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Welcome to Luminosity & Sunshine

Designer, maker, upcycler… fabric, trims and paper hoarder… user of discarded things which I turn into quirky original pieces..

Tag: creativity

My Singer

With trepidation I lift the lid of the wooden box on legs that has remained closed for X years. This is no ordinary box. This is a box full of memories.

I was 14 when my Grandma passed away. She was the first person close to me to die. I don’t think I knew how to grieve. All I knew was that this illness beginning with C had brought years of sadness and now grief. My happy childhood memories were tainted by an unspoken cloud hanging over the bungalow. It’s hard to understand at that age why it wasn’t always a happy place to be.

After my Grandad passed away to the same illness, we took a material possessions family journey through decades of my Grandparents life. Inheriting my Grandmas treadle Singer sewing machine and sewing box meant the world to me. I didn’t realise then that these inanimate objects would unlock a link to the past, my own healing and happier times.

When I set up my own area within our shared studio space three years ago, I knew I wanted these two sentimental pieces of my history to have pride of place. Modern machinery meets vintage as my Husqvarna sturdily sits on top of the Singer table. A shrine to my crafty heritage and the skills passed down to me in my genes and lovingly taught first hand through the generations. My Grandma teaching my Mum, my Mum teaching me. First hand tuition or silent observation of the love and dedication that goes into making something by hand. Prompted by this story I must now ask the question I haven’t asked before. Who taught my Grandma?

As I sit at the treadle table for the first time, I feel a deep sense of connection to my Grandma. I think of the hours she must have spent in this exact same spot. She had a skill, but she must have also had a passion and a drive to make and create, just like me. My mind unlocks vivid early memories of my Grandma effortlessly working the treadle pedal as I watched in awe. There is something very melodic and soothing about the rhythm and the sound of this magic machine. Weaving some of these happier memories together in my mind, allowed me to heal the old grief and sadness that had lingered hidden inside me. Silent, unknown, unspoken grief.

Only recently have I summoned up the courage to open the lid of the box of memories. The distinctive smell of vintage haberdashery filled my nostrils. Inside the custom-made quilted lid, I found dozens of pins and sewing needles with surplus thread, all placed in their place by my Grandma. When was the last time? When did the illness take over and make it the last time? Little soldiers of craft entombed in time.

Gingerly I navigate my way through the contents of this crafting work station and my subsequent emotions. I was surprised to find “yards and yards” of beautiful old lace. A chance conversation with my Mum helped to explain its provenance. My kind Grandma used to buy small soaps to raise money for her church. She would carefully wrap them with lace and fix the lace in place with a sequin and a pin. I felt this was such a thoughtful and heartfelt deed that needed to be celebrated and shared to inspire.

When I started to develop my idea for a “Share The Love Bundle” this was the focal point of my idea. A bundle of love hand tied by me with my Grandmas lace. I carefully set about hand washing the lace and then painstakingly untangling and unravelling the bundle of baby pink hues. My thoughts moved away from my frustration at the knots and entanglement to the true provenance of the lace. The lace factory. The buzz of the factory. The skill of the people who made the lace. Proud workers trained and skilled. Skills lost in time and generation. I hang the lace to dry and the darkness fades away. Light streams through the thin veils as they hang majestically on the cheap plastic dryer.

But what of the box that keeps on giving? I was puzzled to unearth small round wire frames wrapped with faded cotton. What would they have been used for? Why would they be in there? What would Grandma have made with them? My Mum sheds yet more light on my questions. My Grandma used to make lampshades. Shivers bristle down the length of my spine. My Grandma used to make lampshades!?! How did I not know this? Ever since I began to re-explore my creative talents I have been drawn to lampshades. My adventurous (just started walking) little boy accidentally broke a lampshade at my parents’ house which happened to have belonged to my grandparents. My Mum suggested I take it to the studio and see if I could fix it. I fixed it and upcycled it and loved it. My passion to “muck about” with old lampshades continued and continues to this day. It astounds me that I have forged my own way along my creative path and got to this point without knowing this shared skill. Has my Grandma been guiding me all along? Does this magic box just keep on giving?

