Post EYF 2019

This time last week I was in Scotland getting ready for Edinburgh Yarn Festival and although I arrived home on Monday evening I found it so exhausting that it’s taken me this long to gather my thoughts on how it went. Being a first time visitor to the show there was a certain amount of anticipation but as I was also sitting on the Diversity and Inclusion panel held on the last day of the festival there was of course a lot of added pressure. Oh yes I forgot I’d also written this.

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As part of the Wool:press guide to the festival event organisers Jo & Mica created a double page feature highlighting POC working in the fibre community many of whom they’d found through the list of POC Designers & Crafters I started last year. I was honoured to be asked to write the introduction to the piece as I hope it added context for anyone not on social media who previously may not have aware of the discussion.  

To be honest I met and spoke to so many people that Saturday was a bit of a blur for my already fried brain to remember everyone I actually spoke with. Plus time went so quickly that I actually forgot vendors wouldn’t be there the following day which accounts for me attending such a big yarn event having bought NOT ONE HANK OF YARN…….AT…..ALL! 

Yes I know what you’re thinking….. I wouldn’t have thought it possible either. My only bit of EYF swag came courtesy of the lovely and talented @julietillyflop from whom I bought a selection of her brilliant and witty cards whilst we had a good chat about the lack of BIPOC representation in our community. 

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Ok so I need to rewind a little bit. At the start of the show a small group of us had arranged to meet in front of @mahliqwire’s stand for something of a BIPOC photocall. As you can see it’s a wonderful shot for many reasons. For a start I’ve never seen so many BIPOC / POC faces at any UK yarn event I’ve attended so it truly was a beautiful thing to be a part of this picture. Secondly, we’d been chatting so much online it was lovely to actually meet in person so there was a lot of hugging going on but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to spend any time actually sitting and chatting together. Never mind, fingers crossed there’s always the next festival. 

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The rest of Saturday was spent catching up with lots of folk, some from my days living in Edinburgh others I’d never met before and whilst I’d love to tell you everyone I met you could do without reading a list which resembles a fibre themed Oscar acceptance speech. 

What I can tease you with is that there is exciting news to come; some very soon so watch out for future blog posts and some later on in the year.

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Aimee Gille from @labeinaimee
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Cecelia Nelson-Hurt @creativececi
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Sopha Cai @sophiatron

 

The big event at EYF on Sunday was the Diversity and Inclusion panel in which I took part with Sophia Cai @sophiatron, Aimee Gille @labienaimee and moderator Cecilia Nelson-Hurt @creaticececi. For anyone who wasn’t already aware this was a pretty big deal given the current discussions surrounding racism in the fibre community and the lack of diversity and representation of BIPOC in knitting. The panel was a ticketed event which took place on Sunday morning and although priority was given to BIPOC I was really pleased to see there were also many non BIPOC faces in the audience. It may sound odd but there was no point having this discussion with only non white crafters in attendance, after all there’s no point preaching to the choir.  As the event was professionally videoed for later release I won’t go into detail about what was discussed but what I will say is that it seemed to be well received. As soon as the video is available to view I’ll let you know. With all the controversy about Kate Davies not speaking at EYF this panel was convened at pretty late notice so Jo & Mica should be congratulated on what they managed to achieved in such a short amount of time. I do hope however that as was mentioned by someone in the audience they won’t feel it’s ‘business as usual’ when selecting vendors for next year’s EYF. The issue of BIPOC representation in the fibre community isn’t just a 2019 hashtag or trend. I really want to see change. 

Enjoy the rest of my rather random Edinburgh highlights and please excuse any poor grammar, still recover from a migraine. Oh and sorry there’s not more yarn porn, but there is food porn

 

J x

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Diversity and inclusion at EYF 2019

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This time next week I’ll be travelling up to Scotland for my first Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Initially I hadn’t planned on visiting the show but a couple of opportunities arose which made it a good excuse to combine these meetings with seeing some of our non knitting friends. (As for who I’m meeting, can’t say, sorry!) Plus going to EYF meant I could basically drool my way around the Corn Exchange at a fibre event which started after Sam and I relocated to the south coast. What I hadn’t envisaged was being asked to be part of a panel discussion on  Diversity and Inclusion taking place on Sunday the final day.

Those of you already aware of the current conversations about racism and the lack of diversity in the knitting community will know that this was arranged to replace the scheduled speaker, Kate Davies who unfortunately had to withdraw due to ill health. I’m sorry that she won’t be speaking and I genuinely wish her well.

The discussion about racism in knitting is both difficult and uncomfortable. It takes many of us out of our comfort zones and forces us to look within and examine how we humans behave towards each other. Or at least that’s what it should be doing. If we as BIPOC (Black & Indigenous People Of Colour) / POC are to see ourselves represented in the fibre community we need to be able to have open, honest and respectful conversations about the racism within it. Ones where BIPOC  / POC can share their experiences and non BIPOC / POC listen, learn and work with us to move forward.

When I posted on Instagram that I was taking part in this panel I saw a comment that referred to ‘waves of aggression’. Perhaps it’s due to my age but I really don’t do aggression, I like to be measured in my responses and thoughtful with my words. So when I take part in this discussion on Sunday along with Cecilia Nelson @creativceci, Aimee Gille of @labienaimee and Sophia Cai @sophiatron I’m hoping to hear voices from knitters of all colour; black, brown, white and every other combination. EYF are making this a ticketed event with priority going to BIPOC / POC but it can’t be a ‘one sided’ conversation if we want to make the fibre community one that reflects and respects us all.

If you’re coming on Sunday, already have tickets for the Make:Wool event and are interested in attending you can find out more information on the talk here 

As I mentioned doing this really takes me out of my comfort zone but I feel this topic is far too important for me not to be part of this discussion. I’m looking forward to meeting up with people I’ve only previously spoken with on Instagram so if you see me and want to say hi, then do!

J x