In 2014 I turned 50 and it felt like a landmark that needed acknowledging.
I've done creative things as long as I can remember. Mum and Nannan were both sewers and knitters and they taught me and my sisters when we were young, so it feels like something I have always done. I also remember Mum calligraphing Christmas cards with gold ink and that is something that really interested me when I was in my teens. Being left handed I struggled with handwriting at school and wasn't allowed an ink pen as my writing wasn't neat enough and I couldn't write in a straight line on plain paper! But I had my own ink pen at home so I used to practise by myself. When I was 14 I joined Sheffield Youth Theatre, which was an amazing experience and informed much that I have done since then. The director was a very innovative woman who really encouraged us to follow the things we were good at, not just acting. We would sew our own costumes, handwrite the programmes in calligraphy and design posters etc. That encouragement to pursue creativity in whatever form it took has stayed with me since my teenage years and over time I have run a business making clothes, made several wedding dresses for friends and family, as well as exploring felt-making, simple print-making, jewellery, card-making, embroidery and more recently, book-binding.
This now leads me on to this current project.
I decided to celebrate being 50 by making 50 handmade books throughout the year (2015). That was the easy part! Now comes to working out how to hold and run the auction.
It is a silent auction, which doesn't mean you don't have to talk but rather than people shouting out bids for each book you can browse the exhibition and write down your bid on the piece of paper with the book, as long as it is higher than the previous bid.
Throughout 2016 I have taken the books with me on retreats and had the opportunity to display them in places where people can add their own bid. This all ends on Sunday 21st August with an Open House at my house, 12 noon to 4pm. You will be able to browse the books, buy other small items for sale (cards and tea light holders), have some refreshments and hopefully, enjoy the garden.
I hope Sunday 21st August will be a joyful celebration of creativity and you are most certainly welcome!
10 Garth End, Collingham, Wetherby. LS22 5BH
The money raised goes to Plum Village.
Plum Village is a very important place for me and I am happy to support it in this way. It was set up in 1982 by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay, a Zen Buddhist teacher) as a retreat centre and is now a thriving monastic and lay community in southern France, near Bordeaux. Anyone can go for a week's retreat there. Thay teaches mindfulness and his teaching has become the path that I follow to guide me through life. I have spent 6 years researching his teachings on Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism for my Ph.D which I recently completed. Now I'd like to give something back to help this beautiful place and all it represents continue.