Affirmation

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 me..do 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.

 

 

Finishing 2016

2016 was my Year of Finishing. I completed projects I started, by the book, by ecourse and online challenges. I learned to follow through on commitments yes, but possibly compromising a sense of autonomy ? I like to think of it as training in life skills that up to now have eluded me.
Here’s what I have done and what I’ve learned.
January I completed a commission for my number one collector.


February I completed Cynthia Morris’ Free Write Fling*, an online writing class, Free writing everyday for 28 days. My coveted reward for everyday writing was a copy of ‘Cross the Finish Line’ : Overcoming The Hurdles to Completion’ Cynthia ‘s excellent e-book.


I simultaneously worked through ‘The Lotus and The Lily’ by Janet Connor, a spiritual guide book to help define your year ahead using journaling and the exercises provided. This is a thirty day process which is drawn from both Christianity and Buddhism . For me it was an introduction into prayer also . I did ‘The Lotus and The Lily’ in 2015 but didn’t complete with the final flourish, to create an personal mandala. I created a beautiful mandala for 2016.
In March I worked from Marie Kondo book **** ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ I finished the clothes part of the process, edited my book collection and worked half way through the ‘papers’ section. I can testify to her methods because since then, I only wear clothes that I love and the drawers are always neat and tidily folded. I can find everything!

img_1171
Then I moved onto the studio and on a whim, I decided to make a sewing table with drawers. I cut a table top in half lengthways , lined up both sides together sandwiching wood batons between them along three sides. With some random pieces of wood that I found in the studio, and some Left over peg board, I made the drawers. Then added legs with swivel wheels and brakes. The process was organic, intuitive, I worked it out as I went along. I love this way of working. I can’t help but think this spontaneity might have to be reined in, if I am to create some big work next year. My reward for finishing the table was a trip away to see my son and his beautiful family.

Next up was the #100 Day Project*** in April which I was wary of starting because I stopped at 80 days in 2015. I was wracked with shame since I failed to complete 2015. Beginning to think about doing the project activated the inner critic big time. So I Free wrote the objections ( see the knock on benefits of the Free writing class ? ) I countered each one and came up with a plan.

My solution was to keep my project simple, do-able and within the same format, every day. I even took my pieces of cloth away to Corfu in July. My strategy worked and I completed all 100 pieces, on time.

img_1022

Another class I had started and failed in 2015, The Focus Course**  resumed in July. I joined in with this and bingo! Another success. This forty day class has daily actions to learn the elements of focus as to be applied to any area of your life. Shawn Blanc takes the best from self help books and presents a daily program to help you discern and activate your priorities.

In June I completed my Grandson Zac’s quilt,  which was lovely experience to use saturated colour and lively pattern, keeping his personality in mind as I worked.


This bring us up to October and I joined Ms Morris*and friends for another Free Write Fling. This time I concentrated my Free Writes on my #State of Mind Map project, exploring topics that I want to share. Octobers’ class morphed into an add on program, ‘Write On !’ During November and beginning December. It is set up to take your writing practice to another level. Write On! is writing with a single focused project in mind. It is the perfect place to begin to learn your own writing process , ( if you don’t already have one). Who knew it could be so dramatic ? Life participated in the program also, uniquely showing up for each of us. It was encouraging to see how every one rose up and rode out challenges. The level of  accountability intensified ( for me) the challenges and made me face them – which I would not otherwise have done.

And the good news, I stuck with it and learned so much. So much. The level of accountability and support from the participants and Cynthias presence and attention, really does help to keep your project in mind. As I hinted above so many diversions raised their ugly heads, and in times past I would have succumbed and abandoned every thing.
What have I learned?

That to complete a project brings the lasting reward of quiet confidence. Lasting, because it does make your heart stronger and give you courage to commit to progress in the things that matter.

When you repeat an experience, it deepens your learning to the point where your find own way of doing things. You find your process. That these teachings can be revisited time after time and you can fine tune your learning.

