Is the Universe telling us something?
What a crazy time we live in right now. I began planning and plotting for phase two of my Joining Lines project towards the end of last year (October 2019) but things have taken a little side step, which is to be expected due to the massive changes we're all facing as we cope with Covid-19. Now more than ever we're seeking ways to be more mindful, ways to come together and support each other. As the universe fires out negativity, we must find ways to survive, ways to be better.
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Helen Keller
What better way to get back into blogging and sharing my journey with you than to invite you to join me for another community project. After taking some time away from the website and slowing my pace down I have been able to reflect on what is important to me and my family.
My last blog post was very much a big brain fart of all that is April Towriess Crochet and was a way for me to process what I wanted for my business and who I was in this creative jungle. Well, I have stepped away from the chaos, looked after my over thinking brain and have now been able to lift the cloud and discover what path I want to take. Hello, I am April and I am a community artist!
Do you want to join my club?
Yes, of course you do, why wouldn't you! Joining Lines in Nature is the second in a series of yarn based community installations created and displayed in the heart of Nottingham by makers from all over the country. The original Joining Lines installation was created in 2018 and showcased the work of 37 community crocheters and over 145 white crocheted doilies. Read all about Joining Lines Part 1 here.
Joining Lines in Nature will be a free standing interactive yarn based installation with wall mounted elements and will focus on organic form and shapes from nature. I invite you to pick up some yarn, get creative and make magic with me.
Unsure whether this project is for you?
Here's a few reasons why you should absolutely join my club and get involved...
1 | Enjoy your favourite yarn craft or try something new
If you're here reading this then you probably love yarn craft of some form already or are keen to try out something new as the universe slows you down and you stay home to keep safe. Crochet, knitting, weaving, macrame or even pom pom and tassel making are all great examples of yarn craft and are perfect for all ages. There's definitely something for everyone.
I have always been interested in textiles, my Granny introduced me to embroidery, sewing and knitting pretty early on in my creative journey. As I progressed into creative education I was soon drawn to fabric construction and woven textiles. Since leaving education, crochet has been my go to craft and it has dominated everything. Its a way to escape the everyday and relax, let the mind wonder and create. I absolutely love taking something and turning it into something else, constructing fabric out of yarn is magical. Recently I purchased some small weaving kits for the children to try - if I'm honest, I've used them more than they have. These simple, inexpensive kits have sparked so much creative inspiration and reminded me that there is way more to explore in the world of fibre arts than simply crochet.
Which yarn crafts have you tried? Are you drawn to one more than the other? Do you fancy trying something new? Join me for another fantastic community project and be a part of something positive at this uncertain time. We can be certain of one thing, we are here together on the same journey - lets create together, share our skills and build our community.
2 | Work with like minded people and be part of a community
I have seen some incredible acts of kindness through this pandemic and it's exactly this kind of spirit I seek as part of my ever evolving Joining Lines project. Community, now more than ever means so much. You are being forced to stay home and isolate yourself to stay safe. This is not by choice but by necessity, it is important that we listen so we can move through this chapter in time and save lives. It may not feel like you have any choices right now but you do. You can choose to cut yourselves off from the world whilst at home in isolation or you can choose to unite, reach out and be part of something bigger.
Social interaction as well as craft for relaxation have all been proven to relieve stress and encourage a healthy mind set. If you've got this far I'm sure you will agree, its the positivity we project into the universe and the wonderful people we surround ourselves with, that will help us heal and bounce back from this. So, grab yourself some yarn and create. Use your hands and make magic, whether its as part of this project or part of your own personal journey. Be part of my tribe and create!
3 | Share skills and sustain traditional techniques and ideas
As my children always say 'Sharing is Caring' and it really is. Without the skills and experiences of our ancestors a lot of the traditional crafts like knitting and crochet could be lost. Its our job to keep them alive, pass on what we know, share what we love and encourage others to give it a try too.
Whether I'm teaching my children to read, introducing a beginner to crochet or sharing my graphic design knowledge with others, I just love to share, it gives me so much joy in the process. My Granny shared her textiles skills with me and taught me to knit and crochet, but there are a lot of people out there, especially the younger generation that don't have that natural chain of knowledge.
