April 28, 2020

When I started my embroidery instagram account there was a voice in the back of my head telling me 'this is a mistake.'

It was the same annoying know-it-all voice, that tells you when another gin will be a mistake.

I've never known that voice to be wrong before but in this case, it was.

But I won't hold that against it. I do understand where it was coming from.

I already had an Instagram account, and already spent too much time on my phone. Scrolling usually left me feeling jealous, or inadequate or anxious. A lot like one too many gins does. And given the times we are living in, I probably didn't need a double shot of that - a single was already more than enough.

Not only that, but embroidery wasn't supposed to be for public consumption. It was supposed to be a place for me to dance like no one was watching. It was supposed to be a hobby that was just for me, that wasn't to be published on the internet or done for the likes. It was not supposed to be another thing to add to my repertoire of creative outlets that blur the lines between work and fun.

It was supposed to be a place I could make mistakes, and enjoy the process.

Couldn't starting an Instagram account dedicated solely to my very new hobby take all of that away from it?

So you see, that know-it-all voice had its reasons.

But this is probably the only time I've ever been glad I didn't heed its warning.

Because, instead of leaving me with a social media hangover, my new embroidery account has given me the creative equivalent of a health kick.

It's a space on my phone where I can scroll safely. I've curated my feed so that I only follow other creative/embroidery/making accounts. I purposely don't follow accounts that are more lifestyle or personal. This means when I click on Instagram, I'm not bombarded with photos of other people doing lockdown/life better than I am. I simply see a feed of beautiful things people have made. Things that inspire me or teach me something.

And while yes, occasionally I still get twinges of jealousy, it pushes me to take my creativity further.

It's like Pinterest, but with a much more personal touch.

And, I've found a community on there.

That's something I've been trying to find on my other Instagram account for years, and while I have definitely made friends through my other account I'd started to think the community days were long gone - or even just a myth.

I've spoken to new people every day through my embroidery account. Other makers and creators, sharing tips about supplies and techniques, and gradually getting to know one another outside of the hoops.

I've even found more of a sense of a community in where I live after a local Instagram account shared the hoop I made of a street in my neighbourhood and suddenly I was speaking to my actual neighbours and other local makers. 

It's also reminded me that I do love taking photos for Instagram, something I thought I'd given up on. But my new account has a focus, and I like finding new ways to be creative within the restrictions of sharing only embroidery based pictures.

My new Instagram account has, in short, not just improved my creativity but also my mental health. It's allowed me to feel sociable, and free, in a time when we aren't actually free to socialise.

It's taught me that I am in charge of what I consume and that if there is something on social media, that isn't bringing me joy, I can switch it off.

What could have been a huge mistake, actually turned out to be something really really good. If it hadn't been for my social media, and sharing my creations, and meeting new people, maybe stitching alone every night would have got really lonely really quickly, and maybe I'd have given up entirely?

And where would that have left me?

Bored, stifled, and probably scrolling the horror show that is twitter at the moment?


Fred x