I've had a wonderful few days off over the holidays and they've been spent plying synthetic yarns and crocheting them into urchins to sit on my huge Christmas Tree net urchin. I've created a giant reef in my hallway.
The coin in the middle of the urchin is a pound coin and those slippers are human size! Yet another fuzzy photo!
there seems to be some confusion about why you have to email me for Joy Tree instructions.
I just wanted everyone to know that I'm not being tight, they're FREE TO EVERYONE.
I'd love you ALL to make a tree.
I want to fill the world with a forest of Joy Trees!
The reason I ask you to email is that the tree in memory of a very special woman, Joy, and is the centre of an interesting project I'm running.
When you email me, and agree to the few 'rules' about the tree - namely that you won't sell the tree for profit, but may use it for charity and awareness campaigns, then I'll happily supply and help you through the instructions of the Joy Tree.
I also want to build up a portfolio and keep in touch with of all the lovely people that are making these trees, helping to to do good around the world and all the projects it's used for.
So far, it's feeding the needy, campaigning against packaging, promoting cleaner air, teaching kids about recycling and a myriad of other great things. All from a bunch of plastic bottles.
So come on, email me! Get involved! It's Soft activism.
I've spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and clinics over the years, clutching Andy's hand and worrying desperately. I always vowed that when they found out what was wrong and my time in those places was done, then I would set up a project to say thanks to the doctors & to help others in that situation. Something a bit different that made a difference.
Well, before a short stay in hospital last April to SORT IT ALL AAAAT, the idea hit me, and the Coral Collective was born.
It's taken a while to get the idea straight in my head (being involved in the IFF's reef inspired and re-organised my thoughts), as did chatting to fibre activists such as frau fiber.
Roughly, the Coral Collective is:
To provide the clinic with a basket of small bags, each containing a fibre (yarn, wool, felt) project with instructions of how to turn that fibre into a coral.
To then turn those corals into a piece of artwork for the clinic wall to brighten the lives of those who attend and work there.
To create a common 'thread' (excuse the pun) between the individuals attending the clinic and people across the world, so that they may realise that they're not alone.
So I submitted my idea to the clinic last month and they gave me the go ahead.
And then I submitted a funding proposal to the lovely people at Lush, whom I've been working with Christmas decorations on - And they said YES!
So I had an idea, permission & funding!
Next, I needed stuff to put in those project bags; yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles, scissors, a way to keep the scissors safe, etc. Step in the wonderful generosity of people. And boy, this just gets better and better.
Yarns have already begun to be donated.
Next came the corks to keep the scissors safe. Thanks to Jane's and her husband's livers!
Now, I know that I can find crochet hooks and knitting needles in charity shops for very little, so I wasn't worried about getting hold of them, but the scissors were nagging at me. They were going to take a large chunk of the funding, meaning that I could provide fewer project bags.
Step forward the local airport security team.
Now, I don't know about you, but everytime I go through an airport, I salivate over the 'sharps' box (which often contains my own confiscated needles).
I made a few enquiries and found out that these sharps are donated to charities, so I chanced my arm and asked if I could be one of those charity projects.
They said "Yes", too! I have enough little pairs of scissors to keep this projects going for ages.
And now I've got nothing holding me back except the time to make the instruction leaflets with pics of made up coral. I've started a few easy ones.
So watch this space.
It's my plan make this so successful that it rolls out into clinics everywhere. If it's something you would like to install in a clinic close to your heart, then please do contact me as I'll happily work with you on it.
And a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to everyone that's helped and donated! You're all wonderful!
No, give me some credit, I wasn't out stealing from poor little children's Christmas stockings under the cover of darkness. I was after bigger fishnets - namely those that Christmas trees wear before stripping off and donning their baubles.
Our local timber merchant brings in FSC trees, all neatly trussed in white nets and it took no persuasion at all for him to let me hoak his bins and gather up a pile of (exceptionally smelly) nets.
I tried cleaning and sorting them, then drying them on the radiator, but the SMELL!
It was like cosying up to a tramp!
So I spent 6 hours on Sunday, pulling bits of tree out of the nets, shaking off the soil, washing them in a huge tank of hot water and hanging them on the line to dry. All outside, in a bitterly cold north wind, whipping in off the sea.
You see, I do suffer for my art!
The nets are now clean and dry and ready to crochet. I did try spinning them, but they kept getting caught in the hooks on my louet. So I shall finger crochet them and join as I go. I'll post pics when it's done.
