(Plus a corona virus update)
I’m writing this on International Women’s Day, in preparation for sending out to you on Monday, as promised, for the Full Moon. The picture above was given to me by the wonderful Caroline Cawsey, who I met when she attended the Spring 2019 ANOGM retreat. This lovely gift means that I can keep you all informed on the particular moon each month, and I am pleased to tell you that March’s full moon is the Worm Moon.
Which is pretty apt given all of this wet weather we have been having. The worms are out in full force. This surely must be one of the wettest winters we have known? It seems to have rained solidly since the Autumn ANOGM retreat last October.
It does feel like we are up against it, with serious flooding in some parts of the UK and now the threat of a serious new virus which is giving the media much to talk about. I am trying to stay as grounded as possible during these uncertain times. Trying to achieve a balance between measuring the risk that the novel coronavirus poses to us all and not worrying too much and passing this worry onto my children. We are trying to stick to the facts only when we talk to them and are trying to encourage them to not focus on all the worry around them. And of course to wash their hands.
In terms of A Nest of Gentle Makers we are still hoping to go ahead with Spring 2020 but the situation is an ever changing one and is fast moving so we are not making any decisions just yet but will be assessing the situation over the coming weeks.
For those of you who are already booked to come please note that we have decided to shift the deadline for the balance payment to Friday 27th March. If the retreat is cancelled we will be offering to move your booking to our October retreat or give you a full refund. Please let us know sooner rather than later if you decide you cannot come as that will help us to gauge the viability of the retreat.
I continue to be a jack of all trades and master of none, rotating my making between knitting, weaving, sewing and my new found love of spinning. Channelling beginners mind I am slowly getting the hang of this ancient skill and can spin a single yarn and ply two such yarns together. I am loving Lydia Christiansen’s podcast ‘Modern Wool’ which can be found at https://abundantearthfiber.com/pages/modern-wool as she explains many of the processes involved from fleece to fibre.
Alongside making goes mending and this is something that is super important to me. Darning is a very old and pretty simple skill that I is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. I am no expert but do seem to have the patience to work on something for many hours. I recently darned some pretty worn out ‘lucky socks’ for one grateful owner and I am hoping to run a darning class at the ANOGM Autumn retreat. Watch this space.
Clothkits in Chichester have asked me to run some more stitching and visible mending workshops this year. As I write there is one space left on the afternoon workshop of Monday 16th March and some more spaces on Friday 22nd May. They are fun, relaxed classes using some very basic skills and all the attendees seem to have a great time when they come. More info at https://clothkits.co.uk
International Women’s day is, for me, a time to reflect on all the amazing women who have influenced and supported me during my life. I am fortunate that there are many such women. I learned to knit and sew and weave with the help of some brilliant women and my work life was, and is, considerably enhanced by the women around me. And it seems like the well is overflowing because as I go through my life I seem to gather new wonderful friendships along the way. Although ANOGM is not a women only retreat, such weekends do mainly attract women and I am glad I can offer this incredibly important time away.
I recently read an article on Daily Om (https://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/display/printerfriendly.cgi?articleid=712420) about women’s circles. Madisyn Taylor describes them as ‘formal or informal gatherings in the interest of bonding, sharing energy, and creating ritual’. She describes circles of women that come together regularly and meditate or gather together for a particular intention such as healing Mother Earth. Ultimately she says that ‘at their best, women’s circles perfectly illustrate the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ A Nest of Gentle Makers Retreats are not so overtly spiritual (not everyone is ready for that!) but I have felt this wonderful energy on both the retreats we have run, whether sitting around the campfire, or sharing our favourite pieces of art together.
My most recent Audible listen was a truly life-changing book called ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers. It’s a complicated set of entwined stories of nine people and the trees that played a significant part in their lives, consciously and sub-consciously. It is a story of the constant tension between the human as consumer and the human as conservationist. I loved how this Pulitzer Prize winning book sets out scientific theory through the eyes of its characters and ultimately it shows just how dependent we are on trees and the natural world and how our behaviours can have catastrophic effects.
So that is all from me on this worm full moon. I hope that you all stay fit and healthy in the coming weeks and we can all enjoy some good spring weather soon.
p.s If in doubt, put the kettle on.