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Blog: Blog2

Rebel Yarns

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Last months I was lucky enough to take part in an artists residency with The Fish Factory Arts Space in Penryn Cornwall.


It was amazing to spend 2 weeks making and getting to know the lovely community around the Fish Factory. I was given the opportunity to put together an exhibition using some of the things I have made in the past 2 years along side my poetry. The following is a digital version of that exhibition. At the end there is a video version as well which includes me reading my poems and the sounds of the XR rhythms band. I hope you enjoy!



Acknowledgements

This work would not have been possible without a community of people they are in every thread of this. Meeting them has changed my life and they continue to inspire me at ever turn. Timber, Lemur, Sea lion, Crow, Mushroom, Joker, members of XR Norwich and XR Rhythms bands.

Thank you to The Fish Factory for making the exhibition possible.










Rebel Yarns


This exhibition was the culmination of over two years of yarn work, environmental activism, an amazing community AND the snap decision to come to The Fish Factory for a residency in June 2023 .

The work explores the links between textiles and the climate crisis, place and community. It responds to the climate and ecological emergencies, the natural and humanitarian disasters that are being driven by it. Many items have been made as a continuing protest against the damage we are doing and a hope we can create a just future.

The accompanying poems are part of a continuing set, documenting my activism as part of Extinction Rebellion from 2021 onwards.

Both yarns and poems come from the same place: a need to tell the stories of the world as it is and differnt possible futures.


Impossible

6th September 2021


I fell in love

silently and soul deep

on the streets of London


The colours pulled me in

and the sound of samba kept me

Too tongue tied for talking

but swept away in conversation


I fell for a crowd of strangers singing

‘The sea is rising and so are we

The sea is rising and so are we’


I fell for a samba band swaying

and playing and playing and playing

The rumble of the surdos

reverberating in a railway station


I fell for speeches and shared silences

for scientists and activists

and streets brought to a standstill


Standing still by a giant bright pink table

with so many people I hardly knew


I fell for shared tears

and holding space for fears

and not forgetting we forge the future



I fell not knowing who I am

but knowing I was where I needed to be

and knowing this is growing and living and being


And hoping

hoping

hoping




We are all crew
Pink origami boat made from Hand-spun and handwoven cloth. materials include lap waste wools with recycled sari silk in the weft and organic cotton for the warp.



Escape

15th October 2022


I want to run to high places

remote and removed

Fortressed in pathless forests and forgetfulness

there I could build a bastion against

the damage we are doing

Slip out of the broken system

and save myself


Cocooned in the seeming wilderness

With community and family

I could craft a life

in treetop hideaways

with views of the sea

Roofed with a night sky

undimmed by city lights

listening to birdsong


Lulled to sleep

by the sigh of summer rain

I might recall a past

Predating the weight of knowing

the catastrophes we are causing


Warmed by a gentle sun

amid sweet peas

and the sound of bees

I might grow a future

with a lucky few


This sheltering sanctuary

both luxury and temporary

might be a solace for what is lost

might soothe and strengthen for a while


But I know

even if idylls were plausible

the damage we have done

to our warming world

will wake me still

in those wild places




Tracks
Hand-spun and hand woven wool yarns, Shetland, Grayfaced Dartmoor, Zwartbles and recycled sari silk weft, organic cotton warp



The Path
Hand-spun and hand woven made using Border Leicester and Shetland wools in warp and weft.




The Shore
Hand-spun and hand woven with lap waste wools and recycled sari silk weft and unspun fibre, charity shop yarn warp.

Last time

25th August 2022


Last time I sat at my loom for three days

wildfires raged 6000 miles away

This time they were 10 mins from my doorstep


Last time

the colours flowed

from frozen to flourishing to flame

and back again

as grief, rage and hope fought for attention


This time

the colours have leached

from my parched world over months

greens to gold

soils to sand

Then it only takes a spark

or 40

bleached to blackened


I don’t know how to grieve for this

I don’t know how to rage

I don’t know how to love enough

to stop the false autumn leaves from falling

to start the rain pouring


We have seen this coming

watching the wider world warming

scientists and activists continually warning

Storms supercharging

floods threatening famine to come

lives and futures lost


Privileged eyes find comfort

our little island is not yet shrinking

our lucky island is not yet starving

As if this is the last time this crisis will visit our doorstep

The last time we will wake to drought

The last time we won’t sleep for the heat

The last time we will watch the fires unfold

or floods engulf until we cannot forget


This time

I will sit at my loom

moments over many weeks

Maybe stealing minutes from time making money

Maybe settling my mind with the movement of my shuttle

My words flow from grief, to rage, to hope

and back again

Our little island could….

