Category: making

making as storytelling

I am increasingly finding myself drawn to the conclusion that the act of making is also an act of storytelling. A quiet and considered conversation held between material & maker, as an idea slowly comes into being. Once that idea has become material, that conversation then continues to flow, beyond the maker & the walls of the studio, out into the world.

My intention for this place, is to tell some of those stories. The tales of what I make, but also how that making enables me to enter into conversations with the world around me, weaving connections with the land base I currently find myself in and the people & animals that populate it.

A handmade mohair bear, held tenderly by the hand of it's maker

As a toymaker, there is also an inevitable biographical aspect to my work, as I cannot help but reach deep inside myself finding inspiration in memories & lived experiences. And so over time, I’m sure there will also be stories told about those parts of me that inevitably get woven into my making too.

Within these pages (and also my monthly letters) you will find honest words written from the heart. My thoughts on intentionally slow & sustainable making, my passion for natural fibres (especially wool) and the gentle rhythm that brings the light & shade to our days, shaped by the seasons and guided by a desire to do more with less.

It is my sincere hope that this place will also allow for conversations to open up between me & you. It has been many, many months since I last had the desire, time or energy to regularly sit down and write. And so whilst I’m settling in here & finding a rhythm that suits, you can also spend some time in the other places where I also tell my stories, most especially through photography & video.

I’m looking forward to coming here again soon,

Fran x

start where you are

I wake early.

Week by week, the nights are slowly getting a little less disturbed. A little more restful. So today I can creep from the darkness & the warmth of the family bed, knowing I am as rested as I’ll manage for this morning.

On tiptoe, I creep down the stairs, into the spare room and turn on the lamp. The project I was working on last night is still laying out patiently on the work table. Beside it, my wheel is also waiting. A bobbin half full with a cloud of fibres hanging in the air.

Not knowing how long I’ll have, it’s hard to know where to begin. Ideas flutter around my head like butterflies. I leave the sewing & the spinning untouched and instead reach to my notebook. The one with all the lists. And scribbled ideas. There is so much I am aching to do. But there seems to be no time. No energy. No right moment to get started.

Then I remember something I heard a few weeks back. About how there is indeed never a “right” moment to start anything. So instead of never getting started, it’s all about taking that first step right now. Starting where you are, wherever you are.

He stirs in his sleep, the bed creaks and after a moment I hear “MAMA” calling out. I drop what I was doing and dash back up the stairs, sinking back beneath the woollen blankets. The warmth of his little body warming mine on this foggy morning in early January.  After we have snuggled for a while, the day will begin with all it’s toddler energy & pace: there will be breakfast which will leave me mopping up spilt tea and trying to wipe crumbs and egg from the floor & table. Then we will play, and the floor will be covered in all the elements needed to create this morning’s particular playscape. Cushions will be pulled from the armchair, the little quilt dragged from the bed and soon wooden animals, teddies and a tea pot will be strewn across our living room. By mid morning I’m forcing a comb through my bedraggled hair, trying to make the best of myself without the shower I am so craving. I look at myself in the mirror, with the tired eyes and the stain on my t-shirt and wonder if this really is the moment. Even with the help of my partner, it is not always easy to find time and energy beyond the caring responsibilities I have at the moment. Caring for my boy. Caring for my partnership.Caring for my health.

It’s so easy at times like this to sink into a spiral of negative feelings: guilt, low self esteem, embarrassment. But today, I am resolved. Resolved that yes indeed, now is the time to start.

So here I am: with a toddler grabbing at my skirt, crumbs on the floor waiting to be swept and a deep resolve to give it a go. It won’t be perfect, but then when is anything ever perfect these days? I gave up aspiring to perfect long ago. Instead these days I try to find joy & beauty in the mess and the crumples, the tiredness and the tears. If I can somehow craft things of beauty from the mess on my work table, then I’m sure it must be possible to do the same with my life.

Consider this an intention to get started, properly sometime very soon. And also to begin some wild & wonderful adventures in sustainable creativity. All be it at a deliberately slow pace.