Recycled yarn

Written by Emma Constantine – Webinart Mentee

When I joined Webinart, I had very recently returned from the UK after living in Australia for almost 2 years. Coming home to no permanent address or employment a week before lockdown was good timing. However it was also bad timing for looking for work. Previously I had worked as an English teacher, but I wasn’t looking to go back into the classroom. I wanted to find a way to balance my art and creativity alongside part time work. Eventually I found this as an online English tutor. 

While living in Australia, I had discovered and developed an amazing craft: how to make twine from fabric scraps. This had been perfect while away because I was travelling a lot, and this craft needs no equipment other than scissors and your hands. After a short internship in Melbourne at a sustainable textile company, I was motivated to really have a serious go at establishing something from this twine making. The founder of the company where I had interned, was really encouraging about the twine: she thought it was amazing and loved that it used up their fabric scraps, adding another dimension of sustainability to their business as well. 

Photo of artist, Emma Constantine.
Period pads made with up cycled materials by artist Emma Constantine.

A friend of mine had been part of Webinart the previous year so I had an idea of what it involved and saw how it had helped her to develop her own projects. It popped up on my social media feed and I applied because I knew I would need some support and guidance if I wanted to develop my art practice further. At the time of applying, my small business, Jup, didn’t exist. I was applying with both my performance art practice and this vague idea I had of using the twine and making some kind of small business from that. I had no idea what it would become at that stage but I knew I wanted it to become something bigger than it currently was.

After my first call with my mentor, Aly, I felt so encouraged and uplifted. She expressed genuine excitement for my small business idea and art practice, which helped me to believe in myself with a fresh confidence. Aly was generous with her time, made me feel valued and that I was worth investing in. The signposting she gave me to relevant projects and events to get involved in were always inspiring and reminded me of the larger arts community that exists: something that was so important to be reminded of during the pandemic.

Two months ago, in May 2021, my husband and I moved into the campervan that he’s been converting over lockdown. Currently I am running Jup from living in the van and I’m so pleased with how this is managing to work out. I have secured several stockists for our reusable period pads, and led two online workshops from my small desk. Yes, the sewing machine has come with us on our van life adventure!

I am really proud of the progress I’ve made with the help of Aly’s encouragement and belief in me. In the near future, I hope to increase the number of shops stocking our reusable period pads, and to see this become the norm product that people who menstruate use for their periods. I hope to continue to smash the taboos around this topic via social media and to inspire more people to live low waste wherever they can. I hope that online workshops will continue to be popular and I’d like to develop a platform where participants can complete upcycling video courses.

Thank you so much Aly and Junction Arts for providing support and belief in emerging artists and creators like me. Without you, I would feel alone and hopeless. With you, I have felt empowered, worthy and able.

For more of Emma’s work visit:
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