Finding Joy and Resilience During a Pandemic Through Craft.

by Jenny Fong November 08, 2020

Finding Joy and Resilience During a Pandemic Through Craft.

I didn’t know where to start this post.

All I can say is we’ve gone through the gauntlet of emotions as a species and are continuing to discover how to be resilient within ourselves and supportive towards families, friends and neighbors. A little about me, I’m a person who feels things very deeply whether thinking about the human condition, my community or my ability to dig deep and find a way to survive and ultimately seek happiness during anxious times.

I decided I wanted to capture the essence of this year through shibori. From going into lockdown in March, to the global outrage sparked by the terrible murder of George Floyd, to wildfires in Sept, the close election in Nov, I’m reaching for a new word to express my incredulity. And yet, during quiet moments I was somehow finding peace. I want to share these creations embued with love and resilience with you.

The pandemic has forced focus onto simple pleasures and silver linings. 

My husband and I have found joy in simple things, like sitting in the backyard on a clear starry night and hearing my neighbors laughing over the fence. Or grabbing take out and meeting my mom in a rose garden for lunch. The pandemic has forced focus onto simple pleasures and silver linings. So that’s my inspiration for this Collection: Finding Joy and Resilience Through Shibori.

And so, without further ado, here are the designs:

Design 1 “Laughter” Neighbors Laughing

Photo of t shirt that has shibori design called laughter

Shibori design called "Laughter". See all the color ways here.

If someone said to me, express laughter using shibori, this is what it would look like. My husband and I often sit in the backyard on the weekend and listen to music after doing yard work or if we’re having a fire pit in the evening. There’s a fence with a huge honeysuckle bush at the back that has hummingbirds buzzing around all summer. Beyond that is our neighbor who’s lived in her house for over 30 years. We chat over the fence every now and then and trade tomatoes for her figs.

I'm imagining cartoon words "Ha ha" emitting from the body as shibori flowers.

One clear star-studded indigo evening, my husband and I were chatting and could hear her and her friends gently laughing over the fence. I was struck by the beauty of that moment and that’s how the design “Laughter” came to be.

This design is what laughter looks like to me. I'm imagining cartoon words "Ha ha" emitting from the body as shibori flowers. I used a pleating technique to create these graphic flower shapes and placed them one by one with movement over the body. More laughter please.

Click here to learn about natural dyes, sustainability and fabrics used.

Design 2 “Love”

Photo of front and back of shibori t shirt with a heart design on front and back

Shibori design called "Love" front and back. See all the color ways here.

June was a particularly intense month globally. As a humanity we were dealing with massive unknowns of the pandemic and then the terrible murder of George Floyd happened. The video went viral and global Black Lives Matter protests touched off. I support BLM wholeheartedly and am an ally to my Black friends. The message to me was about spreading more truth, acceptance and love into the world.

The wearer is surrounded by both sides of love, becoming love.

 During that time, I ran across a passage by Toni Morrison from her book Beloved: “Love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.” Every time I read her words I stop and take a deep breath. Loving your heart is truly the prize, the beginning of healing and the beginning of joy. Sometimes I think about this passage while I’m running and all my worries wash away and I’m truly in the moment, appreciating the moment.

Although this design looks like a simple heart, what is beautiful about it is, the heart on the front is reflected on the back and has amplifying marks above and below the heart, looking like a heartbeat on a shirt. The wearer is surrounded by both sides of love, becoming love.

Click here to learn about natural dyes, sustainability and fabrics used.

Design 3 “Celebrate” Celebrate Our Differences

Photo of shibori t shirt called celebrate

Shibori design called "Celebrate". See all the color ways here.

Which brings me to the idea of celebrating our differences. When I reflect on what’s influenced my taste in everything from music to food, design, books, and of course shibori, I know that traveling to new places and seeing new people, customs and cultures has always inspired me, shocked my perspective and set me on a new path. We need to celebrate our differences. Humanity needs diversity to thrive.

We are all the same species with different everything and that is something to celebrate.

It’s not about visiting a new place and taking what you like from it and that's it. It’s about opening eyes, minds and hearts. It’s about recognizing and respecting that people live differently, have created so many beautiful inspiring and different things, and giving props back to them. If we focused on celebrating our differences we’d be in a much better place as a whole.

This design is a set of 5 circles all tied or pleated using different techniques. The statement is we are all the same species with different everything and that is something to celebrate. There's also a motif on the lower right back, just cause that one counts too.

Click here to learn about natural dyes, sustainability and fabrics used.

Like these designs? I have 3 more that speak to all the stargazing I did this spring and summer: Galaxy, Planet (an ode to David Attenborough), and Back to Life. Check back here to see them.


Jenny Fong

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