Ellie, better known online as Petalplum, embraces the art of slow stitching. It is one aspect of her slow living approach to life. Slow living and slow crafting can help us heal and connect more with ourselves and others. In this two-part interview, Ellie shares how slow stitching enhances her quality of life.
Introduction from The Maker
I’m Ellie, a textile artist, creative maker, and writer. I’m also a photographer, creative teacher, and advocate for slow simple living. Plus I’m a mama to three beautiful, creative, often noisy children.
I go under the name of Petalplum, my online ‘persona’ that I started many years ago (before Instagram). My online world is where I share my slow living ethos. More importantly, it’s where I share my imperfect way of approaching my craft and my art. I share my photos, words, and thoughts through my Instagram (@petalplum
) and my blog (petalplum.com.au
). I also have my regular Slow Living newsletter,
which often includes writing that I don’t share anywhere else.
I love sharing the how-tos and behind-the-scenes of crafting. Moreover, I love showing people how they can find their own voices within a craft.
Through my online conversations, courses, and in-person workshops, I show people how to seek the internal quiet self, rather than always looking outside to find the answer.
The quietness inside, finding our own center and working from that, means that we are able to use craft as a way to express ourselves, but also to discover ourselves, heal ourselves, and listen to the hidden secrets that are waiting to tell themselves to us.
I live in the rainforest, in Northern NSW, Australia. I work from home, alongside my creative husband, where nature, the birds, the trees, and the sky become my inspiration for my creative work. They also help me slow down and breathe in the moments. I feel immensely lucky to live here, and love that I have somewhere (online) to share this aspect of life with the busier world.
What Does Slow Living Mean To You?
Slow living is a whole combination of things really. It can be hard to pin it down to one simple meaning. Slow and simple living, to me, isn’t about having the right perfect linen outfit, or a whole pantry of matching bulk food jars, or living in a minimalist home.
What it really means, in my personal sense, is to find a way to bring those small moments of quietness, the gentle pockets that happen or that we create, into all aspects of a whole day.
It’s more a feeling, I guess, than a ‘thing’.
- It’s stopping for a minute longer than might seem necessary to really notice the light shaft through the trees or a building.
- Or noticing the way that our tea or coffee actually tastes, rather than sipping it in a distracted state while we scroll our phones.
- It’s not having music or podcasts or noise around us all the time, but to allow the quietness of our self a space to open up, to talk, to hear ourselves.
Slow Living is Saying No So You Can Say Yes
Slow living sometimes feels like saying no to a lot of things. No to mindless shopping every weekend or coffee dates for no real reason. No to doing things out of habit and not from intention.
Saying no to buying new things actually means that we are saying yes to a lot of things. Yes to more time at home, being content with ‘doing nothing’ or spending real time with our family and loved ones. Yes to more money to spend on things that have a deeper meaning, rather than throwaway fashion or more craft items to add to our stash.
For me, it means that I have more time to sit and craft, to simply enjoy a weekend at home with my stitching or weaving, and not spend my whole life scurrying from here to there and back again.
I do live in the extremely privileged position of being in a beautiful home, with nourishing surroundings. However, I do truly believe that if people want to imbue their lives with more slow and simple moments, they can do it wherever and however they currently live.
It’s about focusing on the pure moments in front of us and delighting in the simple things – holding hands with our children, collecting leaves from the garden or footpath, standing with the sun on our faces for a minute while we hang the wash on the line, and finding the meditation in the washing up.
What is Slow Stitching?
Slow crafting and mindful stitching
are ways that we can use our crafting and creative moments as a step into a meditation. While we would all benefit immensely from an hour or more, per day, on a meditation cushion, that isn’t the reality, not for me nor many people I know. Slow crafting is a way to tap into the mindfulness that helps us to quiet our breath, slow our busy crazy minds, and truly BE where we are.
The act of having something in our hands means that we’re not scrolling our phones. Instead, we are connecting our heads and hearts with purpose.
Not so many years ago our ancestors would sit each night, by fire or candlelight and mend their things – clothes, bedding, fishing nets, or other tools. After a long, tiring day of catching, growing, and tending to food, children, and land, sitting and using our hands in a purposeful way gives our minds a chance to slow down, to catch themselves, before we sleep. It gives us a way to converse with others, in a gentle way, or sit in the pleasant silence together.