What now?

What now

 

I’ve been a bit quiet of late. Like many I’m feeling the exhaustion of the last couple of weeks and as I’m a grown up I’ll of course admit to my own stupidity in reposting something that caused hurt to many. For that I’m truly sorry.

I didn’t take the time to truly process the content of the post in full and for someone trying to be more mindful, the sad irony of NOT being mindful in this particular case isn’t lost on me. But rather than do a post mortem of the situation and potentially cause more harm please be assured; I have learned from my hasty reposting and will never make that mistake again. 

My IG account was started as a simple way to connect with people, talk a bit about my work, and share any other random parts of my life (hence all the food posts). What it’s turned into is a platform from which I still share those things along with what I’ve become passionate about over the last year; mainly the lack of BIPOC representation in OUR fibre community. 

I don’t claim to speak for all BIPOC. When I speak, I do so for the only BIPOC whose opinion I know better than any other – myself. But it’s important that every BIPOC working in the fibre community is recognised, valued and celebrated as much as their white peers so I’ll continue to do this both from a personal perspective with my @jeanettesloan account, and more widely as @bipocinfiber. 

I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the last week or so and realise I need to make a number of changes in my life, both on and offline. Part of what I’ve missed on IG is some of the lighter, funny content I feel we all need in order to bear the weight of the intense, painful, dreary, shitty stuff that life throws at us day to day. This may seem trivial to some but I feel there needs to be both light and shade to achieve some kind of balance in my life. 

So moving forward and inspired by my friend @ateliermajesta here’s what you can expect from me:

I’ll always treat people with respect and kindness because that’s how I was raised and would appreciate that everyone does the same when leaving comments here or on Instagram. Because if anger and confrontation are the baseline from which everyone in this community chooses to behave how are we meant to communicate, learn, interact and grow?

I’ll be much more mindful of what I repost and won’t do so unless it’s on behalf of or connected to someone with whom I have a personal or professional relationship or about a social / health issue which has affected me personally.  If in any doubt I will not repost.

I’ll continue to celebrate the work of people I admire and of course I’ll always promote the work of BIPOC in our community as it’s long overdue and very important. 

I don’t tolerate racist views or behaviour, will never condone them and will call them out when needed.

As a BIPOC designer I always think carefully about those with whom I collaborate and whose products I use for my work. I don’t work with anyone without first establishing a relationship of trust and respect.

Expect to see more posts about food I’ve cooked, exhibitions I’ve visited and generally anything that brings joy to my life. I’ve missed it and I need it.

I have caring responsibilities and health issues which mean I sometimes have to take breaks from social media. Please bear these in mind if I don’t immediately respond to your comments or DM. I will get back to you. 

 

J x

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Yarningham 2019

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This weekend Birmingham’s very own fibre festival is back for it’s 4th year.

It takes place in the Uffculme Centre, a former home to the famous Cadbury chocolate family located in between the areas of Moseley and Kings Heath.

As well as the the usual opportunities to learn new skills from renowned tutors like Karie Westermann who’s teaching ‘Knitting the Landscape’ there’s also a chance to ‘Stitch Your Own Notebook’ with local designer maker Helen Wilson. If you’ve missed out on tickets for either of these classes don’t worry there’s plenty of other ways to feed your fibre addiction.

The marketplace is where you’ll find lots of stalls to spend your hard earned cash, it’s ticketed but you’ll find more details on the website (details below). While you’re there check out the Yarningham merchandise – love the Donald and Boris badges – and the official brochure which includes exclusive designs by Jiminez Joseph (a BIPOC designer)  and Rebecca Milton.

There’ll be demonstrations of various fibre crafts by the Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, a knitting surgery run by the Knitting & Crochet Guild for anyone with a knitting dilemma and a raffle in aid of local charity RSVP (Rape and Sexual Violence Project). They work with survivors of sexual violence and abuse, aiming to help victims cope with trauma and rebuild wellbeing, confidence and hopefulness so it’s an amazing cause and the prizes are fantastic. And, should all that learning and yarn stash enhancement get too much there are refreshments too; including lots of cake, just in case you need a sugar hit.

I don’t routinely write about yarn festivals but in the light of the work I’m doing to highlight BIPOC working in the fibre community this one is particularly relevant. 

Co-founded four years ago by Sara Fowles – a woman of colour – and Helen Winnicott it’s the only fibre festival, of which I’m aware, that’s had a BIPOC influence from the outset. This makes it particularly important, unusual and ahead of many others in it’s awareness and efforts to be welcoming and inclusive to BIPOC visitors as well as, of course, to non BIPOC attending their show. Curated and run by Sara, Helen and the Stitches & Hos crew they are very keen not to subscribe to the snobbery of knitting being the superior craft with all types of crafts being celebrated and are inclusive in their selection of vendors and accessibility both in terms of venue and transport links. 

I really wish I could have made it along to the show this weekend but unfortunately I’ll miss out but you never know, perhaps next year….

Sara, Helen, Venetia, Lilith and the rest of the team – I’m sending my love, have an amazing show. 

And if you you’re visiting show have the best time and spread some love while you’re there.

J x 

For more information visit the website www.yarningham.co.uk