of bright lucidity in my highly filtered day dreams.

I’ve always been a hyper focused day dreamer, living so much in my head that the boundary between the real and the imaginary is hard to locate. So as the world unfolded on my screens as a stream of apocalyptic premonitions I found myself retreating further into my fictional world of kaleidoscopic pattern and colour.

 

That’s why teaching is so important to me. It’s my interface connecting me with the ‘real’ world and why for so long I’ve insisted that my work is delivered, not through instant digital downloads, but through real life interactions with people. Lots of people. People that bring the outside world to me with their stories, characters and humanity.

For me, a design is brought to life when I share it with others. It’s the real time conversations around it, watching it take on new identities as other engage with it, rework it, play with it and make it their own. It’s this dynamic group engagement that’s my end game – not simply the act of making a beautiful product and writing a pattern for it.

But things are different now.

Throughout lockdown, through necessity and the need to keep myself busy with ‘a project’, I’ve been exploring the world of remote teaching and interacting with a wider, global audience .

Crojoretro is my ongoing lockdown crochet project and it’s making me reconsider and think deeply about many things. How I work, why I work, who I work with and what I make are all under close scrutiny right now, not just by myself, but by the new audiences I’ve attracted who are watching me inch my way through new territory. It’s scary. And I like it!!

Bottom left image credit: Sandy Rivarola

Before COVID 19 I made my living delivering courses,  workshops and retreats and whilst many of my courses were cancelled as a result of lockdown, some of them continued online and it’s been such a tonic to meet up regularly and see the progress everyone’s made. It certainly hasn’t worked for everyone, and there’s a frustration that comes with not being able to really ‘see’, or handle the work being made – but for some people it’s been easier, with no car journey and no lost (crochet) hours spent behind the wheel.

In many ways it’s more inclusive with the added advantage that you can ‘come as you are’  with the chaos of real life continuing around you.

An online course could never replace the ‘real life’ experience of meeting as a group in a  local yarn shop.

You can’t beat that thrill of walking into an Aladdin’s cave stacked floor to ceiling with beautiful yarns and  feeling the quality and textures of the different fibres.

A craft workshop in an inspiring environment stimulates so many different senses and we experience and interpret the world through more than just the visual and aural.

And –  wherever you go, there you are;  we can’t run our real selves through a filter.

But, the internet is there to connect us. It’s awe inspiring to imagine working with people scattered all over the globe, and I think I’m finally ready for it.

I’m so excited to be piloting Homage to the (Granny) Square online this Autumn.

and if it’s successful I’ll follow this up with my Wallflowers course.

Places will be limited on these courses and if you’d like to receive full details as soon as they’re available you can email me directly here: sue@themercerie.co.uk or register for my newsletter and send me a message  – I’m putting together a ‘Homage VIP’ mailing list!

So – as I look back over recent weeks and acknowledge the huge changes, the traumas and sacrifices that have taken place I can’t run this episode through a rose tinted filter –  I can only do what I’m genuinely driven to do and hope that some of you will continue to join me in my daydreams…..

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