We've just passed the milestone of a year since lockdown in response to the global pandemic. There are many stories about how creative people have been during this time; baking bread, writing a memoir, studying for a degree or making ends meet.
We've also needed to navigate a more isolated daily life and nurture our wellbeing. I'm grateful the joy of creativity helped sustain me and nourished my soul. It also brought joy to the people I care about, near and far.
Here are a few reflections from the journey. If you love handmade cards check out the collection here. If you know your wellbeing needs support or are developing your business, book a discovery call...
Step #1 Be in the Flow
Over Christmas 2019 I travelled to the Islands of Harris and Lewis, the Outer Hebridean home of Harris Tweed® cloth. I love the vibrant colours and slightly rough texture. I admire the weaving and crofting way of life that has passed down through the generations. These welcoming folk live by sustainable values of a bygone era that the world deeply needs more. The landscape was wild and windswept, the beauty apparent even in winter.
I returned home with a small bag of remnants. I had no idea what to make, I simply loved the cloth. As a family we've always exchanged cards however I wasn't really into crafting as a child. The first handmade card with Harris Tweed® was definitely kindergarten 101. The greeting nourished my friend though on a healing journey in the US. Being in the flow of life and open to the unknown can unleash our creativity.
Step #2 Listen Deeply
Our creativity contains untapped potential. My strengths aren't in creating collage landscapes or finely sewn designs, we each have our unique talents though. Somehow I came across die cuts - small metal patterns that cut shapes from cards. The first one arrived in the post and I pressed it against the card. What am I going to do with that I wondered, it doesn't work! When I discovered the Sizzix die-cutting machine a whole world opened up...
A friend in the office next door saw the swirling heart design with the bright red of Harris Tweed® cloth. "Ooh I'd like to send one for Valentines Day," she said. "How much is that?" I offered it as a gift and embraced the positive feedback. Sharing this delight, a friend ordered one for someone special they'd met recently. Cupid was at play and they've just moved in together! My mum has become one of my greatest fans and honestly it's been an unexpected gift of the craft. Here was a way we could connect more deeply. Listening to messages from all around will keep us on track and encourage us along. It's important to test the market and refine our designs before expanding too quickly.
Step #3 Nurture Wellbeing
Our inner wisdom knows when aspects of life need to change. My role as network weaver connecting transformational communities around the world had become mostly virtual. I was growing tired of that medium and needed a more tactile experience. The cards were a creative meditation and tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit. An opportunity was unfolding to supplement my income, nurture my wellbeing and nourish others too.
I'm a traveller at heart and one of the gifts of lockdown was deepening into the sense of place. Being settled without overseas travel I borrowed a sewing machine from a friend and slowly found my way with simple projects. The in person classes were cancelled and books and online videos have been a treasure trove of tips. After practising with other fabrics, I've cut the cloth for my first Harris Tweed® cushions co-ordinating beautiful turquoise colours. It feels nurturing to create a sense of home and also share handmade gifts.
Step #4 Keep Evolving
As sales increased it was important to keep income and expenses in mind. I realised I was too generous in my social enterprise model and it wasn't viable! I needed to value my time, keep refining the design process and share my joy with the cards. On our next visit to Harris and Lewis we enjoyed meeting a third generation weaver, Iain Martin from Seaforth Harris Tweed.
Iain immediately expressed interest in the cards and now has a selection on display for visitors to his croft. The universe confirmed this was their home when we discovered he'd woven the cloth of my Harris Tweed® jacket purchased in Stornaway on our earlier visit! Iain recommended I reach out to the Harris Tweed Authority. I'm now proudly registered as an Artisan, honouring their role to protect and promote the Harris Tweed® brand across the world. It all came from being in the flow...
Step #5 Keep Believing
Weaving the Love cards are inspired by the spirit of Findhorn, my home base for ten years. They grew out of the Angel of Creativity which I received during the community ritual of the Solstice Meditation prior to my first visit to the Outer Islands. You can read more about the Angel Cards here.
In 'normal times' international visitors would fill the community year round and I sensed the cards would sell like hot cakes. Iain would have bus loads of visitors to his croft and the cards would be a reminder of their visit. In actual times, few of us are travelling. There's an even greater need to reach out to the ones we love, express our care, post a handwritten note and say "I'm thinking of you." We're all interconnected. Let's share the love.
You might like to reflect on the five aspects above and journal three ways you're living each step, or new ways you could be...
- Tags: Angel Cards, Creativity, Harris and Lewis, Harris Tweed, Harris Tweed Authority, Harris Tweed® cards, Iain Martin Seaforth Harris Tweed, Wellbeing