A conversation with muse Naomi Hannam
Whilst scrambling up oak trees along the Helford estuary and soaking up the sea air we spoke with Naomi Hannam about how she keeps connected; juggling her life and work as an artist and weaver, educator and coach striving to connect people with both their creative potential & the natural world.
Do you have a creative discipline or passion which you dedicate your time to? How does it impact your health/wellbeing ?
John O’Donohue writes of the Greek word for beauty stemming from the word for calling. For me creativity is just that. A calling, a way of being in the world and a way of inhabiting life.
In a world where there is so much destruction, violence and turmoil – drawing attention to beauty and hope feels vital to keep walking forwards. It is a way to seeing the darkness without falling in. And so I try to make every act one that holds creativity at its core - how I hang my washing out, facilitate a training or make supper for my friends. My hands are rarely still and my mind curious to learn. I love being outside and learning to make from the abundance of nature. I weave - baskets, wool and stories. I make ink and pull drawings from my imagination and the hedgerows. And when the first signs of spring come I love to walk quietly with a basket collecting flowers, herbs and plants to turn in to balms and infused oils – making medicines.
I try to sing every day. I try to remember what I’m grateful for, I try to share my love for nature with children. I try to make time to look and listen. And when I do the world is a bit more bright and a lot more possible.
Do you have any self-care rituals that ground/nourish/energise you?
I love to go and sit in the woods. I turn my phone off. Listen to the birds and the stream. To look at the moss and lichen. To fill my pockets or basket with foraged plants to make into teas or balm.
Once when I was feeling hopeless my friend took me to sit under a gorse bush. I sat there under the bright yellow coconut scent and slowly I felt better. I make heart balm now from rose for beauty, gorse for hope and hawthorn for the heart. A bit of magic to carry in my pocket.
In the winter mornings I light a candle before anything else.
But most of all I love to sing. Every winter I meet with a group of friends and we sing together for a long weekend in Wales. It is a winter ritual that fills me up for the year and infuses my days with songs for months into the spring. Singing grounds me, shifts my mood, connects me to people and a sense of play.
What is beauty to you?
When people really allow themselves to be who they are; feel what they feel, smile from their soul. When vulnerability, courage and strength are all shared together. It’s being generous and kind and connected. It’s the wild ocean, the small moment of holding hands on the tube, the strength to stand up for what you believe in and listen to those you disagree with openly. It is the light that shines in places of darkness and the song of hope in chaos.
How do you reconnect when you're feeling out of touch with yourself?
I sing, I jump in the sea, I make things, I spend time alone…. I dance.
I try to remember to ‘let the soft animal of your body love what it loves’ (from ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver) and read poetry.
How do you embrace your own sense of womanhood?
For years I tried to suppress my gifts. I felt they weren’t valid in the world of work and success. That creativity, craft and art should somehow be squeezed into the time of recreation. And slowly I have started to realise that nurturing children to love their world, making beauty, teaching and owning myself as a woman is valid. For me the quiet skills of making, of connecting people and of nurturing are all about embracing my sense of being a woman.
I embrace my womanhood by lighting fires, by splitting wood with an axe and planting seeds. I embrace my woman hood by learning to accept my strong vulnerability, own my body, my connection with nature, my strong voice that can say both yes and no and differentiate what I need.
I track my menstrual cycle, remember to look at the moon and make space for the elders and children in my life.
Is there an inspiring/empowering poem or quote that you could share with us?
Our Greatest Fear is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Naomi uses our Anti-blemish everyday face oil to help soothe, clear and fortify her sometimes troubled skin.