If you can, share what you know and love with others, whether that's crochet, knitting, weaving, macrame, pom pom and tassel making or felting and if you don't have these skills to share, then ask. I'm sure there are people, not so far away from you right now, that have knowledge to share ... **waves like a crazy lady**
Obviously, you can't just pop round to a friends or ask your elderly neighbour to show you the ropes right now (thanks for that Covid-19!) but you can look online, connect with people through social media or dig out those old dusty books you found at a bootsale years ago you've been meaning to read.
4 | Get back to basics - put aside technology and be present in the moment
During this pandemic, technology is the key to keeping us connected, its allowing us to communicate with our loved ones, work remotely in the comfort of our homes and it is one thing I am truly thankful for at this difficult time. Technology and advances in knowledge and learning means that lives are being saved, in more ways than one.
Despite all the positives, technology can also be the cause of a lot of stress and anxiety. I know first hand, whilst trying to set up my day job computer at home, with children round my feet and networks not connecting, it has proven extremely overwhelming, as has the constant news coverage of the virus, online discussions and increased messages to and from loved ones.
So, if you're like me and are finding digital connectivity a little mind blowing right now, why not step away and focus on a more mindful way of being. Use yarn to entertain your hands and let your mind wonder into a creative abis. Crochet, knit, felt or weave instead of scrolling and typing. Let go, be present and you will flourish.
5 | Be inspired by Nature
I've said it many times over the past couple of weeks but I definitely believe the universe is telling us something. Stop! Slow down! Think! You can either see this pandemic as the end of what we know, panic and waste time filled with anxiety or you can see it as a spiritual awakening. An opportunity to start over. A chance to evolve and grow.
How often do you stand still and simply look, breathe in the air around you and feel the motion, or touch the rough textures of the tree you’ve walked passed every day for ten years? In a generation of computers, instant, at your fingertips purchasing and social media we often forget to be present in the moment. Joining Lines in Nature explores themes surrounding nature and our awareness of our environment.
This years project will take inspiration from the natural world. Using fibre crafts to recreate textures, colours and forms from nature, the project will organically emerge and the work of individual makers will be transformed into a fabulous community fibre art installation.
6 | Use craft as a wellbeing tool
Getting back to our roots, surrounding ourselves in nature for inspiration and interacting with others will promote a sense of community and aid with our wellbeing. If you're a crafter you will already know that crafting has an abundance of health benefits. Being creative and keeping your hands busy can help to reduce stress, relieve and reduce depression and anxiety and help build self-esteem. Crafting can also decrease the risk of cognitive impairment as you age, help with insomnia, and can help you to relax, which in turn, reduces irritability and restlessness - feelings I'm sure you've felt over the past couple of weeks. If this list isn't evidence enough that crafting is great for your health, craft also builds community and friendships and brings people together. Let's take this time to collaborate on something amazing, lets support each other through the tough times and embrace the good. If you're lost and in need of a project to get stuck into then Joining Lines in Nature is perfect for you. Learn new skills or rekindle your love of making, maybe you'll even learn something about yourself along the way. Its important to look after your body and mind and remember its ok to stop and relax.
7 | Be an artist and collaborate with others
Everyone is an artist. Art is very subjective and is influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. So, whether you think you are an artist or not, I can assure you, you are. Have you ever considered being apart of an art installation? Why not use the skills you have learnt practising your favourite hobby to make something that sits alongside fellow makers, joining lines between yarn craft, between communities and challenging yourself. I believe in you, you can do it. I have the faith and know that this is your time to do something out of your comfort zone and get involved. Are you ready to get involved?
8 | Make your mark
Joining Lines in Nature - What a wonderful mark to leave once the storm has past.
I have a vision of what I'd like the final Joining Lines in Nature installation to look like but I am so excited to see it evolve. I see the installation being a floor standing tree like form surrounded by a blanket of texture and colour which organically creeps from floor to wall as if to grow and mould into its surroundings. Pod like elements will emerge from the ground allowing the viewer to sit and be fully absorbed in the yarn filled indoor woodland. Will this be how it looks, who knows?! As more and more people get involved, as fabric is constructed and elements combined, the project will mature into its own form. As we move through this incredible and historic part of time, we , ourselves will grow. Embrace this moment, breath in every minute and remember, we're in it together.
