what did i actually do in 2015?

Front cover of Uk Handmade Spring 2015
Front cover of Uk Handmade Spring 2015

So here it is, the obligatory summing up of the year gone by and looking at a fresh new year. I’m not sure what I think of these “what I did” posts…. I often worry about writing them because it seems to be a big ego trip often, showing off how amazing you are and what perfect things you do and did and often people end up reading them and thinking, bloody hell I’m rubbish I didn’t do that much this year, look how clever they are and how perfect their life is. Well I do anyway. I find myself thinking I am never as good as anyone else and that somehow I’ve failed instead of just celebrating me and my family and the simple achievements that make all the difference in mine and my families life.

All that said I am going to sort of list my achievements and celebrations for the year gone by and the reason I am doing it is that for the last few months I have been living under that dark and gloomy umbrella of depression and feeling like a failure at everything. My fibro pain has increased this winter season even though it’s been mild and really rather lovely. And with the pain comes the gloom and the feeling of pointlessness. BUT I am going to blooming well pull me head into the fresh air for at least a day and celebrate the good stuff I’ve done.

I’ve been in the press a lot, a few years ago that was one of my dreams. I must not forget the way the year began and that was with a five page spread feature in Period Living Magazine. Fist pump. Followed closely by Comic Relief and Mollie Makes bringing out a book called the Red Nose Day Crafternoon Bookazine, I had my hoop project in that. The bookazine raised about £70k for the charity, the bookazine being the brain child of Emma Mitchell and co edited by Jane Toft. I also held my own auction for places on a hoop workshop in my own home for a lucky few.

comic relief bookazine

Then UK Handmade, an exception online magazine championing the British craft industry only went and did an amazing interview with me, and then used my self portrait as their front cover!!! So over whelming and still can’t quite believe that. I then wrote for their next issue (summer) about workshops and the fabulous Hope and Elvis and my online workshops. So I was in two out of their four yearly editions! Mega.Mollie Makes issue 61 marna lunt and snow globesThen Mollie Makes magazine, and the quite frankly awesome creative team they have, went and asked me to contribute to the Craftavist Heart on Your Sleeve campaign by making a heart to publish with a few others in the magazine. My floral sash cover project that I made for them was picked to be in the top ten editors choice projects special edition. And finally they interviewed my for their collectors section in the current edition of there magazine (which is very special to me because it is the last edited by the wonderful Lara Watson who was the first journalist to listen to me and give me a chance). Thank you Mollie Makes for supporting me for another year.

Marna lunt in little things magazine

Little Things magazine from China was the next up to be kind enough to interview me based on my portraits and the beginnings of my fairy tales series (which are a VERY slow burner). So now I’m international don’t you know, haha. Love Sewing and SEW magazine have also been kind enough to also include me in their magazines at the end of the year with page spreads about my work and my studio space. Just one of those things happening would have been enough to tick off the dream list so thank you to everyone involved that supported me.

The beginning of the year started in basic insanity, far too much work to do by myself and a lot of running around like a headless chicken. I enlisted two fab friends on a part time, self employed basis to help me get my head together and they were wonderful and splendid but sadly not the answer in the long run to the work load that was becoming clear that needed to be done if I wanted to keep expanding and making the Marna Lunt brand reach the starry heights that was expected. What actually happened if that I had a complete and total breakdown in July, I was burnt out and broken. It turns out I really didn’t want to be this big business woman with all sorts of ranges and merchandise. I basically find the whole lots of followers thing absolutely terrifying. I also rather love it though, how annoying am I?! The fact that people like me gives me self worth (that may be wrong but it’s the way it is, if someone likes me it makes me feel great)  but the fact that people like me and I can’t always walk around with greasy hair and looking really really bad or be the grumpiest cow on earth one day because I have crazy pmt, makes me feel weird and uncomfortable (but maybe that’s a higher powers way of telling me to stop being such a grumpy cow once a month). I also felt like I needed to give give give and I was finding it hard to even think about what tea to make let alone what I thought people wanted from me, to be constantly original, creative and fun. So I hid for a while. Still doing that a bit actually. Kind of like it. This is where I hide……

(all from my adventures on my Instagram feed)

Anyway yeah so I sort of didn’t cope so well in the second part of the year because of the first part of the year being what dreams are made of. Yeah, I know, that’s a bit stupid isn’t it. It doesn’t make sense, but it happened. In that first six months I also launched a new website and four online learning to stitch courses and taught myself how to make and edit video, understand the back room of a website, I also launched a new ceramics range (harder than you’d think it would be to make high quality bone china with tiny weeny stitch details of my work on it, and bloody expensive). I also did a few large contemporary craft fairs and made stock for all that, oh yes and then I made lot of work for new and amazing galleries that I now supply, big happy face, another dream list tick. Oh yeah and in December I launched a new blog and website and logo/branding.

