Defining Hope……. Poetically

In the next 3 posts about Hope I’m going to explore its meanings in poetry, art and prose

Hope is word that has changed its meaning over the passage of time, like many other words. This change of meaning has moved it from something tangible to something etheral…. almost a wish….. something I’d love to happen if….

The word art I’ve created below signifies my feelings about the change of meaning in a visual and easily visible format:



I spent of bit of time today roaming the internet and reading the offerings of various poets on the subject of hope. I’ve chosen 3 extracts that for me tell the story of the this change from solid promise to wish:


Strong hopeThis verse is taken from Hope at its Strongest by Laura Random and embodies the strength hope gives us, when we see it as the certainty promised in its original meaning:

Hope is the strongest thing of all

Hope will allow us not to fall

Hope will rise against anything

Hope is like a fiery ring

Hope is something we can use to support us, help us keep our feet – rather like a pair of crutches or walking sticks. The imagery of the fiery ring suggest protection and safety


Whilst this poem from Micron – Hope is, strives to capture both the past certainties of hope, plus our current understanding of it as an etheral thing, something of dreams:

Hope is a dream in the mind of what can come
Hope gives you a future whatever has passed whatever done
Hope is a light that breaks through the darkness that us surround
Hope helps us find our way through to safer loving ground
Hope fights for you when things get so very tough
Hope means keeping going when you have had enough
Hope though dims on times stays through your sorrow
Hope brings you through by dreaming of tomorrow
Hope tries to console you when your eyes glisten with tears
Hope gives you something to keep going whatever your fears
Hope is free beautiful may fade but never dies
Hope is always there even if its light seems dim on times

He initially describes hope as a solid thing  – something that gives us a future, a fighter in our camp, a light we can aim for, a hug, something that is eternal. But he also recognises that for some hope can fade and can become the stuff of dreams…. hopes for tomorrow being better than today…..


This poem lead me to reflect on attitudes to hope -when we believe we have a purpose, a reason for being then hope carries us through, we know we have something to achieve and strive for. But when we lack hope  situations quickly become hopeless and we cannot see a way out. A common phrase at church is:

“Your attitude determines your outitude” – what you feel inside is what you show to the world.

Recently its  felt to me that one thing has crashed in on top of another and there was no respite. To say I was down and feeling pretty hopeless was more than fair. And then I came across a Facebook group which encourages its members to start focusing on a daily gratitude – you can probably imagine my initial response! But as I read more of the posts I began to see I did have stuff to be grateful for:


And slowly I started to be more focused on the positives and  hope came back…. I could see that glimmer of light…… Life could and would get better. I had a faith to hold on to and a promise of much better times to come.

And my belief  that the bad times are periods of refinement, where some of the rough edges get knocked off, where we learn to think and feel differently, where we grow… is now returning


I think my experiences describe the original definition,  trusting that things will get better, that God’s promises will be kept for us – a tangible thing. But  in the midst of that hope I also realised were hopes that should surely be wishes. For example….. I hope I can have the pink balloon, or I hope its Icecream for tea – is that really a hope or a wish? This extract from a poem by Julius Babarinsa sums up this kind of wishful hoping for me:

EphemeralEvery human being living on this earth hopes for something
Poor people hope that one day money will come their way
The rich folks hope to multiply their assets before long
Several men hope for a wife who is as caring as their mother
Many women hope for husbands who is as loving as their father
Children always hope for parents who will give them everything


Its wanting something better in a “getting stuff” way – not in a building endurance way  – and for me that’s a bit too Cinderella – its the sort of thing you need a Fairy Godmother for as opposed to faith, tenacity and belief. And I’m not sure that’s something I want to design, after all fairies are a popular thing and the market is pretty much flooded with them in their many formats, plus its not the sort of Hope I want to “sell”, if that makes sense…

I’ve also  rediscovered that there sometimes this “wishful” hope  is expressed more negatively, it was surprising the number of poems I found reading through about those who hoped harm would come to others – they seem to be written from 2  perspectives, the spurned lover and the hurt inner child. These “hopes” seemed to stem from the crushing of personal hope and a need for revenge.

I’m challenged by this meaning of a word I want to use as a positive symbol in my work. Do I need to consider this when designing? How do I ensure the objects I create are positive gifts?

I’d be interested to know what others think……. do you see or use hope as a positive or negative concept?

And remember if you’d like to contribute to this blog series by sharing your own views of hope, either as a guest blogger or sharing in a smaller way, perhaps by contributing an opinion, please get in touch via the enquiry form on the LEARN page!

