Affirmative Art, Intuitive Art, quilt, Results

Yes I Can

No Comments

I’ve set myself the task of finishing 8 Quilts by 31 December 2019. Admittedly they are small pieces, because of this I am hand quilting them. This makes them portable and easy to take to the ‘in real life’ quilt group I’ve joined. ‘Stitchers’ in Herne Hill are very welcoming ! I’ve also joined an online accountability group which is proving to be equally supportive.

The quilt shown here is quilt number five and is from a small series from way back, that addresses the voice of the inner critic, that negative and silent in your head voice that says ‘no’. The quilt is called ‘Yes I Can’.

Affirmative Art, Heart, textile art


Affirmation turns up in life as statements to self, in the present tense, to manifest the qualities or things you want in your life. As in ‘I am rich’  or ‘money flows freely to me’ or ‘my life is beautiful’. Affirmations for money status, health status, the status of being alive and here. They are spoken or written to help bring about dreams and desires, to affirm life in all it’s glory.

But what about the every day Affirmations that possibly go unnoticed. Someone calls my name..Maggie…affirms me, a smile from a stranger in the street, on the bus, you are affirmed by their smile, when someone holds a door open for you, you are affirmed, a small child waves to you.. you are seen and affirmed. Simple everyday exchanges that occur between strangers…

I consider the opposite.

You hold the door open for someone and they breeze through with no thanks or acknowledgement – don’t you just feel annoyed about their thoughtlessness? Downright rudeness, as you might see it? Because you have not been affirmed in return- you’ve been rendered invisible.
When I wait for someone running for my bus and they fly onboard, tap in and move to their seat..zilch, di nada, no smile, nothing. I have seen them but they don’t see they think the bus drives itself? Then you have to realise that people are preoccupied with problems, late for a meeting, going to visit someone sick in hospital, getting to work on time.
And there are the times when there is no need to be seen in Driver role, I wait for you running up ..I’m lost in the working day and want to get going, snap the doors shut and race on.

And then there is the best affirmation.

I recently saw street sleepers a kip in a doorway, when another man carrying a Mac D’s strolled past. He gently tapped one of them on the shoulder and got no response, so he stooped down and left his meal beside the homeless man and went on his way. The affirmation of humanity.



Intuitive Art, Learning

Mantra for life?




A “Mantra” is a sacred utterance , a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes or group to words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers. A mantra may or may not have syntactic structure or literal meaning. WIKEPEDIA.

Hands up if you read this definition of mantra and understood it, straight away ? No need to read further! Go and put your feet up and relax with a cuppa……for this is my quest to find out exactly the meaning of ‘mantra’, what I think it is v what it actually is.

So here goes, I’ll share my version : ‘ Mantra – is a saying – an ethos/ a repetition of words that endorse an idea/ a belief/ feeling/ philosophy.’

Then I read the definition above which sent me thumbing through the dictionary.  First up, I do not know what ‘numinous’, ‘syntactic’, or ‘phoneme’ mean.
They are technical words and sound scientific. Even now after I have learned their meanings, I keep reading to grasp some understanding.

Numinous‘ means to have a strong spiritual or religious quality and suggest the presence of the divine.

Syntactic‘ relates to Syntax which is the arrangement of words and phrases to create well formed sentences. It also has a meaning relating to computers, which is where the scientific part appears.

Phoneme‘ is a sound which is distinctive when heard amongst other similar sounds, the example given was this: ‘pat, pad, bat, bad ‘ a bit like a tongue twister I think.

The Official Version :

Mantra’ originates from the late 18th century: Sanskrit, literally ‘a thought, thought behind speech or action’, from man- ‘think’, related to ‘mind’ and as a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation, originally in Hinduism and Buddhism.

“a mantra is given to a trainee meditator when his teacher initiates him”
* a Vedic hymn.
“her high, sweet voice began chanting the mantra of life”
* a statement or slogan repeated frequently.
“the environmental mantra that energy has for too long been too cheap”
English/Oxford Dictionary

I was right about the ‘repetition of words that endorse an idea’ which is described as a ‘slogan’ above and so off the mark with the rest. A mantra seems to be much more than endorsing a belief, this I think is an affirmation, it seems to be much more than endorsing a philosophy, if the first description above is to be believed, a mantra it seems, holds a powerful energy.

So I did some research.

Transcendental Meditation is the meditation practice that uses mantras. It is a technique for avoiding distracting thoughts and promoting a state of relaxed awareness. The late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi derived Transcendental Meditation from the ancient Vedic tradition of India. He brought the technique to the U.S. in the 1960s. Practitioners are given their own personal mantra to chant. The mantra has no specific meaning per se, it is a sound to focus on as it is repeated over and over. Film maker, David Lynch practices Transcendental Meditation and travels the world to promote it, he does Q&A’s for the curious and his talks are interesting.

So if a mantra is a repeated sound then what is cloth when it repeats itself? It is a pattern. in music it’s a riff, rhythm. A mantra has the edge,  as it has a numinous quality, but then so can stitching, so can writing, it all depends how deep you go into it, how focused and intent you become, whether you reach the flow state.

The emphasis is on repetition, and like anything you repeat, in action, like sewing, like learning to write, doing the same thing over and over, you get into a rhythm and improve as you go, You become familiar with the process and as you move more into it, you notice and learn, make observations, notice changes. Is this what it’s like to repeat your mantra?









Intuitive Art, Process

Do Your Best


Do. Your. Best.

Mum’s maxim still rings in my ears, even after all this time. The power of words to linger, to imprint in your mind, to guide, to remind.

‘do’ is hand stitched.  I’ve taken the stitches across the letters here, to echo the background. I love to hand stitch. I love machine stitching also. There’s no need to choose one above the other, just enjoy each process.

