Goodbye for now….
Hello Stitching World
My hope is that what I have to share with you today will be met with understanding and acceptance of where I find myself in my life right now.
From time to time, throughout one’s life, one needs to take stock. Inevitably we tend to do this after life-changing events, in my case the death of my husband, André. For those of you that are widowed, you will understand the toll that it takes. Losing a spouse involves not only unbearable grief but also, tasks and burdens that were previously shared become yours and yours alone at the same time as losing the companion with whom you shared your thoughts, fears and joys.
I started Crafts Unlimited in June 1988 – nearly 28 years ago. Since its’ inception it has been my passion, my focus and one of my greatest joys. Throughout that time, I have tried my best to provide products and services of a high standard. Over the years the business has grown, so much bigger than I could ever have imagined. I have written 11 books, taught lessons to more people than I can count, exhibited in so many countries and made so many wonderful friends; friends that cover the globe.
It has, however, got to the point where it has overwhelmed me, so after much deliberation and heartache, I have decided to hang up my hat and to close Crafts Unlimited within the next few months.
I am currently working from early in the morning to past midnight 6 days a week, and to be perfectly honest, I am exhausted. For the sake of my health I need to reduce that load and that is why I have made the decision to close, take stock and go from there. Should I decide to start my business again in the future, I will do so on a much smaller scale in order to allow me more time for the other things that I want to do in my life.
There are many of you that sell my products; use them to teach classes or buy them for projects of your own. It is for this reason that we will stay open until the end of April or latest May 2016, trading as usual. During this time, you will be able to order whatever you think you may require for now or in the future. We are already working with a reduced staff compliment, so it is possible that I will have to close the order book before our closing date, particularly if the orders become too large to handle. I will have to monitor that and act accordingly.
Throughout my weeks and months of deep and careful consideration about this, I came across the following quote:
“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.” ― Ellen Goodman
This comes so very close to describing my own personal thoughts. I look back at so many wonderful pictures, notes and interviews that I have done and find it hard to sum it all up. I live in Newlands, Cape Town, close to Kirstenbosch Gardens, which is quite possibly the most beautiful garden in Africa. We moved there from Johannesburg in 2003 and have never looked back. I started crafting as a young child. My mum is an artist and she kept us – her five children and all her friends – amused in her beautiful studio. We spent so many happy hours there and I have been involved with crafts ever since.
I remember a painting that I did in watercolour as a youngster for an art competition. It was a landscape in pinks, blues and greens. I attended art lessons and learned a lot about mixed media. I have spent my life surrounded by crafts of all kinds. From painting to pottery, stained glass to silk painting, making cards to mosaics and then the fabric arts. I started with patchwork, migrated to appliqué, took a detour through candlewicking which I combined with silk ribbon embroidery and quilting. But ribbon embroidery took over as the craft that I stuck with. Whether it is working on my blog, creating new designs for my books, teaching online, working on new concepts or painting ribbons, there is not a day in the week that I do not do some craft or another.
Whilst most weekends are for hiking and spending time with nature, this also inspires me to create new designs and concepts. I am always inspired by flowers, the countryside, animals, sunrises, sunsets….I could go on. There is so much in the world around us, quite apart from books and art, kindness and mindfulness, all of which can provide inspiration. I started teaching fabric craft in the early eighties and have taught ever since, not only in my own country but also in far flung places like Australia, Ukraine, Russia, England, France and others. As a result of this teaching I have made so many good friends; not only amongst those I have taught, but also other teachers, designers and authors – people like Hazel Blomkamp, Emma Kriegler, Trish Burr and last but not least, my friend and publisher, Wilsia Metz. She is an incredible inspiration to me.
I have a medical background, but running a craft business from home has given me the freedom to create at my own pace, in my own time, without having to work normal hours. I have had the pleasure to nurture and train my staff in my own way (without all the red tape and restrictions that I might have encountered in the corporate world). At times it has been challenging and has sometimes required courage and positive energy to keep myself and my staff motivated during the hard times, but this has always been more than balanced by the good times and the lovely people that I have come into contact with on a daily basis. Like all things in life, there have been incidents that have been highly amusing and downright hilarious, if not embarrassing.
I would like to thank each and every one of you that I have been in contact with over the last 28 years. Thank you for your kindness, your support, your encouragement and your friendship. I could not have done what I have done without you. I will keep you all informed as things progress over the next few weeks.
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Di van Niekerk