Handmade Monday 100 – Experimentally Cross

Welcome to Handmade Monday 100 –  Wendy has some special treats over at Handmade Harbour, so please feel free to take a look and maybe even join us!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m embarking on a design series based around the theme of hope, which will run alongside a series of blog posts that will detail my journey  – the first one was posted on Thursday and I’m looking for guest bloggers and people who want to share experiences of hope who might be interested in contributing.

I’m starting to research symbols that signify hope for a later post and also to help me with the design process and the most obvious to me and it seems many others, even those without a faith, is a cross. I want to make portable gifts that symbolise hope and the cross suggested itself as a good place to start.

I also feel really drawn to experimenting with wire and beads when crocheting small symbolic items – things that will make pendants, charms and key rings for example. So yesterday morning I duly dug out my reel of silver beading wire – previously rewound and detangled  – and my pot of random beads – mostly picked up from the floor when my crafting table collapsed!

I started off with a centre circle with a bead inside and built the cross up around it. I’d been doodling crosses before, and having recently read a novel about anglo saxon life which included the early church, noticed there were some celtic and early Christian influences creeping in. I placed one seed bead per stitch and basically let the cross form itself and this is the result:


I need to do a bit of work on trying to get the stitches more even and the beads to sit better. Once I’ve solved that then the big challenge will be photography! I got some great advice from lots of facebook friends which meant I ended up with an image that I could show, so am very grateful to them 🙂

Discovering Hope?

In view of where things are for us as a family it feels pretty strange to be writing something about hope – after all when you’re in a dark place its hard to see light. Currently every day seems to bring more challenges and bad news and I currently barely know which way is up.  And yet a challenge I was given on a Christian retreat just before Christmas is pushing me strongly to start looking at Hope….

I took a notebook and pencil to the 2 day retreat, knowing that I was already facing a few challenges and also that I had a strong gut feeling that some aspects of life needed to change. Having time to write, or indeed “me time” has vanished in the past year but whilst I was away I wrote reams, all on the theme of hope and how it can be offered to people through crafts.

Initially I was really unsure about where it all came from and what it was about but as time went on it became very clear to me that I was being given a sort of “business plan from God”. It would mean I could really work on and develop the aspects of my business I was passionate about – reaching out to others and showing them that there is something to look forward to, something they can do even on really dark days. After all it was crafting that turned my life around and gave me a sense of hope and the ability to achieve things, even when it looked pretty much like life would be going nowhere fast….


So in the past week or so Ive started researching my subject – from reading to asking questions over on Facebook. I feel that to design crafty makes around the theme of hope I first need to  understand what it means to people in a variety of ways from definitions to colours and symbols. I’ve also been playing with ideas for logos for an online shop I’ll be launching later this year. A logo seems a strange place to start but at the moment I need simple things to concentrate on and playing around in paintshop pro is sort of where its at.

I’m planning to build this exploration of hope, my designs about hope and some guest bloggers sharing what hope is them into a regular themed series that ideally will run throughout 2013. I’m not sure yet whether it will be weekly, fortnightly or monthly – I think I’ll have to see how it develops!

Defining Hope

One thing I’ve started to learn about creating things for others is that you need an idea of where the customer is coming from in order to provide them with something they want or need.

So my first step on this journey is to develop an understanding of what hope means to people – this could be in terms of their day to day lives, their faith or in times of crisis.  I thought the best place to start would be to review  information from a range of sources, including dictionaries, wikipedia, conversations with others, online bible studies, sites sharing information about other belief systems, life experience and general reading.

This lead to the creation of this piece of digital word art inspired by the words that jumped out at me, plus others that perhaps weren’t initially obvious. One thing I learned was that hope isn’t an easy concept to define and that  each person reading this post and looking at the art will find that different words speak to them more strongly than others. For me today the words need, promise and strength are especially relevant…….. I’d be interested to know which ones you respond to …..

Word Art

I’d like to develop this word art piece into some form of wall hanging but also take some of the words and either knit or crochet them either symbolically or literally into little things people can carry with them. I also think it would be good to create some form of bag and perhaps a notebook that lives in it (thanks to Margo for the idea), so that people can develop their own little book of hope as they move through life  . Currently there seems to be such little hope in the world – everyone is tightening their belts, more and more businesses are going to the wall  – that I’m thinking we all need our own tangible piece of hope……. And why not dream bigger and carry a bag emblazoned with hope down your local high street?

I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts about this series, the ideas I’m developing and what you think about hope….