As this project develops, I notice I am searching for specific letters to complete a word. There are no ‘b’s’ left, so I reversed a ‘d’ instead. I could expand the lexicon but will stick to the plan and only use the remaining letters. Keep some boundaries, test some limits. It will only be a problem if I want to spell.

Affirmative Art, Art, Learning, Results

15 Minutes


A new year begins, a welcome, an invitation to to each new day, for hopes and plans for the year ahead.

In 2015 I learned the power of 15 minutes – 15 minutes of de cluttering a day, 15 minutes of  daily yoga. Doing things in small pockets of time regularly makes a difference. I practiced yoga 192 days in 2015 and plan to continue this year.

What did you learn last year that you will bring with you in 2016?

Affirmative Art, Art

‘Yes’ to today!

No Comments


‘Yes’ Maggie Winnall
Mixed Media Textile,hand Painted and machine stitched

‘Yes’ is the ultimate affirmation. Positive, pithy, powerful. I’m saying ‘YES’ ! To an unexpected holiday from the day job today! Which means I get to celebrate my grandson Reuben’s 6th birthday.
What are you saying ‘Yes’ to today?

Affirmative Art, Art

‘Yes’ to today!

No Comments


‘Yes’ c. Maggie Winnall
mixed media textile, machine stitched and hand painted

‘Yes’ is the ultimate affirmation. Positive, pithy, powerful. I’m saying ‘YES’! To an unexpected holiday from the day job today! Which means I get to share in my grandsons 6th birthday
What are you saying Yes to today?

Affirmative Applique™, Process

24 Oyster Card Wallets and Thank You

No Comments

Today I tested nylon thread to sew my recycled plastic bag oyster card wallets. Once over the technical problems, needle breakage, uneven and wobbly stitches  I managed to finish the 24

colourful oyster wallets you see above.

Also I’d like to thank all the visitors and art enthusiasts who came to see the Open Studio event on 5th and 6th October. I was so busy  putting up the information on the home page that I

forgot to blog about it. So here are some photos of my Affirmative Applique™ oyster wallets that were on show. For more pictures of the Open studio click here.Affirmative Applique™ Oyster Card Wallets with messages of hope and gratitude by Maggie Winnall-Sewin Studio

Art, Process

Making Uncovered Success!

Sewin Studio at Brixton East display of textile art custom made handbags ,workshop and making demos.
After set up- Simone and me

Every thing about taking part in Making Uncovered was satisfying, right from the first meeting at Brixton East (where I immediately visualised myself in situ sewing and making) to being paid promptly for my workshop.

This was my first time working with Makerhood and from the outset it was evidently a clearly thought out, seamless operation. The group all working together, knowing roles and responsibilities. Within two meetings, space was allocated and requirements noted, every thing asked for was remembered and delivered. The layout of the event allowed breathing space between the participators and space for people to move freely. Every one was so relaxed, friendly and welcoming, that even my daughter commented on it.

Brixton East is a fabulous venue, it took centre stage and it’s fair to say I’ve fallen in love with it! it lent itself  beautifully and showed my work (and everyone’s work) at it’s best.IMG_2709

The publicity for the event was excellent, Makers were given a featured blog post on the Makerhood blog, which was shared to Facebook, great for gauging feedback. Processing free tickets and paid workshops was by Eventbrite , a great way to handle bookings and payments and also keep track of booking progress.

In my own promotion I blogged the event. Google+ proved to be effective. I used helpful advice from copywriter to fashion my call to action. I set up a single page on my blog to reach my audience. I included testimonials from previous workshops and one past ‘workshopee’ returned  again to make another affirmation. I  created postcards that supported my Affirmative Applique workshop- putting an image of my work on the front and adding info about affirmations on the back.

A fabulous blue sky blessed the day itself. We concentrated on setting up  (my daughter Simone helping) my display for the event. I showed a range of my artwork from textile wall pieces, to handbags from Hope in Your Handbag™ collection to smaller  oyster card wallets.  By  the time we had finished I looked up the whole space was transformed. To my right a lovely old fashioned tea room had emerged, delicious cakes adorned the counter, retro chairs and tables welcoming people. A beautiful vibrant quilt hanging from the rafters, a plump display of owl and bird cushions below. To my left a drawing table inviting would be artists and a mind map for people to join in and develop. A general hum of activity was growing.

colourful oyster card wallet shell from vintage and recycled fabrics

In preparing for my workshop I wanted to offer the participants a lovely choice of colours to inspire them. I spent time selecting a range of coloured cloths, including some vintage pieces, from my stash. These were to be used for the wallet ‘shell’, I prepared these in advance so that the workshop time would be spent focussing on the affirmations. Every one soon got to work and created their own unique affirmations.


For more photo from Makerhood 

My space was set up as though it was ‘studio from studio’ to give people an idea of how I work. I had work in progress, handbags, quilt and hand stitched samples to share, my sewing machine was out with some quilting under way.People were enthusiastic and all ages engaged with my work, the workshop in progress attracted lots of interest too.

Taking time out I wandered downstairs to see an array of workshops and demos underway, willow weaving, portraiture, aboriginal art, felt making, screen printing..all so enticing, I wanted to try them all!  I hope everyone enjoyed Making Uncovered as much as I did- I met lots of lovely friendly people, shared my work and saw inspiring art and activities-the cafe offered delicious cakes and tea (I nabbed the last slice of coffee cake…mmm), the atmosphere was buzzing. It was a privilege to be part of Making Uncovered, which shows the breadth of talent and skills of our local artists-something Brixton can be proud of! When is the next one? How about a fashion show, Fashion Uncovered?