Luckily this also gave me enough outside time to soak my Wensleydale fleece, which has now replaced the nets in their drying space near the radiator. I intend to spend Christmas day carding and spinning the lovely long, crimpy fibre.
So how did my secret Santa turn out? (see 18th November 2007 post) Well here it is. And this is it as a wall hanging. Sorry about the shots - taken with a mobile. I AM getting a new one soon.
So, I carded the tiny pieces of waste felt into to the de-dagged wenslydale (Which had felted together so much, that I had to cut any bits I could find off!) Then spun then to make the slubby pink and green yarns. These, I then crocheted these into corals and urchins.
I felted small scraps of red and green fibre that were caught up in the fleece, to make small seaweeds.
I used the hula-hoop loom to weave bits of green felt into an anemone, finishing off the edge with big, pink fleshy lips.
Used other pieces of pink felt to make a cluster of mushroom-style corals.
Scrunched a large piece of wendslydale into a woolly coral.
And then sewed them all to an old car sponge.
I'm happy to say that Elaine got my little reef at the gift giving and she's going to put it up in here Bangor fibre shop, Muse.
It wasn't so much a shower of rain, as a torrential downpour of FREEZING rain. We went up to Belfast to see my Joy Tree in Lush's window and to visit a craft fair. But within 10 minutes we were soaked to the skin. Our umbrellas had died, my boots had decided that they no longer wanted to be waterproof and, to be frank, I just wanted to GO HOME! That, my friends, is a picture of a VERY cold woman. I know I look like I desperately need to pee, but in fact, I'm just working hard at keeping my blood from freezing. Unbelievably, you can't see the rain. But trust me, it was bucketing down.
Despite the weather, I loved seeing people's reactions to my tree. I watched from outside in the street and I caught several people stroking it. Well worth the cut hands creating it.
And the craft fair? Never made it! It was straight home to put on dry clothes, sit by the fire and toast the tree with a glass or three of wine.
Hey! If you've hit my site because you saw my name across the window in LUSH, then welcome. Come on in!
And if you have stumbled upon me and haven't seen my work for LUSH, then get on down to your high street. There are 7 trees in different locations, as well as windows inspired by my work in 88! LUSH gathered together their staff and friends to come up with funky Christmas decorations that we can all make and in doing so, keep waste out of landfill.
LUSH are a cosmetics company against animal testing and oh so much more. They have always been against the use of excess packaging, but now one of their directors, Mark Constantine, is really getting behind the anti-packaging movement. (You may even have seen the documentary he did for TV recently, teaming up with the WI.)
So I've worked closely with their environmental officer to create a piece that will make you, the general public, look at packaging and waste differently.
The result? The Joy Tree.
The Joy Christmas tree is in memory of a friend's mother, Joy, who
always made sure that her children had a tree at Christmas, no matter
how tight money was, even if it was a painted and decorated branch from
the local park. The original tree that you can see elsewhere on my site was decorated
with tiny toys from crackers collected by Joy and used from one year to
the next. It was this that helped inspire the tree project.
If you would like to make a Joy Tree, then I'm happy to supply you with the instructions, but there are a few rules to their release.
The Rules Are:
It's not sold for profit when it's made - although I'm happy for it to be used in the context of
charities and awareness groups' auctions. Consider the instructions a gift and
then you can gift on what results from your crafting.
2) If you
use it for awareness campaigns/advertising/features (as many people
are) then you give me a credit with the original concept. "Original
Joy Tree concept by Inga Hamilton at www.rockpoolcandy.com"
3) That you spread the word about
what you make into schools/tell friends and family, etc, so that people
start to be challenged by what they view as trash and maybe make their
own trees. (People rarely look at a plastic bottle in the same way
again, when they've seen the tree.)
4) You take pictures of
whatever you make and any that people you tell make and email them to
me, as I'm building a library of people from around the
world. We're creating a Christmas tree forest to raise awareness of
plastic usage. I'll put the pics of the trees on my site. It's already 'growing' in the States and Canada.
you're happy with that, then I'll happily send you out the
instructions, just email me. I'm not trying to be precious about the project, but just
to make the world a little bit better with every crafter that takes up
the challenge! : )
Inga Hamilton is proud to say that diversified technology company 3M support her art and community work by providing 3M 4251 Maintenance Free Gas/Vapour and Particulate Respirators for those involved in her projects.