And if you’d love to volunteer to write a guest post or wouldn’t mind sharing some of your experiences of hope – either openly or anonymously, then I’d love to hear from you too!


Handmade Monday 99 – Spiralling with Butterflies

Welcome to this week’s Handmade Monday. If you’d like to take part, please pop over to Handmade Harbour for more info

Where life is not going at all smoothly just now and with a tax return looming I’m sort of in a fallow mode with regards to creativity – although I can feel ideas coming, especially around the new theme of HOPE that I’m working on. I have a suggestions list going on Facebook at the moment, as I’m collating people’s thoughts and ideas about what hope is to the them and what objects and colours symbolise hope. Not only will this inspire some designs but will also be used as the basis for a series of  blogs about  hope. If you’d like to take part,  please pop over to my page and leave your comments

Today’s post is all about making patterns and turning them into butterflies! This is a touch of serendipity as in between playing with butterfly ideas for a window display being constructed by Southampton Art House and sharing a photo over on Pinterest. The Art House are situated next to a currently emptyshop which will eventually form part of the new cultural quarter being created and have persuaded the local council to let them improve the front window area in the mean time…. and they’ve come up with this amazing design, and they now want local people to submit pictures of butterflies to add to it… To see the design please visit their blog

Anyway as I was pinning -that site is a dangerous distraction! – I happened across a Dutch magazine’s page which had one board themed around Spirograph. I had spirotot as a child as I think it was cheaper and our class teacher also taught us other ways to make similar patterns with compasses, pencils and  threads. I remember making those 70’s thread pics in fact! So only play true Spirograph at my cousin’s houses. But I loved the idea of making complex patterns from simple shapes and have been hooked on doodling in this style ever since.

On this wonderful page was a link to an Adobe Illustrator tutorial showing you how to use it to make Spirograph patterns. I have an old copy of Paintshop Pro 9 though and wondered if it was possible to replicate their ideas…… and with a bit of twiddling and a dredge into the deeply buried memory banks I did it!!

Then I got to thinking about how I could make butterflies, especially as I was already playing,  from the shapes I’d created and came up  with these design ideas:

butterflies The solid  grey and pink one was as a result of playing with brushes I have installed and although its pretty I have to admit I prefer my doodles!

I used a combination of ovals, stars and preset vector shapes to create my doodles. The plan is to replicate one of them in crocheted plarn and submit a photo of the finished item but the one I really want to do is going to be a challenge to do – I prefer the pink!

colour scheme

I then wantedto do a butterfly using the colours I’ve put together in a stripe pattern formy  Hope Design Board :

Hopeful butterfly

I have no plans to crochet this one but will submit it as a butterfly doodle……….. and go on to learn how to dye my own yarns so I can eventually make one!  What do you think?

A Bumpy Beginning

Unfortunately we’ve had a difficult end to 2012, followed by an equally challenging beginning. As a result I’ve decided that taking some time out to be with my family and support each other through this time is sensible. Therefore I have had to suspend the planned teaching programme until things are clearer for us.

As I’ve mentioned before my father has been ill. He came home from hospital just before Christmas and has taken a while to recover and is now ill again with virtually the same symptoms. As a result he is moving temporarily into nursing care for more observation and support, with the hope that the cause can be identified.

I was planning to go and stay with him / support him at home on New Year’s Eve following my daughter’s dating scan for her pregnancy. However sadly when she went for the scan her baby had already passed away. She had surgery yesterday and whilst she’s home and doing as well as can be expected, she understandably needs her Mum at the moment.

We’re not sure what the longer term plan is for Dad, and whilst my brother is local and doing a really good job of supporting him, he is juggling this with a fulltime job and busy family life, so at some point I am going to need to go to Devon and help Dad out, whether its getting him settled back home or moving into care.

I’ve felt liots of mixed emotions and would dearly love to clone myself at the moment and be all things to everyone.

I’m going to continue knitting and crocheting and working on designs and patterns and developing the retail side of what I make, as I can do that from anywhere – once I’ve made my Christmas present to me, a Russian knit in one piece shawl. I’m hoping that this will take a new direction which I’ll start blogging about once the idea is fully developed and ready to launch.

However the classes, lessons and workshops will need to go on the back burner along with the craft fairs for now, as I don’t want to commit to a 6 week course or a 1 day workshop and then have to cancel at the last minute due to being needed elsewhere.

I want to thank everyone who has supported Bits and Bobs Crafts in 2012 and to those old and new friends who have been part of the journey so far…. And I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy and Blessed 2013

Bev x