 

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Finding Your Creativity Workshop – Thursday 21st June 2018 7-9pm

Earlier this week I launched my first ever “Finding Your Creativity” workshop. I will be hosting FYC at the vibrant Croft Myl in Halifax in the funky purple meeting room. A two-hour relaxed workshop where you will meet like-minded people. We will talk and inspire each other within a group to identify the blocks that are holding you back. With guidance you will create a vision board to help you focus on your future creative self. There will be cake!

My passion for finding and nurturing my own creativity resurfaced when I became pregnant with my little boy. I had to start with a blank canvas in more ways than one. If you’d like to listen or read more about my own very personal story, here’s a link to a wonderful project I have recently been involved in… 100 voices for 100 years.

I am passionate about helping others to find their creativity because I know how hard it can be to juggle everything that life throws at you in this fast-paced digital world. Being creative allows me to slow down. The process of working with my hands to create something tangible has a more positive effect on my body and mind than when I enter the unnatural digital world. Creativity helps me to find balance in my life.

I’ve spent the last few years expanding my skill base by attending lots of workshops and have seen the positive effects that group work has on my own wellbeing and others around me. In this modern “social” media world we may not always get chance to be very social in real life. Social media is a great way to connect to a wider network and has many positives, but it doesn’t fulfil the human need to be present with other humans, talking, connecting, sharing, listening. Creating and sparking ideas through a shared experience. I leave a workshop feeling like my soul has been nourished by the conversations, connections and new networks I have made.

To book on to my FYC workshop it’s £20 per person. For more details and to buy a ticket click here to go straight to my shop page. You can purchase a ticket easily with the fantastic Stripe payment system. I chose this payment system over Paypal because they are kinder to businesses and more ethical than Paypal. Did I mention there will be cake?!

If you want to keep in the loop, then click on the Facebook event page Finding Your Creativity for further updates.

If you have a friend who you think would like to come along too please feel free to share with them on social media… it does have its benefits!

See you soon!

 

Lucy x

lucy simm

Why I’m on this journey into blogdom

We all have a story to share. Everyone lives a life that is unique and original… even if you think you are run of the mill. A story from the heart is a story worth sharing. So that’s where my stories will come from. The heart. I wear my heart on my sleeve and recently got the opportunity to think about what that heart on my sleeve would want to say to the world. A Craftivist question from Sarah Corbett from Craftivist Collective enclosed within one of her wonderful “A heart for your sleeve” packs… which I purchased at a workshop I attended with Sarah last year. I’ve mulled this question over for some time and then it came to me. Kindness. My heart would have kindness written across it. Simple kindness. When I say it like that I’m reminded of a book I read recently by Sue Townsend of Adrian Mole fame. The book is called “The woman who went to bed for a year”. Great thought provoking book, where towards the end… spoiler alert… the characters talk about the best quality a person can have. Kindness… simple kindness. I wholeheartedly agree.

I feel older than my years when I start to talk about “these days” and “in this modern world”. I think there is some truth in the fact that kindness is a human trait which seems to waiver these days. TV and social media have made our society into a panel of judges, casting our opinions on lives of people who we don’t know, have never met and will never meet. This two-dimensional way of communicating allows you to remove your usual filters and to say things which you wouldn’t say to a real person if you were communicating face to face. Three dimensionally face to face… with all your senses and natural instincts in tune, picking up on how someone is reacting to what you are saying and realising if you’ve upset or offended them… or touched a nerve. The typist, communicating through Wi-Fi to the masses may not always stop and think… is this kind? I talk so much with my little boy… who is my greatest teacher… about kindness. Is that kind to someone to do that? How would that make you feel if someone did that to you? To the point where he now picks up on things I say and pulls me up if “that’s not very kind Mummy”. Wise beyond his 4 years.

As human beings we are designed to help others… to live in tribes where we work on shared tasks and no one is left feeling isolated and lonely. In “our modern world” we have created this wonderful online “social network” which has so many benefits and positives. How wonderful to be able to connect with someone at the other side of the world with the click of a button… but on the flip side we don’t necessarily know our neighbours and we don’t always have a support network around us to share the emotional and the physical load. In my observations I am talking in a very broad and generalised way about our society. My personal experience predominantly come from talking to other mothers, my new favourite thing to do. Talking about life experiences, struggles with balancing and juggling everything that gets thrown at you as a mother.

