Creativity is many things: Joyful, surprising, fulfilling, often hard, and nearly always challenging.
Creativity is looking at what is in front of you, and seeing it from a new perspective to imagine what it could be. It’s a process of growth and learning. Often that process is uncomfortable; challenging not only our current knowledge and skills, but occasionally our understanding of ourselves, our backgrounds, and the world around us.
Being part of a creative community means benefiting from each others’ perspectives and working together to achieve more than we can on our own. But communities can also be challenging too.
New perspectives can be surprising, and rearranging our assumptions about ourselves and the world around us can be uncomfortable. Being the person who presents a new perspective can be incredibly hard, especially when you’ve experienced rejection in the past.
But on the other side of that discomfort can be increasing your joy, fun, excitement, and empathy, stronger relationships, and a richer society.
June is ‘Pride Month’ in NZ, celebrating the diversity and creativity that comes from breaking down the traditional social boxes of ‘either/or’, and seeing people not for the single role they play in society (e.g. the provider OR the nurturer), but as people - unique individuals each capable of amazing things.
LGBTQI+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex. The + includes those who identify as pansexual, asexual, agender and genderqueer. Those who identify with the gender and sex they were given at birth are known as cisgender persons (sometimes cissexual, informally abbreviated cis).
Pride Month is both positive and problematic: Positive as it represents the move away from illegality, and towards greater acceptance by most of society. Problematic because having a month is a signal that LGBTQI+ is still not normalised. There is still a sense of ‘us and them’. It is also too easy for organisations to rainbow wash for a month, while making no meaningful changes to policies or systems which create barriers for non cisgender people to feel free to be themselves and fully participate and share their perspectives to add to the richness of the community.
At Stitch Kitchen we believe strongly in equality and equity for all, regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, ability, and ethnicity. (Our rainbow-esque colour scheme is not by accident.)
We want everyone who visits us to be safe and keep others safe; physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. We work to provide a safe space for everyone to feel like they belong, that they are seen, accepted, and appreciated for their authentic and creative selves.
Respect is key. We constantly strive to do better, and welcome feedback. We urge all cisgender people to do the same.
We stand for these things, not only for June, but for each day and every month of the year.
You are seen. You are loved.
If, like us, you’re keen to learn more, here are a couple of great resources to learn more:
We'd love to hear from you about resourses you've found helpful.
There is currently a proposal to create a rainbow crossing in Lower Stuart Street on the corner of Moray Place. A rainbow crossing is a powerful way of giving the rainbow community greater visibility, and adding life and colour to our central city. We're definitely in favour <3
You can sign the petition to move this proposal forward at Dunedin's brilliant Woof bar and cocktail lounge. You can conveniently sign on while enjoying an excellent meal and/or cocktail. Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 4pm-late. @woof_dunedin #woofdunedin #woof!
Last year we were delighted to help Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women's Refuge by making toiletry bags in our weekly Community Sewing Bee workshops.
Their brief was for a simple drawstring bag, about A4 size. After a bit of research and playing, Fiona adapted the drawstring bag design she’s been using for net storage bags; using colourful cotton curtaining offcuts and adding a nylon waterproof lining (both of which we have in abundance!) so the bags could hold any small spills and be cleaned easily.
It took 4 weeks to complete 80 bags, and we were even able to pack these with items given to us for the project, from one of the volunteer's daughters - thanks Sarah Lilly!
The team at the refuge were thrilled with the bags, and passed on the delight of the families who received them.
This year we have started a new project to brighten the lives of those who need the help of the refuge.
There are three meeting rooms which serve as important locations for women and families to meet, share, learn, heal, and be equipped to face the daunting challenges of rebuilding their lives. These rooms are currently very dull, generic offices, sadly lacking in colour, or even natural light.
The couches in the rooms are perfectly serviceable, but the cushion covers are dated, dull, and very corporate. They don’t create the inviting, warm, comforting, and inspirational place the refuge is aiming for.
We have begun changing the covers on the cushions to add colour and creativity, suitable to the purposes of each room, starting with the Tamariki room.
Finding fabrics that were bright and fun, with appealing textures, was the easy part with a collection like ours :). We came up with a template to be able to fit the new covers over the existing cushions, and got to work!
A bonus of these workshops is getting to learn new skills! It was great to see that several of the volunteers had never sewn in a zip, or made a cushion cover before, but with a little help, were soon zipping through them ;).
In total we plan to make 23 large cushion covers with gussets, 23 throw pillows, and 5 large floor cushions. We’re about halfway through, with the Tamariki Room nearly completed, and the Women’s Room next on the list :)
Cannot wait to show you the 'After' photos!!
If you’d like to join us for our lovely social Community Sewing Bees, they’re on every Thursday from 10:30am-1pm. No previous sewing experience needed. We work as a team so you can pick the tasks you’d like to do, all while enjoying great conversation and cups of tea (and usually a gingernut ;) ).
Please get in touch if you have any questions, or if you know of a local community group with a simple project that we might be able to help with.
Winter is here: the time when we take out our winter clothing and bring out last years yarn to finish that project. Also the time when we spot the damage that these little winged blighters have caused! Not only do they munch copious amounts of wool, but they love any protein fibre, including silk, fur, feathers, and even leather if they're really hungry. I’d wager that when unpacking your winter things, you have also unpacked some very unwelcome holes surrounded by wool. Moths seem to particularly enjoy merino skivvies, the finer the better.
Clothes moths are more active in warmer temperatures, traditionally spring and summer (when woolens are in storage), but now that houses are warmer, they often start their nibbling much sooner.
Sadly, we are very familiar with moth damage in fabrics donated to us at Stitch Kitchen, which have often been tucked away in quiet dark spaces (moth's favourite hang out) for several months. Avoiding inviting moths in; getting them out if they have gatecrashed; and dealing with the damage are regular battles we face.
Here are a few strategies to help you win your battle and save your woolens!
1. Avoiding bad dinner guests
2. Turning the tables
If you find evidence of moths, in traps, or on your clothes, or find holes they're left behind, it's time for further action:
3. Turning a flaw into a favourite feature
Don't be deterred from keeping and wearing a moth damaged item with pride. Yes, it has holes in its character - don't we all. But that's what makes us interesting.
How we can help
We'd love to hear from you about things you've tried and found effective! And if you don't find any of these effective, at least we might see you at one of our Stitch Kitchen workshops or at Mend & Make Awesome :)
News, updates and things we find inspiring, from Dunedin's Stitch Kitchen