Endings and beginnings 11th June 2016
The start of this blog marks the end of a very long relationship with a festival that has, on reflection, shaped me almost completely. I first started trading at the Grahamstown Arts festival in 2006. I packed my car with 60 hand made, hand embroidered meditation cushions and about 10 home made yoga pants that took me ages to finish. I sat there trying to demonstrate but not freak the crowd out and, after a slow start, I managed to sell every last one of them, including the pants!
With money in my pocket for the first time in so long, I was encouraged to carry on and by the time the next fest. rolled up, I had a neat little yoga range with me, to add to more cushions. I was making my own t-shirts with designs that I had illustrated printed on them and they were all selling brilliantly. It was only the next year that the label Hamsa was born and my brand became a small and solid entity.
Each year when festival time rolled around I was inspired to create more, explore more- express whatever it was that I felt needed expression. And each time, I was met with more success and positivity.
I started feeling out other styles; less yoga based, and found deep success in dresses and hoodies, pants and different sweaters etc. My identity was taking shape more and more clearly. I started to recognise my customer, and they me, and through it all stood more solidly in my feet. Last year Grahamstown marked the launch of Anon. which is my street wear label which I created so that I can split my design aesthetic between the two labels and feel more free in each.
Grahamstown and Grahamstown festival has always been a place of deep significance for me. I went there as a school girl at the age of 16 and remember feeling at home amongst the people, the vibe, the street parties, smoking weed with the shuttle drivers who picked festival goers up and drove them from place to place. It has also marked the scene of deep emotional awakenings- heart-break and heart-openings, the start of something new, the end of something that had held me and nurtured me for so long. And in all of it- I was there, standing in Grahamstown and opening myself to the craziness of the place, the conservative locals, the drama addled actors, the side-kicks and comedians, the traders and street kids. Everything! And it all helped to bring me to where I am. I’ve been at the festival for 9 long years and something in me this year has told me to stop. It’s such a hard decision. From the flow and awakenings, the past year has been riddled with nutso resistance and creative blockages. Things that created joy now create havoc. It’s almost a revelation to me, but to not go to festival might be the exact thing I need to do to close the door and let another open.
I’m not sure where I am going. I have high hopes and big dreams for Hamsa and Anon. especially. The things in my head are fantastic and I am doing my bit to let them come out and into fruition. I used to feel weird about saying I’m a fashion designer because I didn’t really become one in the traditional way, and there are so many reasons to knock what I do in comparison to others. But I am someone who is enjoying myself through this medium. I want to pay homage to the love of all things and events that are Random. The things that shake us up out of our systems and give us some breathing space. I love communicating deeper feelings through colour, print, design. I’m here for the love of quirk and shit for the sake of it, for the expression of feeling, for laughing at everything, for the love of Black sheep and for people just doing their thing. For the love of all beings finding their own light and shining away. I’m so happy to be near any of you, and please, wear my clothes!