I want to start with a confession — writing this piece scares me. That’s because I’m not just writing about my business, The Roving Artisan. I’m baring a piece of my soul.
The Roving Artisan is like my fourth child after three adorable, beloved, but insatiable mini-humans. It offers private, mobile workshops to learn the art and craft of weaving on a loom. I rove all over Greater Sydney ‘spreading the weave’ as I like to say. Whether it be for groups of friends, key celebrations like hens parties and baby showers, or team building events, I love being able to create a unique experience that brings together creativity, craft and connection.
But The Roving Artisan is also a silver lining against one of the darkest clouds of my life.
Earlier this year, I was admitted to St John of God’s Mother and Baby Unit. I stayed there for five weeks. I had been diagnosed with Post Natal Depression and OCD after the birth of my son in 2012. But it was since Audrey was born in 2016 that it came back with a vengeance. My admission to the MBU was precipitated by an acute episode, in which — and this is what I’m so scared to say — I attempted to take my own life.
I feel a visceral fear as I write those words. How will people react? What do I tell my children? How will the parents of my children’s friends respond?
Right now, I put this fear aside, and embrace honesty and vulnerability. It’s this raw, open exposure that has also allowed me to find the courage to start the business that I’ve dreamed of for years.
Why weaving? Since my diagnosis, weaving has given me a happy and safe place to be. It keeps my hands and mind busy when it so wants to be consumed by other things. It’s a creative outlet where I can make beautiful items for my home and gifts for family and friends. What’s more, weaving with others is an opportunity and place to connect in this busy fast-paced world.
I am so proud to provide an opportunity for women to slow down, come together and create something memorable and beautiful in the comfort of their own setting.
I’m also honoured to use this business to give back to an important charity — The Gidget Foundation — to which a percentage of the revenue from each of my workshops is donated.
The Gidget Foundation supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents by helping them get timely and supportive care. It does a remarkable job at raising awareness and encouraging us to have a conversation about this disease and break the stigma that is still there.
My hope is that in my own small way I can contribute to a better understanding of PND, as well as create a safe, welcoming space for us all, and breed a few new weavers to boot.