Posts in Creativity
ASSEMBLY WINTER GATHERING 2018

It’s been a couple of weeks since we had our Winter Assembly Gathering so I wanted to show you what we got up to! It was such a beautiful evening. 40 women; making, eating, and getting to know each other as we gathered at this years Winter venue, Portadown Town Centre Market. The amazing Lauren from @litphotographyni captured the whole evening for us so beautifully - makes me want to do it all again…

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INSIDE THE ASSEMBLY SPRING/SUMMER GATHERING!

It's been a few weeks since we had our Assembly Spring/Summer Gathering for the year so I thought I'd take you inside and show you what we got up to.

These Gatherings are pretty all consuming for me in the lead up - so much thought, preparation, promotion, sourcing and energy goes into putting this day together and I love it. I do. It flexes creative muscles in me that I want to build but make no mistake, it also takes a small army of helpers around me to make it happen. I am so grateful for all the people who were on my team for this Gathering - so many beautiful women who made it all come together - with their skills, expertise, encouragement and generosity. 

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THE SOCIAL MEDIA RAT RACE & THE POWER WE GIVE AWAY

It’s a bit of a beast, this Internet age isn’t it? The endless opportunities at our fingertips. I get so excited by it; full of ideas, about the innovation and connection potential it holds.

But it’s also exhausting, right? I can’t be the only one that finds it exhausting. I’ve sat on this blog post for approximately three months because I find the social media exhausting and I kept coming back to this piece with more to say.

I counted recently that there are no less than 15 ways that people can contact or get a hold of me online – through DM’s, tweets, emails, whatsapp, comments etc. That feels kinda crazy and a long way from waiting on letters arriving from penpals or going to the cupboard under the stairs to ring the home phone of a school mate and having to go through small talk with their mum before you got passed the phone.

A couple of months ago I had a bit of a tough conversation with a friend. She shared how she had noticed that I had responded to lots of comments on one of my Instagram posts but had waited days for a reply to her text message about lunch. That stung. It stung because it was true and pretty hard to face. A message from a dearly loved friend had got lost in the frenzy of engagement online.  

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OPERATING FROM A PLACE OF REST

I love to work hard. I love to bring ideas to life and to dream and scheme and do. 

This is a huge part of my make-up and personality. My brain is wired for action and ideas and this is a gift to me, I know that. I get huge fulfilment from the 'doing' but lately I've been on a path of learning the importance of rest; but maybe not rest as I once knew it.

Our culture isn't a big promoter of rest is it? We are often encouraged to hustle, to do more, have more, be more. Work harder, faster, stronger, longer - achieve achieve achieve.  On the other hand, sometimes rest sounds like this elusive thing that is only ever achievable if you have no responsibilities or ambition. Neither of these binary ways of thinking are helpful or healthy. There is burn-out waiting around the corner and rest happening from a place of burn out is not rest. It is recovery. I don't know about you but I don't want to recover from my life. 

Rest doesn't always sound very exciting either does it? Maybe for you it sounds like stopping or waiting or hesitation and maybe even for some of us - weakness. 

I've had a bit of an awakening to what rest looks like for me - a bit of a stirring of realisation.

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INTRODUCING... ASSEMBLY SESSIONS

If you've been around this space for a while you will know that for the last year and a half I have been organising a new venture: Assembly Gatherings. These gatherings have been really significant for me - a real medley of all the things I love to do (outside of my work and home life) - organise, bring ideas to life, connect amazing women, help make spaces beautiful, get creative and work with talented creative women. EAT.

Almost 100 women have been part of Assembly Gatherings in the last 18 months and I'm really grateful for how it has developed and grown. This is largely because of the women that attend. They are openhearted and warm and they truly get it. 

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ASSEMBLY FESTIVE GATHERING

Our final Assembly Gathering of 2017 has come and gone. On Sunday afternoon 35 of us huddled around campfires, dined on delicious local food, foraged in the freezing sunlight and forged new friendships. 

With ice and snow covering most of the country over the weekend, it felt like madness to be hosting a dinner and workshops in a stone barn at the beautiful property of Laura & Ben in Downpatrick. Miraculously though, the sun came out as people were arriving and it wasn't long before we forgot about the cold and immersed ourselves in conversations, food and making. We forgot about the cold. We forgot about the cold. Maybe if I write it a few more times it will be true. It was cold. 

A year into running Assembly Gatherings has taught me a lot about the power of female resilience; of the wide open hearts of women who want to connect. Each time we have a gathering it feels like we are steadily building an army of supportive women, ready to propel and promote each other. I can feel it in my bones and see it in the way people are connecting both online and in person.

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WOMANHOOD + TAKING UP SPACE

I wish I didn't have to write this post but I do. I wish I didn't have to consider the implications that come with pursuing that which makes you come alive with any kind of gusto but I do. I do because it seems like everywhere I turn, women are worried about taking up space. Worried that they are coming across as pushy; worried that they are seen as overly-confident; worried that if they go full throttle in their business and hobbies that they will be perceived as aggressive or salesy or up themselves or too much.

I'm kind of tired of it. 

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ASSEMBLY SPRING/SUMMER GATHERING - ALL THE DETAILS...

It's been almost two weeks since 30 of us met at the most beautiful property in rural Co. Down to make, eat and build community as creative women.

We couldn't have had a more perfect evening together. I say that without any hesitation of over-selling what we experienced and in full gratitude to the team of incredible women that made it happen. 

I had many moments of hesitation about doing a gathering so soon after the passing of my mum but it really was the tonic and focus I needed to push through a little bit more. Once again I was blown away by how courageous and honest these women were. All coming from different walks, different backgrounds and different points in their creative journey. It was a gentle, warm and inspiring night. I will try to keep my words few here and let the incredible Kat Mervyn do the talking through her lens as she captured our gathering so perfectly in these images.

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