Online classes have a greater level of sustainability than learning from a book. Probably because you receive the benefit of the presence and participation of the course leader. I’m sure Marie Kondo’s clients keep on top of their tidy spaces because they have benefitted from her direct help. Although it’s fair to say that what I did complete from ‘The Magic of Tidying’ has remained with me. This just needs to be revisited, is all and will in the new year. And isn’t it that decluttering is a perennial challenge anyway ? At any rate, learning is best from experts and the internet brings access to these.

You meet some amazing class mates, who support, help and encourage you along the way.

And most of all the investment in your time and effort is well worth it. Having the level of accountability from the group, coupled with your financial investment, makes you want to do well. It debunks my laissez faire attitude of not needing accountability, that actually given all that I completed this year, accountability can work.

I learned that I can focus, but only on one thing at a time. 2017’s activity is to rinse and repeat and to merge all of the above,  to blend my activities into a shorter time frame, instead of spanning the year.

It sounds like a routine is approaching…..big booming footsteps on the horizon with a giant clipboard in hand ….with ‘TIDY’ heading the list.

*Writing my year review was inspired by Cynthia Morris, you can read about her jammed packed year and her courses – here.

** Shawn Blanc and the Focus Course starts again soon,

*** The Hundred Day Project was set up by Elle Luna, I expect it will resume in April, look out for it on Instagram.

**** And finally If you’re planning to start a new year Tidy Up you can get Marie Kondos book,  come back to check my clear up progress to prepare for my #State of Mind Map project and let me know how you’re getting along also.

Ps. Last but not least ‘The Lotus and The Lily’ by Janet Connor. And it strikes me that all these topics, books, courses,  present the same message in different packaging. To keep on keeping on.

img_1177

Done ?

Hand and machine stitched intuitive textile art by Maggie Winnall at Sewin Studio
Z,M,V,A © Maggie Winnallf 

Four more letters towards my #44lettersmore project. I have 30 letters so far. I’m unsure if these are done , they might need something a little darker. Also my spectacles crashed to the floor and split in two. So I’m working with an older pair… This might explain a lot .

#100 Day Result – Time Lapse photo

Hand and machine stitched letters in intuitive art textile by Maggie Winnall at Sewin Studio
#100 Day Result © Maggie Winnall

#100 Day Result.  Time lapse photo, As in a month has passed since its completion. Flouting the rules of marketing, always the rebel. But honest.

It was coincidence that the warm and cool colours balanced 50/50. A happy accident I’d say. Towards the end of the project, around day 75, the compositions became more abstract, with the shapes and tonal values of the letters and ground stitch merging together. I found my process.

And the fonts that have contrast are more identifiable, especially the the pale letters against the ground fabric. Like the signage on a road, which is apt since its where I’ve spent much of my time. On the road. Another rebel story.

Now there are six

Now there are six squares.

Well, today has been a success, because I stitched the ‘y’, and because I’ve tweaked my routine, I worked my morning and started it the way I wanted. No dilly dallying today. So a nice bright yellow ‘y’ to celebrate.
Experts in time management, recommend celebrating small wins. Sowhen you’ve achieved that small thing that’s on the way to a bigger thing,  celebrate ! give yourself a pat on the back.

I am happy with the words today as well as the art and my head feels fine.

15 Minutes

image

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?

24 Oyster Card Wallets and Thank You

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

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 harrisonamy.com 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.

551345_517234831647735_1658865159_n.jpg

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?

Making Uncovered at Brixton East 20th April 2013

handmade affirmative applique oyster card wallet in turquoise and  blue and white vintage Liberty print lettering.

I’ve set up a Hope in Your Handbag™ workshop page, which you can see on the tab next to “About”

and “Sewin Studio”. I will be holding a workshop as part of Making Uncovered at Brixton East on 20th

April as well as demonstrating my hand bag making . It’s going to be a fantastic day with lots of energy

and buzz, there are lots of artists and crafts people taking part, so there is plenty to see and try. Plus the venue

Brixton East is a fabulous space- it’s going to be a pleasure to experience .If you are local hope to see you there!