Take care darlings, Ax
Whilst researching for my Joining Lines in Nature project I came across some super inspiring textile artists. Each one sparking oodles of inspiration, whether it be the colours they used, the textures they created or the construction of their art piece. When creating any artwork or design work, it is important to first gather inspiration from the world around us, this is called contextual research and it allows us to fully move our thoughts and ideas into reality. Without this type of research our ideas may become limiting or appear flat.
Taking inspiration from the world around me, sourcing inspiring images, sketching out thoughts and comparing my ideas with others doing similar things, have all helped me to map out my concept for my Joining Lines in Nature project. As in nature, my Joining Lines in Nature project is organically evolving and growing into itself.
Here are my Top 10 Textile Artists inspired by nature:
Vanessa Barragão | Website | Instagram
Portuguese textile artist Vanessa Barragão creates nature themed textile pieces using various yarn based techniques which include latch hooking, crochet, weaving, basketry, and felt.
Her Coral Garden installation has been a huge inspiration for my Joining Lines in Nature project and gets me excited each time I see it. The scale of the piece, the three dimensional aspects, as will as all of the varying textures and colours just blow my mind, not to mention the incredible message behind her work.
Sommer Roman | Website | Instagram
Californian born, Sommer Roman is a mixed media artist and illustrator, her work includes sculpture, painting and drawing. She works with materials and imagery from a variety of sources; domestic discards, used textiles, micrographs of plant life etc. and draws inspiration from nature, senses and impulses.
I was particularly drawn to her Elisabethi Installation (pictured above left). I love how the work organically appears to grow up the wall. The subtle colour and textural changes are representative of the natural world, they playfully entice you in.
Alyssa Ki | Solip diy
Alyssa Ki from Solip diy | Website | Instagram
Korean-American Alyssa Ki creates the most beautiful woven wall hangings I have ever seen. Her work is full of texture and whimsy and her use of colour is to die for. My journey into this creative world began with woven textiles so my heart is fluttering right now. My urge to weave once more is strong. I am excited about combining various fibre art techniques, especially weave and crochet, to create a multidisciplinary installation of my own.
Fun fact - Solip is Alyssa's Korean name and the direct translation is ‘pine needle’.
Miho Fujita | Website | Instagram
Miho Fujita is a Japanese crochet jewellery artist. Working on a micro scale, her work is stunning, super delicate and hugely influenced by nature. It would be wonderful to combine chunky textures with delicate details, much like the varying contrast within the natural world.
Hannah Streefkerk | Website | Instagram
Swedish textile artist Hannah Streefkerk seeks to create art that makes people stop in their tracks and raise awareness of environmental problems. Her work focuses on mending and the nature of time, how seasons change and the effect that time has on life and the world around us. She uses stitch and crochet to repair holes in trees, crochets moss onto bark and transforms forgotten nature into spectacular art pieces.
Barbara De Pirro | Website | Instagram
Barbara De Pirro creates biomorphic sculptures and installations. Working with a range of reclaimed plastics she transforms this synthetic material into organic forms. Her art gives voice to her ecological concerns, encouraging reflection about our relationship with the environment.
Leigh Martin | Website | Instagram
Leigh Martin is a visual artist and nature enthusiast from Central Oklahoma. Her fibre work and installations are heavily influenced by her background in Urban Forestry. She uses knit to capture small details within the natural world like fungi, flowers and leaves.
Anna Shepelieva | Awesome Knots
Anna Shepelieva from Awesome Knots | Etsy | Instagram
Anna Shepelieva is a Ukrainian weaver, crocheter and knitter. She has two very different creative businesses Awesome Knots and Eva's Doodlings, both of which focus on texture and fibre art. I am particularly drawn to her macrame work and how she takes thread and cord and transforms them into incredible floral wall hangings. Who ever thought macrame could look like this?!
Emma Mattson | Website | Etsy
Emma Mattson is a Maryland photographer and artist, specialising in portraiture and natural photography. She uses felt, thread and embroidery stitches to create natural moss like art pieces. Her work is delicate and tactile and I'm interested in her use of thread to create textures to represent organic growth.
Patricia Yasmine Graf
Patricia Yasmine Graf | Website
Patricai Yasmine Graf isn't actually an artist she is a German product designer but her Snork Seat just couldn't not get a mention. I love the idea of creating art that is interactive, a piece that you can fully immerse yourself in. I mean, just look at that texture!
Hi, I'm April.
Crochet designer and tutor based in Nottingham.