I hope the crafters reading this don’t mind, but I intend to start blogging about some more philosophical matters here now too. I’ll still post about sheep and spinning and the like, but now and again, I’ll write a post like this one. If you don’t like them, just skip past and onto the crafty bits. But I’m hoping you’ll try reading one or two of them first.
Close-up of a felted piece I made shortly after finishing my doctorate in 2006, showing a natural network structure.
It’s no secret that I started my Wildcraft business as an experiment. It was originally intended to prove that the research I’d done for my PhD could actually be applied in real life. What I didn’t expect was that my little spindle and fibre business would grow so quickly, that it would become my primary source of income within a very short space of time. I’m happy about that, I love running Wildcraft and I love that it works the way I envisaged and hoped right from the outset.
I’ve felt for some time now that Wildcraft is at a turning point. It’s grown sufficiently that I now have two people who help me, part-time, to run things smoothly, and I’m thinking about expanding my workshops to cater for more dye work, and perhaps even to teach workshops here.
I also intend to start documenting my thoughts on how Wildcraft reflects my own philosophies. My doctoral research dealt with how we could learn from how natural biological systems organize themselves, and apply those principles in our business endeavours. I was drawn to the concept of a ‘natural network’, and how naturally networked systems can produce patterns that flow and adapt to exist in their environments, in a way that many human systems do not. This was before the meteoric rise of internet-based social networking, and without information from Facebook, or Twitter, to work with, it was far harder to gather tangible data that represented people’s behaviour within a network. I did do it, but not, I felt, very convincingly, and after my thesis was published, I was left with the strong impression that I needed to do more work to prove my point. So one of the reasons that I started Wildcraft, was to show that true natural networking is possible in a human context. That business needn’t be all about competition, margins and supply chain management. It is of course about all those things, but they needn’t define how we work. Wildcraft is based on the idea that business should be about possibilies… people… creativity… and people again! When you bring people together, in a context that allows them to inspire one another, then the business part can be as easy as fanning the flames of a fire that’s already burning.