the difference you make: never forget it

It is often said that the simplest ideas are often the most effective- the ones that look to answer a seemingly small need often make the most profound difference to people’s lives.

The corollary to this is that the smallest problems (or so they might seem from the outside) can be the most insuperable barriers to progress, and that’s where this post comes in.

I was all set to write some vaguely amusing fluff about my latest supply embargo, and then this article from the Grauniad stopped me in my tracks.

Girls and women in Uganda, because they cannot afford sanitary products, are enduring physical discomfort, missing school and worse, are being physically and sexually exploited by boys for money and supplies.

Imagine. The usual discomfort of menstruation, complicated by the lack of appropriate sanitary products, the medical problems caused by using unsuitable products and the shame.. like anyone else reading this, I am completely aghast.

It is possible to take specific action through campaigns like Dignity! Period, which campaigns and fundraises for women in Zimbabwe, and through the Katine campaign. I will use the money I save on supplies in this coming embargo to donate and will otherwise spread the word. (By the by, here is the most recent update from ACTSA.)

Could you imagine the difference made to a woman halfway across the world by just having the proper supplies on hand? The difference to her health, to her mental wellbeing and her life circumstances overall.

I wondered about writing this on what is supposed to be my craftyblog, but it strikes me as somewhat artificial to section off these things as blog-appropriate or blog-inappropriate. I’ve spoken before about the three Rs and ethical auditing- why should my blog be a craft-only space when my choices for WaterMemory are based on far more than that?

In that vein, I’ve taken the decision to relocate posts from my ethical living blog here. (Don’t be surprised if some old posts show up at various points- I’m keeping it chronological, baybee.)

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oh Mefi, how do I love thee?

On a note related to my previous post, I posted a question over at Ask Metafilter looking for unusual, obscure and plain weird crafts I could try.

I love Metafilter- a rich, dusty attic of a site (or group of sites, rather), full of posts themselves filled with the beautiful, silly, obscure, interesting, well-executed. And that’s before I even trawl the ‘craft’ posts..

One of the members who contributes most on crafting is orange swan. A cursory look at her posts on crafting uncovers many treasures, to the point where I appear to be her stalker. Yes, appear. It’s not like I’m in her wheelie bin, scavenging for-

Where was I? Right. Metafilter good, death threats not quite as good.. death threats? Seriously? On this one, I really liked what taz had to say:

Can a gorgeous hand-woven shawl made from handspun yarn be as beautiful as an achingly poignant poem, or painting, or film? To me, yes. And bad work is as bad as other bad work… and equally snark-worthy.

By being as willing to snark about craftwork as anyone else is about other commercial artistic pursuits, I think that Jacquilynne was actually honoring this particular field of creativity more than those who feel that they are above affording it any serious attention at all.

take me wayback!

I have been agog at the wonders of the Internet Archive lately- it is rich with inspiration for your humble crafter. I mean, did you know Wallachia had its own style of embroidery? I could see this making a comeback..

Spare me your mocking laughter, Other Internet Users- I know that in savvy terms I am but an infant, but I’m a happy infant splish-splashing around in the waters of Wayback. (Now there’s a metaphor stretched beyond breaking point..)

the power behind the throne, part one

As many of you reading will know, I live life between country and city, dividing my time between the capital and Tipperary aka The Motherland. At the moment, that division is very much weighted towards the city, which makes me treasure my time in Tipperary all the more.

I think it’s time that I introduce you to the ones who make it all possible- the unsung, behind-the-scenes types who inspire me and who mould me with their critiques and patience. If you thought that the jewellery, bags and cards were the work of one demented, plier-wielding, Jaffa Cake-crumb spewing person, it is time to introduce you to the ones who make it happen.

On my recent trip back home, I managed to stop a few of them for a wee chat. Let’s meet them, shall we?

Continue reading “the power behind the throne, part one”

so many crafts, so little time..

“So much to do, so little done, such things to be.”- Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

I’m not usually one for Tennyson, but in that one line, he summed up one of the main double-edged swords of the human experience. That drive to do, to see, to experience is wonderful, for sure- but one is always left with the feeling that there is so much more to do and so little done.

I saw this quote the other day, but on seeing it again, the mind turns to matters crafting. (How’s that for a segue?) All the crafts I’ve never tried- isn’t it time I got started on that list? Here are just some of the ones I’ve discovered that look intriguing, as well as links to artists who have made the technique their own.

WaterMemory’s Steadily Growing List of Craft Techniques to Try (Pardon The Excess of Wiki Links)

tatting: look at the beautiful results in this Etsy shop!

kumihimo: as seen in Bead & Button recently

quilling: again, an Etsy shop sees amazing results

chainmaille (or chainmail?): another gorgeous shop

– ceramics: look at the use of colour here! Beautiful stuff

– lace-making: I particularly like the Bruges style and picked up a couple of samples when I was there

– book-binding: brilliant tutorial here