In February this year I was travelling to work. I was stuck in a traffic jam for over an hour listening to a radio phone in about the refugee crisis.
As the time passed the comments from some of the callers became more and more extreme. Some of the feelings expressed were so intolerant and lacking in any understanding of the plight of our fellow human beings, including children, who have seen and experienced things that we can't imagine in our worst nightmares.
By the time I got to work I was sobbing. I wondered what one person could possibly do to help with this tragedy.
When I got home there was an email waiting for me. Children's Author Sue Hampton had written a heart rending poem about a family arriving in a new country from the child's perspective. She asked if I would illustrate it so it could be made into a book. All the profits from the book would go to People Not Borders, a group of people who will make a real difference to the lives of the people they touch.
This is what one person could do to help! ME!
I asked if I could illustrate the book in textiles and stitch. The book will be given to children as well as to adults and will be seen in schools and churches so I wanted the images to be colourful and exciting as well as powerful in a way that was gentle enough for a child to see.
I also wanted to introduce children to the beauty of textiles with lots of different techniques because, in the schools I visit, the children have no previous experience of the magic of working with textile art.
I asked my husband Paul Watkins, a most amazing photographer, to take the photographs for the book. I knew he would capture the textures and colours of the fabrics and each and every stitch.
This Summer the book was published by TSL Publishing and is on its second print run. We are all so happy with the book and to have been able to make a difference in our own little way.
If you have room for one more Christmas present for someone you love, please consider sending them one of these little books. They are available from: Sue Hampton. The price is £10 and all the profits will go towards making a real difference to people who really need us to care about their plight.