Friday, 24 March 2017

Why We Craft...

The exhibition we have on currently at Salford Zine Library is called Make Do & Mend and is a celebration of us making Sugar Paper for over ten years and to showcase all the amazing creatives we have got to work with on covers for the zine.

It's also a celebration of crafts! We asked people why they craft and the answers ranged from wanting to learn skills to saving money to self care.
Similar to why Kandy and I craft.
Here's what we said....

I craft because I love to create. As far back as I can remember I have been crafting, making stuff for friends and family as well as lots of stuff for myself, often turning useless/worn-out things into useful things.

Growing up there were regular visits to the fabric stall on the market and to the Alladin’s cave like haberdashery (that I completely fell in love with). Fancy dress costumes were made not bought, and the cucumber monster and home-made cake were always a feature of any birthday in our house.  

As well as crafting and making novelty party food, we made things for fun and for gifts. In the holidays my Mum would have us baking, cross stitching, making peg dolls, tie-dying etc. Throughout my teens I continued to craft, making jewellery, clothes and curtains using craft as a form of self-expression. My work now revolves around making and the process of crafting something still excites me.    

In an increasingly manufacture driven and wasteful world I believe that D.I.Y and craft skills are more important than ever. We need to get the next generation crafting so they know that things dont just magically appear in shops and that you CAN make things yourself.

Craft is important to me because it's empowering, it allows you to create; whether it’s a fancy dress outfit made for a few quid, a patch made from an old worn-out band t-shirt that you treasure or a novelty cake for your BFF. Craft gives the option to mend your clothes and make them last longer, to make a special gift for a loved one and in so many ways, to express yourself. 


When I thought about why I craft and make things I came up with a bunch of reasons, all bouncing round my head, then I stopped for a moment, organised my thoughts and realised, they could all be summed up in four reasons.

Craft as necessity
I guess this one could be split in two. Necessity in that you want to have something but can’t afford to buy it.
I grew up with very little money, my mum who grew up on a farm was really into home baking, sewing and a belief in doing it yourself. Wanna decorate, do it yourself, wanna fit a carpet, do it yourself, want a cake, do it yourself. She taught me many skills from a young age and whenever I wanted to gift a family member something I just made it. When I was a teenager with no money and a love for dressing up, I made my own weirdo clothes and accessories, like a budget Gregg Araki film.
But also necessity in that I NEED to be making stuff.
I’ve made stuff continuously since I was a child, it’s just something I’ve always done and something I have to do. If I’m not creating I feel like a part of me is missing, like my purpose is lost. Creating things, being able to take something that was floating around your brain into a physical thing.

Craft as skill sharing
All my craft skills were picked up along the way, self-taught, from my mum, from my granddad, a friend here a friend there. I love learning new skills and I love passing skills on.
I craft to spread the joy of it.
I volunteer at a youth centre and teach crafts to young people aged 8-11. I love that I get to skill share with a much younger generation than me and that traditional crafts are still engaging to young people.

Craft as art
The past few years I have been referring to myself as an artist. There are many reasons why it took me so long to give myself this title (class, education, skill amongst some of them) another one being that traditional crafts are so often frowned upon in the art world.
Recently there has been a rise in needle craft and yarn craft being taken seriously in the art world and it’s something I hope continues.
Traditional craft can be art.

Craft as activism
Whether that’s crafting because you want to avoid society’s consumerist culture, you want to reclaim crafts from ‘a woman’s place is in the home’ days of crafting, you want to empower yourself with a skill, you want to be self-sustainable, you want to get a message across, you want to support a cause, you want to take care of yourself.
Crafting can do it all.

These are the reasons why I craft.


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

More Make Do & Mend....

Our Make do & Mend exhibition is still on at Salford Zine Library until April 1st, but if you can't make it along, here are some pics....
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Saturday, 7 January 2017

My Year in Lists...Seleena....

As I emerge from the fiery pits of 2016 (aka Retail at Christmas) I'm going to remember some parts of 2016 fondly with my annual year in lists.
Yes we all now 2016 was a bit of a shit show, politically, generally and personally. I think about how I had my first solo exhibition, but then remember how I left my aunties funeral early to go to my opening. The shittest thing for me this year though was losing my BFF (best furry friend) of 15 years, Ned the cat. He will be missed.
I did some good stuff too though....

-Zines: halfway through the year I panicked that I hadn't made any zines, then I remembered at the start of last year I made a mini zine about reunion gigs. I also (just about managed) two co-make 2 Sugar Papers, No Brown Girl or Poor Lass emerged, but who cares because *Drum Roll please* My infamous Crisp zine emerged!!! Yes I finally (with the help of a bunch of rad folk) made a zine about crisps!
I also got to table at loads of zine fairs and run a workshop or two, plus made my panel debut at an event about zines, I love talking about zines, have me on your panel!!

-Art: So yeah, I had my first solo exhibition and it was rad! I was really pleased with the new work I did for it and wanna take What, Is She Black Now? on the road, let me come to your town!
I had a few argh why am I even doing this moments, and Yiiikes! had a few 'yes great opportunities...sorry no' moments. But I'm surrounded by loads of creative people and I wanna make shit as awesome as they do, so I ain't stopping now.
I'm also approaching my 5th year or maybe it's 6th, of being a volunteer youth arts worker.

-Music: So I formed a Clueless Concept pop band with Sugar Papers better half Kandy. We made some songs, matching outfits, a tape (A TAPE) and a ridiculous amount of merch. We played some gigs and went on another summer tour with THEE BEST PEOPLE!! and honestly summer tour is the best time I have all year, hanging out with a bunch of the best humans, eating hash browns, going to new places, seeing more of the best humans along the way. SWOON!

-Friends: As usual I wish I spent more time hanging out with friends but when you get older it gets harder (see: you just wanna stay home and be tired in comfort) I got inspired and supported and had a great time with my friends, I even got to see two of them bring tiny badass humans into the world.

For 2017 I hope to not hoard as much, be more honest, learn new crafts (hello needle felting) do more with my love of tap dancing, make zines and art (obvs) and hang out with more tiny humans!

Here's my photo of the year....