• by Kelly Suleman

Returned to Nature: Handmade products helping to cultivate the future of Britain's natural spaces

Updated: Feb 11

The one thing that has always supported me in life and my work is nature and now I feel it's time to give back. As a trained dancer and artist, I have created dance work in natural environments over the past 12 years, both in the U.K. and abroad. In the past two years I have resided in the north west of England aside from the odd trip overseas. Inevitably, my dance work in nature and Edie & Beau's handmade products go hand in hand so it was important to me to give back to my local nature haunts.

Creating nature inspired handmade products means adopting a particular kind of creative process. For me, that means spending time in nature, moving, playing, exploring, listening, embodying and responding through somatic-based movement practices. This is what I call a nature embodied creative process. This part of the process is a slow, organic one which involves very little, if any, conceptualisation but a natural unfolding of creative responses. It's a dance. In responding to nature, I create through movement and play naturally reflecting all that I've embodied into the product that I'm making. So, although I call our products nature inspired they are in fact nature embodied. Between me and nature it's two way conversation, a dance and a real working partnership.

In our first year of our small handmade ethical and Eco business, Edie & Beau offered a donation of £1 of every nature inspired Gift Sack that was sold to wildlife and nature conservation. A year ago I contacted The Wildlife Trusts to assist me in finding a suitable recipient for my donations and Cumbria Wildlife Trust responded, much to my delight. Whilst growing up in Lancashire, then moving around the U.K. Cumbria and the Lakes was always my escape. I spent many family weekends there as a child with my great grandmother Edith. I trained in the Cumbrian outdoors every quarter for two years as a teen in preparation for our school's 1994 three week Canadian Rockies expedition. I continued to take many short breaks there each year when living in the south of England and I now continue to explore and create my dance work there, in nature, to this day and it's beauty remains much as it always has been for me.

Cumbria has millions of visitors every year and is home to one of the most stunning and ever popular tourist sights in Britain which is that of the Lake District. Whats more, it holds a rich history of nature conservation, farming, arts, crafts and literature and it's best known associations are with the life and works of Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and John Ruskin all of which created works that were inspired by nature in the beautiful natural landscapes of Cumbria.

Nowadays, I tend to divert from the busy areas of the Lake District and explore outwards. If i've learned anything over the years it's that loosing the signposts and stepping off the beaten track is where the magic happens. Cumbria Wildlife Trust offer a number of fascinating and educational ways to get involved in nature and wildlife, many of which are situated around the edges of Cumbria away from the crowds and where the magic of the wild is really happening. Take a look www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk

Equally, www.wildlifetrusts.org has a list of local links across the U.K. for people to explore.

Last year, we managed to make a small rounded donation of £100 whilst selling our products in Lancashire, London and on an online shopping platform. I then created our online store

www.edieandbeau.com which launched in September 2019 whilst expanding our product range and this is now the only place that you can purchase our products.

Moving into 2020, streamlined and more refined, we have now extended our donation to Cumbria Wildlife Trust by donating £1 from every nature inspired item that we make and sell, which is all the items in our growing product range. Over time, I will share more of my creative processes with the aim to inspire living and giving through embracing natural environments with mindful resourcefulness and creativity. For now, we invite all you nature lovers out there to take a moment to consider our products for Gifting, Home, Lifestyle and Fashion when searching for your next purchase, as not only will you be supporting a small business but the conservation of Britain's natural environments too. So we invite you to join us on social media (by clicking on the icons at the top of our website) and help us spread the word. You can also subscribe to our offers at www.edieandbeau.com

~Kelly~

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