Sew 357 – Leadership is an action

Liz Jumelet upcyclesFive years ago, I was down a dry gully in the remote Kimberley region on the Australian Rural Leadership Program when one of our spiritual travellers mentioned a quote which resonates with me to this day.

“Leadership is an action you take, not a position you hold”, was the quote repeated by my C16 team mate and attributed to Donald H. McGannon, an early American broadcasting executive who believed in the industry’s potential for good. The quote is powerful because it demonstrates a process for every one of us to influence outcomes, not just those with positional or assumed power. 

I’ve been taking action every day this year on a 365-day campaign of my own making – refashioning existing clothing instead of buying new. This campaign is about dressing with conscience – reducing our clothing footprint on the world through reuse and choosing natural fibre clothing because it has less embodied energy than synthetics. And it is great to see the influential 1MillionWomen campaign for individual action against climate change pick up the Sew it Again story. 

As we come to the end of the project, I’m grateful for the many past experiences that enabled me to come to consciousness and chose to live wholeheartedly as articulated so well by researcher and storyteller Dr Brene Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfection.  

Dr Jennifer Andrews, Tim Gavel and their daughter EskeFollowing on from the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2009-10, last year I undertook a Graduate Certificate course in Australian Rural Leadership through James Cook University – which put me on this pathway. Today I give thanks to the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation – in particular Dr Jennifer Andrews (see photo right with parther Tim Gavel and daughter Eske) – and my ARLP sponsor Fairfax Agricultural Media for providing pivotal opportunities.

Leadership is action – and my action is to demonstrate and engage others in upcycling unworn and cast-off clothing instead of always buying new. Only eight upcycles to go before the year is over – and Sew 357 is another undertaken with my friend Liz Jumelet yesterday. Liz took to upcycling like a duck to water, even though I had her pegged as one of the neat people from knowing and crafting with her for decades.

I found a black and white knit dress in my stash of opshop finds and Liz decided to upcycle it as a tunic. She cut off the sleeves, just beyond the join, and opened out the front neckline before stitching all cut edges roughly with zigzag stitch. Then Liz got excited about attaching a Textile Beat upcycled logo on the back, so she can wear it with pride. I made them both sing for their supper, Liz upcycling and Ron acting up for a photo (see below, chook is wooden not real) wearing the sleeve offcut as a #nowaste beanie

Liz Jumelet upcycles