For me this where my life changed exponentially. The birth of my child and the birth of me as a mother. I was prewarned about it when a kind friend gave me an article on “the birth of a mother”. However, nothing does, and nothing can truly prepare you for that change of identity. You look the same on the outside, but a huge shift has happened inside… life will never be the same again. I’m not just Lucy Simm anymore. She is still there. Sometimes. More so these days. When I carve out time and space for her to be. But more often these days I am Mummy, Mumeeeeee, MUUUM! I started out in the early years as mama. My new identity evolving yet further as his speech progressed… so now I am predominantly Mummy or Muuuuuuum… depending on his mood. Navigating through motherhood with my heart on my sleeve. The hardest job I have ever experienced but the most rewarding and fulfilling for the heart.

My creative work allows me to be a better version of Mummy and a better version of me. Lucy, Wife, Mummy, Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister, Auntie, Cousin, Friend… the list goes on and I often wonder which hat I’m going to be wearing at any one time… see photo of “My hats” silk painting. Can I fit it all in to life and keep going? Is there enough energy in the tank? Can I find balance in my life? And that seems to be a reoccurring theme with most mothers out there… but in particular the creative ones… who are self-employed and trying to find time to spend on their creative practice, somewhere and somehow in-between their mothering. I focus on this particular group because I can relate to them the most. We have a shared language and they are my tribe #calledtobecreative

In 2015 I was inspired to set up a group called Mothers Who Make Halifax after visiting Mothers Who Make Manchester. Both groups are part of a larger national Mothers Who Make (MWM) network created by Matilda Leyser in London. Last year I handed over the reins of the group to the multi talented Alice Bradshaw so I could focus on my own business and streamline my hats and my energy output. Putting myself first and allowing myself to put my oxygen mask on first… as my good friend Zoe Mansbridge always reminds me to do. I continue to attend meetings and support the online Facebook group because… it’s women supporting women. Mothers supporting mothers. It’s something I’m passionate about. A circle of strength and support. That’s what makes life easier. People make life easier and better. Human connection. A smile, a hug, a touch, a gentle hand on your arm without words. Those things can’t be felt through a winky emoticon. Energy, vibrations, all our senses engaged, being fully present in the moment. Listening. Intently listening to someone spill out their hearts in a safe space where they feel heard, valued and not judged. What they are saying isn’t wrong or silly because it is their thoughts inside their head, their feelings in their body. They have value and are valued #uniteinmotherhood.

Going online and putting myself out there in the big wide world of the web. That was my goal for 2017. Moving my business from analogue to digital… me “just mucking about in the studio” is what I used to tell myself and others who asked because I sometimes felt that’s all I was doing. It took a lot of soul searching and professional life coaching from the inspiring Karen Hickton at Kaizen Insight to bring me the confidence to be sure of who I am, what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I grew up and got serious. I decided my creations were worth sharing on the world stage.

I’m not “just mucking about”. I’m not “just a mum”. My trip to MWM Manchester validated that change in me when I found my tribe and realised there is value in both roles that I am passionate about. In our modern society… here she goes again… we see value in that which has monetary gain. Money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round… it does indeed. Status is something I have little interest in but is inextricably linked to money. So, when we look at the unpaid motherhood role and the creative sector jobs… which often have very low income… then one cannot help but feel that both these areas are undervalued in our society. Something which I’m sure I’ll discuss in depth at a later date #motherhoodrising

So why choose blogging, social media and technology as a channel for my own voice when I’ve identified its negatives. This is something I have struggled to justify internally. When I became pregnant my creative fire ignited without warning. With that came more sureness in my own opinions, an inner warrior feeling and an unleashing of my voice. Something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Having a voice, having my own opinions, being heard and feeling sure of who I am. Feeling that my opinion is valid. It sure isn’t mainstream but it’s valid none the less. I suppose now I’ve found it… my voice that is… I want to share it with the world. Not in an arrogant way but in a kindness way. Sharing my own life experiences so that perhaps they might make someone else’s life that little bit better. Perhaps I might make a difference, make a change… for once in my life… cue song. I have always loved the quote from Mahatma Gandhi… “Be the change you wish to see in the world”… the words which influence so many people who seek a path of change for both their own internal work and externally in the world around them #BeTheChange. That’s why I’m blogging and that’s why you’re reading and hopefully enjoying my head thoughts… and will continue to follow me on my journey into blogdom #creativewriting #blogger #blogging #livethelittlethings #livecolourfully

Thank you for listening.

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