With my all new print now set to release this coming Thursday the 21st of March,  on some of Clareys all new wearable designs, its time to let you all in on the big story behind it. 

I carved this block back in 2021 when I was in my second year of printing my lino designs onto paper and sharing them. I was deeply in love with the Australian eastern honeyeater at the time and was doing lots of birdwatching with my 2 boys. I was also on a healing journey with burdock as I welcomed her into my body to help with some skin and inflammation issues.  This print was drawn and carved in a day. A moment in time, connecting two relationships I was exploring and deepening at the time. 

I printed a couple up on some beautiful handmade paper I had bought of a maker on etsy as I was not yet making my own paper. I offered them up to my small instagram community at the time and they were snapped up fast and with love, but that turned out to be the only time I ever printed this design and shared it, until now. 

The following day I received a message from another printmaker on the other side of the world. A message accusing me of copying their work and letting me know that I was 'not allowed' to sell this design unless I directly quoted their name as the inspiration, they also suggested that several other of my works were direct plagiarisms of theirs, one print I had made before discovering this persons work. 

It hit me super hard. 

As a fledgling in this vast online space it rattled me deeply. You see, my work IS similar to theirs and although we had not formed any kind of relationship, they definitely were part of an inspiration pool of other amazing printmakers and artists and gardeners I had connected with through those little instagram squares.  By going only by what I could see online, our lives had some major overlaps and we were expressing our inspirations through the same medium. In my mind we were soul kin. Channelling goodness inspired by such similar things and sharing it through our art, but alas this person did not want to connect, only accuse. 

Even though I was just at the beginning of falling in love with printmaking again after birthing, raising up and homeschooling my two boys for the past 9 yrs, I knew myself enough to know that I had copied no one. I knew how deeply connected to my subject matter and my processes I was, so I responded to these accusations with truth, strength and love and then began the process of self reflection and digestion of the feelings this all brought up. Amongst it all the fear that this other person with a massive online following could somehow effect my business, my livelihood and my way of supporting my family swayed me to make the decision not to reprint and sell this design. 

This choice was in vain though as a couple months later the fear turned out to be a real one and this other artist publicly shamed me and another beautiful printmaker, accusing us both of plagiarism to their huge following. 

I decided to publicly speak out to the accusation and the kick back was incredible. It flared up lots of great conversations and I was flooded with many many many messages of support and love.  I assume this other artist was flooded with messages too as they quickly removed their shaming words and images from their profile.  

What a yucky journey, but as with any lotus you can't have the bloom with out the mud. 

I learned SO much within it all, grounding in my truth and my artistry, expanding into and feeling the big love of both a physical and online community AND I made a special new friendship with the other accused printmaker as we supported each other through it all with love. To of gained all that, I am ultimately grateful for the experience and to continue to talk about it brings light and voice into the dark silent places that bullies can thrive in. 

Another bird and a branch.  Such a deeply human motif. Stretching back through time and space. 

My little bird and branch with which I have deep personal connection and relationship. My honeyeater and Burdock. Mine, but also yours and everyone elses all at once. 

I want to share some of the conversations,  thoughts and ideas that were shared with me by so many incredibly supportive and loving people during this whole event. I hope that they may ripple out and help other creatives as much as they have helped me 💛 These words are taken from an instagram post that I shared back in 2022.

Some topics that we collectively shared deeper after this experience were -

  •  Influence - the nature of it, the nature of interconnection, the evolution of art and mediums through time, our connections to nature.
  •  Choices - Do we share our creations in knowing that we are contributing to the collective pool of inspiration and ideas and that each of us see and express uniquely, or do we decide to run with the narrative of our crumbling capitalist system and patent, claim and declare ownership over imagery and ideas that we as humans have been connecting with, exploring, interpreting and appropriating for a very long time.
  •   Connection - In times of difficulty do we chose to connect or to segregate?
  • Support - A very repeated sentence from so many of your beautiful messages was ‘ There is room at the table for all of us’ Can we decide to lift each other up, work together, collaborate and celebrate our shared loves and lives as humans of earth in knowing we are all a living part of this vast interconnected world.

 Alongside these beautiful explorations some big things I learned were - 

  • As weird as social media can be there is real potential for connection and loving and supportive community 💛
  • Vulnerability (as hard as it can be to share) connects us to each other and opens hearts and forges relationships.
  • Creative empaths need to seek out tools and support to continue to share their important voices, art, music and healing at this time in space as they are so needed right now.
  •  It's possible to go from feeling totally unsafe and unsure as an artist utilising the online space, to feeling stronger than ever with the gifts of kind, wise, loving words and stories. We can really change each others lives and experiences of utilising these platforms to build businesses as creatives by being kind and thoughtful with our words, sharing each other's work and remembering how powerful and beautiful community in its many forms can be.
  •  To heal from any kind of shaming, we NEED community and support. It is dangerous to your spirit to try and go it alone. 
  •  Every person has their own unique history and stories and with compassion we can try to understand that sometimes people get scared or feel threatened for reasons that we will probably never ever know. Scarcity mindsets fed by culture inflate fears and contribute to actions of separation and control.

Such a big story behind this simple beautiful print.   

And NOW! 

Look where it has come too. 

 It's like this one was just waiting patiently for its final incarnation. 

It has felt so good to rustle up this print with this history attached to it, out of the archives. It feels like an important step in the healing within it all. To reclaim it,  pop it into Clareys amazing hands and eyes to turn it into a beautiful repeat pattern.  To be this close to releasing a range of stunning wearable artworks that I am definitely going to be wearing with pride and with love for the reminders in it all.

The reminders of these relationships to my other than human kin - the eastern honeyeater and the incredible healing Burdock plant.  

The reminders of love, support and community. Of choosing to be brave and shine light into the darkness. 

All of this in this one little print. 

Can't wait to share it and all of Clareys amazing new garments with you all in a weeks time xxx


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