Making mindfully by Shannon Reed

Published on Sunday 4th November

Shannon Read is the very talented lady behind Mockingbird Makes. Her knitted and crochet creations are cute, imaginative, colourful; they are always made with great attention to detail and are guaranteed to make you smile. Here Shannon describes how her makes have led her along an unexpected path to mindfulness and public speaking.

I believe strongly that we outsource our creativity too easily and it’s like we’re outsourcing our identity – that which makes us who we are. And I wonder… does this lead to a decrease in our wellbeing?

It’s a concept that has become more and more important to me over the years and is a key consideration for the way I’ve created my business, Mockingbird Makes – “you imagine , Mockingbird Makes, you enjoy".  Maybe not the slickest tag line, but it felt really important to me when I started talking about my offering – and has only continued to grow in importance.

Like many new businesses Mockingbird Makes came from an alignment of situations - a need to have an income, an outside opportunity and the right timing.

I was at home with two children having previously worked in a consulting firm that helped organizations with creativity and innovation. Choosing to be home with the children, while being rewarding, really highlighted the depression and anxiety that had always been present in me, but that I’d been so far able to manage with space and quiet time – neither of which was available to me with ease any longer. I started therapy, took up mediation and yoga, studied and practiced mindfulness and turned to making to find that space, first with embroidery and then with knitting and crochet.

As I made for others, so people’s interest and encouragement grew and when my friend asked for a line of hats for her new clothing brand (Mootz London) I decided to launch myself alongside them, and the name and brand Mockingbird Makes was born. The launch was a great success and the brand has been growing ever since – bespoke handknitted, crocheted or embroidered handicrafts, mindfully made for you.

It’s always been important to me that the customer has a high level of input into their makes, to empower them to reclaim their own creativity. So now, alongside my bespoke making, I also teach and run workshops on crochet, knitting and pompom making and attend markets and festivals where you can buy my pre-made makes or discuss ordering your bespoke design.

More recently (encouraged and given the opportunity by Shona Chambers of Space at 61) I have begun speaking on the subject of “Creativity for Wellness” sharing my challenges and successes with my own mental health and exploring the role of creativity in our own lives and businesses. It’s such a source of delight to me that my past experiences are coming together to help me offer a unique experience for others – not something I could ever have predicted, but something I am incredibly grateful for. 

Upcoming speaking engagements include:

  •   Tis the Season To Be Mindful - an art based mental health awareness fundraiser for MQ: Transforming Mental Health.  December 13th, Off The Cuff Music Venue, Herne Hill. 
  • Creative Innovation & Mental Health - artist talk in conversation with Laura Hepworth and myself: January12th, Two Spoons, Honour Oak Park, proceeds of sales go to Place2Be


Instagram @mockingbird_makes
Twitter @mbird_makes
Facebook @mockingbirdmakes