This is a story of following your dreams regardless of where they take you, of finding the connection and cultures that envelop the world. That are woven into every country’s fabrics and tales.
This is my story.
At school I was bullied, I spent miserable years being the uncool kid at the back of the class.
I wear glasses, have fussy curly hair and was dressed in hand me down clothes, acceptance from my peers was unlikely! I would spend my days wandering around alone disappearing inside the stories of my imagination, dreaming of the far-flung places I would go when school was but a distant memory.
A few days after leaving school I was on a plane heading for Central Africa, my flight paid for by a grant I won for a story I had written, with no idea where I would stay, what I would do for money and a sense of freedom in my heart. I wrote in my diary on the plane, ‘I have no idea what I will be looking upon tonight nor where I will stay, so excited.’ I had begun a journey, my path, following my passion towards travel and adventure, finding the intricate tales woven across this land we call home.
In Africa I fell in love with the rich red dust tracks leading to the horizon, the swaying women carrying overloaded baskets on their heads in perfect balance. Babies secured to their backs in swathes of brightly coloured patterned fabrics. I heard the songs and stories that went with the fabrics, a single pattern saying a thousand words. You could say my love of fabrics began here in Central Africa in the bustling markets and cramped rides in the back of pick up trucks.
Since that trip to Africa I have lived and travelled in many places across the world sourcing fabrics and the artisans who make them. Hearing stories of weaving looms in the Outer Hebrides that have been passed down through generations, of wool created by sheep you can see out of the misty fogged up windows, dyed with lichens and plants. I have drunk whiskey into the early hours and stood on peat-soaked landscapes the colours of which are reflected in every thread of the textiles produced.
I have learnt of the legends behind the colourful Kente fabrics from Ghana, where every pattern and colour tell its own unique story. I have seen the threads of the cotton ikats of Bali being dyed in bundles and laid out to dry across bamboo tables in the mid-day sun. I have dined with Royalty in Bhutan, touching the hand-woven fabrics worn by kings and queens. I have sat in stillness and peace on mountain tops as the sun rises and falls and surfed perfect waves in crystal clear waters as tropical fish dart below my feet.
In creating ‘The World in Cushions’ I wanted to share the joy I have found in the fabrics and cultures from around the world. To champion the artisans and stories woven into every fabric. To bring this connection into our homes, to create style and beauty whilst supporting everyone I meet and work with along my path. It has been a dream come true to create this company and connect with cushion lovers from every walk of life.
I currently live in Bali and in these unsettled times of isolation and fear I find comfort in the sounds of the birds and the wind moving through the leaves, of the view from my veranda looking out across the jungle with glimpses of the sea and Mount Agung in the distance. I realise that my childhood daydreams have lead me here becoming my reality and that however crazy you think your dreams or passions are if you follow them leaping into the unknown the world will always catch you in the palm of its hand and gently push you towards your ultimate purpose. For me I do not yet know what this will be, what I do know from the past twenty five years since I left school in my rear view mirror and found myself on a plane to Africa that it will be even greater than I could imagine. The colours will be brighter, the stories will be richer, and the love will be deeper.
If you wish to follow me on my adventures and tell me about your own, you can find me on Instagram @theworldincushions
Here’s to following your dreams and owning what you love.