It's really hard to know how to help our fellow humans who are far away and in trouble isn't it. We watch from afar and feel a bit helpless. It feels wrong to carry on as normal, enjoying a spring day when we know of the terrible things that are happening. Nobody (in their right mind) wants a war.
I have a lovely young embroidery artist called Hannah Shkandrij who works in the studio for one afternoon a week. She does a very fine job of cutting wallpaper samples and wrapping meadow flowers for me. She is a brilliant artist and designs and sews beautiful meadow flowers. Check out her work. It's stunning. Anyway, Hannah is Ukranian and she has lots of family out there, some of whom are doctors now working on the front line. Hearing tales of her family has brought it all one step closer to home.
Social media is a noisy place in the time of a crises and it's tempting to hide away, feeling like you have nothing to add to the conversation. It feels like you can't talk about your own work and 'normal' everyday things as it feels insignificant and 'non-essential' but I was reminded that it is REALLY important that we do.
Ingrid Fetel-Lee who wrote the inspiring book JOYFUL helped me when she said:
'Art can't save lives, but it dimensionalises people. Joy can't stop bombs, but it helps remind us what's at stake. Not just territory, not just self-government, but the vibrancy of culture, traditions, history, festivity, community, LIFE.'
So I thought I'd turn to what I was good at, which is designing and making things. The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine and a sunny yellow design popped easily into my mind. It would be something that people could hang in their windows to show their support and spread some joy.
I spent Sunday afternoon at the drawing board, cut some out with the lasercutter, added them to my online shop and put some photos on Instagram in the evening. The response has been incredible. In two days I have sold 145 and the orders are still coming in.
So the last few days have been a frenzy of cutting and I was motivated by the thought of a photo of them all laid out together, like a sunflower field, bright and sunny. I love the thought that each one of the flowers you see represents someones kindness,care and their wish for peace.
They are £15 each so together we have raised more that £2000! The money will be donated to Choose Love to help all the displaced people as a result of the crisis. They say:
'With your donations we’ll be supporting projects (that meet our criteria) who are providing vital aid and services to those still in and fleeing the country, including: emergency medical care, food, shelter, clothes, legal support, support for the LGBTQIA+ community and mental health support'.
I have a busy day ahead, putting them all into envelopes and posting them out. It gladdens my heart to think of them hanging in windows shining their bright yellow faces out and giving us HOPE.
Would you like one? You can find the Sunflowers for Ukraine on my website. x