13 Feb Holly’s crafter-thoughts: Learning to be a tortoise
Written by new craftivists Holly Welsh
Have you ever scrolled down your Twitter feed, or sat down for the six o clock news (yes, people do still do that) and seen how many terrible things are happening in the world and just felt totally powerless? Incensed, guilty about your own situation, or worst of all, completely numb? Often the strongest emotion I can muster is an internal ‘urgh’. But then one day I was gifted a tiny miracle. Someone pressed into my hand a little crafting kit, which according to the packaging was created “with courage and care” by some people called the Craftivist Collective. It was a couple of pieces of green fabric, a needle and thread. It encouraged the lucky recipient to create a green heart to celebrate something about this wonderful world for which they are particularly grateful. Intrigued, I sat down with a cup of tea, stuck my headphones in and started to stitch. The pack contained step-by-step instructions for making a green heart upon which you stitch the name of something you love about our world. The instructions begin by urging you to ‘be the tortoise’, referencing the classic Aessop’s animal fable which coined the phrase ‘slow and steady wins the race’. Take time, and empty your mind of everything except your crafty task.
The first ten minutes I just felt frustrated at my terrible handiwork. I totally messed up my stitching of the word ‘chocolate’ (which is of course the reason I love this world and incontrovertible proof of the existence of God). I had to unpick my terrible stitching and start from scratch. But, drawn in by the possibilities these little pieces of fabric presented, I persevered. An hour later, I was looking down at a neat little green heart, sides bound together by blanket stitch (which I’d never used before) and emblazoned with the word ‘chocolate’. I felt a real sense of achievement, and an unexpected calm. And if anything, having to go back and start from scratch was the most important moment. It made me stop- and I mean really stop- and think about what I was doing. I guess I knew from the outset that I was creating a heart to show the love for our amazing planet, but it wasn’t until I really stopped that I could emotionally connect once again to the miracle that is this pale blue dot.
This made me realise that so much of my mental and emotional energy is expended in this frantic process of forward motion. I go from one thing to the next, determined to keep doing, keep moving, keep achieving. This frenetic act of doing is for me spurred on by my anxieties and my need to please everyone around me. With quiet grace, this simple task had reminded me that it doesn’t have to be that way.
The true gift embroidered within my green heart was the opportunity to stop and realise that true compassion has to start with self-care. To quote some anonymous but deeply wise person, we are human beings, not human doings. And we have to get back to our humanity if we are to connect with those with which we share this one, precious earth. Those whom we may only ever know through television, photographs and film, but with whom we are connected through struggle, through protest and through compassion.
This is what my little green heart taught me. In the process of being the tortoise, I rediscovered the slow wonder of being a human.
Thank you, Craftivists!
A Heart For Your Sleeve
A hand-stitched green heart can help remind us all to protect our beautiful world and secure a safer future for the next generation of crafters. Stitch what you love about the world on your sleeve in support of The Climate Coalition’s #fortheloveof campaign.
- Felt heart and banner (made from post-consumer plastic bottles)
- Fabric heart (upcycled)
- Badge back
- Embroidery thread
- Detailed instructions
- Tips & message ideas
- Crafter-thought questions to reflect on whilst stitching
- Craftivist Collective label
- plus 2 free little gifts for you x
Use with courage and care.
Made ethically in the UK, each item you buy comes with 2 free stickers through the post.
All profits go to help sustain and grow the collective’s activities to engage people in craftivism and support people to be the change they wish to see in the world. Win win!
Items will be shipped within 3 business days.
You can return your unwanted items for refund, please ensure they are returned within 15 days of delivery.
“My Craftivism” is a series: We love hearing what benefits they see in craftivism, what their ‘crafter-thoughts’ where whilst stitching & what they are going to do with the project they have joined in with. It can really inspire us all, challenge us and hopefully get us all thinking about what is effective craftivism and how we can help each other be the best craftivists and global citizens we can be. If you would like to share your craftivism piece or event with us please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info
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