My Take on 'Collaboration' November 13, 2016 15:59 1 Comment

the Autumn Assembly Gathering

Before Lines & Current started as a brand and online shop, it was first an Instagram account called '@collabroject.' The twinny, @newportals, and I set it up one night in Autumn 2014 when we were on a nightshift looking after my lovely Granda before he passed.  

Having been with Granda that day, helping our devoted Granny feed him and watching our girls help out with all the 'life' stuff, we had an untypical sense of 'yolo' and it was then that we tentatively started the account. If you've ever started your own 'thing,' you know the doubt you feel before you press GO. "What if we can't keep it up? What if I'm never inspired?  What if I'm just not as creative as I thought??" But once our dithering had passed and after lol-ing a lot about the rareness of the word 'collabroject,' we went for it. We had a sense that we wanted to put something out there and even though we weren't sure exactly what, we just had a feeling we should start and see where we ended up.

Backing up to why we chose the name 'collabroject?' It's a bit of a mesh, as these things usually are. I was intrigued by the idea of working with others and growing together. The twinny, Ruth and Mike (her hubby) were releasing a folk song called 'Orchard' with their band, at the time @TheJepettos.  My Granda, being the fine County Armagh man he was, had a mini orchard in one of his fields and the song was named after it.

Ruth says, "Orchard is about realising that as we grow, we change...Maybe we try to recapture something of our youth and there is a struggle in that... but the most important thing for us to do is rise to the moment and GROW" and in the spirit of collaboration, Ruth and Mike invited myself, our cousin Tabitha, @CupOJoemusic & a drummer Dave to play on the track.

 

Have a listen above if you're interested in our little folksy jig and how i bruised my thigh after the many takes used to make the recording:) All in the name of art.

Anyway, all that to say,  this was the soil Lines & Current was sown into... "Together, We Grow." We even created a hashtag #YouPlantIllWater & included it in some of those early Instagram posts. One of my favourite posts with that hashtag is of my daughter Esmee feeding Granda. A photo, far from the white-walled aesthetic the Lines & Current pics are today, but still such an important part of it's journey, so I've kept it in there.

Fast forward two years, the insta account changed and grew into something else very quickly. The idea of 'collabs' and 'collectives' have gripped this pop/ insta- culture....and it's great. I love that my COLLAB's and LOOKBOOK website pages are full with other creative interpretations of the brand and showcase how cool this community is.

Which leads me to a little meet up i had with a few other Northern-Irish ladies a few weeks ago in Belfast. It was a lovely little gathering of six of us including twinny Ruth, who swooped in towards the end. Check out our total #beaniegirlgang moment on the streets of Belfast.

 beanie girl gang moment wearing lines and current headwear

 ruth in the elias beanie in grey by lines and current headwear

We decided that each of us, on our own creative platforms would write something along the theme of "Collaboration," keeping it really vague and allowing each of make our own contributions. Let me introduce them to you and watch out for their complementing blog posts on the same theme.  

First up, @ruthweirpoetry. On her Wee Words blog which features a beaut collection of her own poetic words and pictures, she writes, 

there's nothing new here
i'm always desperately trying to
come up with something new
but every word has
already been used before;
every phrase of love &. war exhausted
i will, therefore, only rewrite
what has already been written
but with a different pen, page, and perspective.

 

A humble recognition that when we create, we're simply doing our best and asks the question, "is it new or unique anyway?." If we consider this for a second, I think there might be a healthy application to us ladies, especially us in the creative or entrepreneurial world. Gone are days when we're frozen with rage that "she's copied me" or "that was my idea she took" cos basically no matter how smugly creative we think we are, it's probably has been done before in some way, shape or form. That doesn't mean we give up. I think about this all the time and my conclusion is this: there's enough space for us all to play. Of course we've got to show some common decency and discretion; it's not a 'you're welcome to come get cozy with me and steal my ideas' free-for-all out there...politeness at all times, right ladies? But hopefully, in the end, if i'm seeking out my own authentic expression, my creative outflow or business idea will be different to yours because we're not the same person. I think the essence of collaborating, is celebrating others and when we're paralysed by that annoying jealousy spark, that's not really happening.

Moving along, I also got to connect with Chloe and Rachel, best friends from @wearewildlavender and have since been enjoying their Wednesday posts from their really beautifully photographed lifestyle blog. They love to chat about style, food, baby bumps and what makes them happy. Of course i had to include a pic of the lassies in the infamous HETTA hat

the Wild Lavender girls wearing the Hetta multi-functional hat by lines and current

 

Local lass Holly B @clothedinstrength is another one doing her thing in the creative centre of blogging Belfast. This time with an emphasis on style, she's been a loyal supporter of my brand from the start and actually it was her love of the DELTA triangle pendant and her connection to back story of 'sisterhood' and 'overcoming' that initiated the get- together in the first place. #DeltaStrongTogether. 

Holly b from her blog Clothed in Strength in the Delta triangle pendant necklace by lines and current

 

I would definitely recommend you check out the creative expressions of the ladies i mentioned above if you fancy some light and interesting reading on their individual blogs, not to mention the songwriting of my sis in her band New Portals. The idea of collaboration, albeit kinda trendy right now, is still such an important part of the Lines & Current brand and i owe a lot to those who have inspired and taught me along the way. January 2017 will mark my second year of online selling. I've worked my butt off since Ruth and I pressed 'go' on that initial insta-account and there are probably easier ways to make a dollar out there, but it's been the 'community' aspect of this career that's kept me hooked. Here's to many more future collabs...

 

 

**Thanks to @katmervyn for the header pic of this dreamy table setting at the Autumn Assembly Gathering i had the privilege of attending last month. A collaborative and creative meeting if ever there was one.  Crescendoed with a gorgeous meal and creative chats, the event was hosted by @melwiggins in a functioning orchard in Co.Armagh. To see and read more about the evening, read Mel's latest post here and Janice's post here.