Last week, a dedicated SEED Madagascar team braved the rain and mud and ran Stitch Sainte Luce’s first independent stall in the Green Futures area of Glastonbury Festival. This was a really exciting step for the Stitch association as it was one of the biggest shows we had ever done. The International Volunteer Coordinator Sue Beaumont very kindly volunteered to man the stall at Glastonbury, and was joined by Harry Stigner, the resident Bee Specialist in Madagascar who happened to be back in the UK for a few months. Please see below for more information about Harry and her work with the conservation of bees in Madagascar.
We were incredibly lucky to have such an enigmatic team on site at Glastonbury. Sue and Harry worked tirelessly to sell over £1600 worth of products; meaning that the women have made nearly 4million Ariary and running costs have been covered. This is amazing news for the project and, having learned so much from this experience, we are confident that we will be able to do even better next year!
We cannot express how grateful we are to all of the people who helped out to make this such a success for us. As such a small project with a tremendous impact on the income of so many very poor families, it can be very nerve-wracking to take risks like this! Thank you to Harry and Sue, thank you to the Stitch intern Tonya, to Jane Chaplin, to family members of volunteers in Madagascar, and to previous volunteers who came to help out. Thank you to Gemma from Pod Volunteer who commissioned a map of Sainte Luce while visiting Madagascar and picked it up at Glastonbury to avoid unnecessary packaging and postage. Harry also said ‘thank you to drunk people whose names I will never know who helped me to sell the bracelets to more drunk people in a best of the festival spirit display of solidarity’.
Prior to the stall at Glastonbury, the Stitch Project Assistant made some Pinterest boards to show the embroiderers what the fashion at Glastonbury was like to try and inspire some exciting creations. The embroiderers came up with new designs such as necklaces inspired by the Pyramid Stage, made with broken pieces of bucket, and water bottle holders, which we are very happy to report were all sold at Glastonbury! The embroiderers made various bracelets inspired by the famous GLASTONBURY signboard. It was amazing to see the women so engaged, practising spelling Glastonbury on scrap bits of paper. The customers loved the idea of them going through Pinterest boards and wanted to hear all about the bush parties and festivals in Sainte Luce.
“Am leaving the Glastonbury mud bath having made a new friend and £1600 for a community in Madagascar, who celebrated a real independence day this week. There is much hope to be found, even when you’re knee deep in sh*t.” Harry.
Having returned from the mud bath, Sue is taking a well-deserved holiday and Harry is back at work at Kew Gardens. She works as a Hive Explainer on a fascinating installation on bees. If you are interested in bees, please visit Kew Gardens and hear her talk, info here She also wrote a fascinating piece on the challenges of promoting sustainable beekeeping, please have a read here and finally, if you are really interested in bees, please do consider donating to the new Project Renitantely where donating £21 could pay for a new hive.
We hope to be able to do more music festivals in the future. What a receptive and incredible audience for our beautiful, up-cycled and hand-embroidered products! Thank again to everybody who helped to make this a success for us and we hope to see you again at a festival soon!