Our lucky island should ….

Our comfortable island has to….




Field Fire
Hand-spun and hand woven with zwartbles and lap waste wools weft with recycled sari silk and unspun fibre. Organic Cotton Warp.



Take Flight
Hand-spun wool yarns from the following sheep breeds: Merino, Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester, Zwartbles, Balwen Cross, Romney, Ryeland, Corridale, Blue Texel and North Ronaldsay. Crocheted based on a pattern by Megan Lapp. Made to be worn at demonstrations.

Die in

22nd April 2023


The tower of Big Ben

hangs

alone and

upside down

in my eye line


The empty sky

at odds with the sound of

birdsong

filling this space

where traffic

once thrived

Now occupied by over

60,000 people

lying on the tarmac


We made ourselves trees

as we marched

Branched arms

hands nests

for the machine made echos

of a forest


The walk in the invisible woods was

hopeful

With smiling and singing

chattering and chanting

Wondering that

so many showed up


We were human

when we felled ourselves

Silent and listening

Alone and vulnerable

Grieving

the ecoside we are causing

The absence of life beyond our own


There is a power in this

ten minutes

though there shouldn’t be

This sound of birds should

be so everyday

Even in this city


It is distant human song

that brings us back to life

face paint

tear streaked


There should be a power in this

this silent showing

of collective caring

So many people should make a difference

So many people should change something

beyond ourselves


but from the outside

we can seem

like the birdsong

there

and

gone




Planet A
Hand-spun Zwartbles and lapwaste wool yarns with recycled sari silk. Crocheted to my own pattern. This is a work in progress and willl be complete when it is the size of a room on the barge Bibby Stockholm, about the size of a parking space. The government intends to house 2 refugees per room on the barge for the length of the asylum claims.

Premonition

December 2022


Its October 2019

I am a tourist at a Rebellion

Trafalgar Square

Sat in the road by the roundabout

not knowing what that means

by block built towers with boys on top

by tents and too many police


Out of nowhere loud and unforgettable

a samba band starts

a small circle standing

a woman in the centre with a whistle

signalling, shifting, dancing

inescapable energy from their fingers to their feet

The sound strikes my stomach

rumbling, rallying, calling to action


I do not know you can react to crisis

with dancing!

With creativity and energy

silence sometimes but with strategy

as the cherry picker comes in too fast

and the boys on the tower are taken down

I leave still uplifted to have witnessed it


Fast forward a pandemic

how that shrunk my world

and all my good intentions to get involved

it's March 2021

I am 0 rebellions old

I stand cold In a park by the football fields

and pick up a drum

nervous and not in time

knowing nothing and no one

but it’s a start


The first test comes

August 2021

I am half a rebellion old

With 5 tunes in my head

my drum on my hip


I learn what it means

to defy authority with our bodies

when we block Oxford Circus

Women at the centre

locked on to a block built bright pink table

encircled with hands glued together

Authority responds

with with a bike as a battering ram


That is before we encircle them

surround them with sound

silence the Section 14

as long as we can

witness the arrests

for peaceful protest


Leaving is hard

but I know my limits

sit watching the stories

on screens in hostel bar


Those weeks I watch them

my 6 months samba siblings

step up, sending the signals

leading the band break after break

bringing us back to the beat

keeping us on our feet

6 hours a day or more


Time somehow trebles its speed

It's October 2022

I am 2 full rebellions old

and a day

Outside Downing Street

we are blocking the road

and burning our energy bills


I step into the circle

one woman with a whistle

100 drummers or more

shifting my feet to keep the beat

Somehow signals start to flow

I still do not know I can do this

still see myself on the sidelines

not calling the action

but the band knows the breaks

and I do my best


I walk away in wonder still shaking

I would not have believed this

just one month ago

even though I’ve worked at it

and wanted it for a while

This is now a world where

I can whistle


Friendship has forged this

I have seen them step up

day after day

practise and protest

Pouring their energy creatively into a strategy

being a change we all want to see

whether they believe it will happen or not

In the hope one day we can say

this is a world where

we have won





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