Last thing on the list now honest because I’m sick of myself too. The best thing I think I’ve done this year is teach. This year was the first year I properly taught workshops at exclusive fancy venues around the country and I only BLOOMING LOVED it. I found that although it’s hard work and painful with the fibro, the benefits and happiness it gives me is second to nothing. So a massive thank you to Hope and Elvis, So Sew Pretty, Cowslip Workshops, Crochet Retreat, Preston Hall Museum and the Stitch Retreats. You’ll see me at all those venus again this coming year plus a few more extras that can be found on my www.illuminatingembriodery.co.uk website under Meet and Make.

marna sketching in Amsterdam, taken by charlotte eve

So it’s safe to say I did more than I realised this year and I now see why I became so ill and quite frankly I absolutely deserved it, what an idiot! I am emailed by you lovely lot so much telling me I’m inspiration and I help you all so much, and I am incredibly proud and touched by that. BUT what kind of an inspiration am I if I teach you to do unrealistic things that you can’t live up to, because I can’t live up to them myself clearly. I have an invisible disability and a disabled child as well as a perfectly healthy and very active five year old and a husband, that is enough for anyone to look after, and that is so much more than adequate to be honest. 2015 has taught me to keep things simple. Make a realistic plan and stick to it, stop trying to make everyone happy, you can’t. But if I can make me happy then maybe then I can start making others happy again. You can’t do it all, you might want to, I want to, I hate not being able to do everything I want, it’s frustrating and quite frankly I’m a control freak so I simply can’t have other people doing things for me. BUT I HAVE to.  And this year, it’s ME year. Time for focus, calm, health and getting back to basics.

north yorkshire

This years buzz words are INSPIRE and TEACH. I have my SMART GOALS and I’m not afraid to use them. I will continue to be ‘around’, I’m not like giving this whole thing up or anything. If you like painting, stitching and drawing and creating and being inspired with work developing and experimenting and me as a person developing and finding and trying out new things, seeing new places, and maybe even learning some stuff and and and, then stick around. It would be great to share it with you all here on my blog and over on my Instagram feed, please say hello.

Thank you to each and everyone of you wonderful people who have sent kind words of love and support to me, you never knew how much they meant, how they stopped the lights going out. And this year the lights may dim sporadically, because thats just they way life works, but the twinkle will always return because of you.

Marna + Simon (low res)-40

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6 thoughts on “what did i actually do in 2015?

  1. Oh Marna,

    I’m lying here with my iPad on my chest feeling a bit low. Christmas didn’t turn out as I expected. So much effort went into it but my mother seemed to want to press all my buttons.
    Coping with an invisible illness is frustrating. I’m so fed up with putting on a front to people who should understand or should they. Maybe I expect too much.
    Last year was a great year creatively and personally . I seem to be thinking that 2016 has a hidden agenda already and don’t seem to be getting good vibes.
    After reading your blog I feel lifted . I need to shake myself down , pick myself up and think I can achieve anything I want and to stop being afraid of failing .

    So Thank you for sharing and let’s reach for the stars xxx

  2. Marna, this post is inspiring for many reasons. My friend passed on the words of wisdom to me that ‘we’ are the most important people in our lives. Most of us when asked, ‘who is the most important person in our lives?’ would answer with our children, spouses or family, but if we are not healthy we are not as good for them. I hope 2016 brings more amazing things for you. I look forward to coming to one of your workshops.
    Rebecca X

  3. Hi Marna!
    Life can be a rollercoaster, can’t it! The trouble with rollercoaster’s is that yoh can’t get off until it stops! So, imagine you are riding a wave instead – as it rises, feel the exhilaration and enjoy the view, as it tips over, relax and enjoy the ride. If you get dumped on a busy beach enjoy the area and new experiences; if you land on a deserted beach enjoy the peace and recharge your batteries!
    You should be so proud of your year, so many dreams fulfilled! Us fibro ‘sufferers’ should know that after the joy, pleasure and hard work often comes suffering.
    I think my ‘new’ word for 2016 is going to be ‘no’, it gives you power over your own journey and can so easily be changed to ‘yes!’ If you find you can manage the ride.
    May 2016 bring you all that your heart needs.
    Takecare of yourself. X

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