On the 15th September 2019, a British newspaper published an article criticising the Royal National Lifeboat Insitute (RNLI) because it had become involved in strategies to tackle the global problem of drowning. Working with a number of other agencies, the RNLI had been providing swimming lessons in a number of low and middle income countries, stating:
"The RNLI’s work in the UK and Ireland remains a core focus of attention and resources. But we also believe it’s our duty to share years of lifesaving knowledge and experience, so that we can make a difference worldwide."
"Almost 200 years ago, RNLI founder Sir William Hillary foresaw an organisation that extended its views ‘from our own immediate coasts to the most remote quarters of the globe’. Today, our international vision is of a world in which no-one should drown."
This criticism backfired and the British people rallied collectively to defend the RNLI. Within a few days, Helen at Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Yarn decided to run a fundraiser for the RNLI, dyeing two amazing colourways called "Learning to Swim" inspired by both the colours of the RNLI flag and clothing and the vivid hues of the local fabrics found in Africa and Bangladesh.
Enthused by Helen's fundraiser, I asked her if we could collaborate on a Woolly bag special. I was delighted when she agreed, and she very kindly dyed a batch of the second version of her yarn in an ethical merino singles for me.
Now for the challenge, the bag design! I wanted to create something that allowed her beautiful yarn to shine, but also told the story of what the RNLI was trying to achieve. And, the result is Swimming Lanes. I have used Helen's yarn to create a line of plastic floats similar to the ones that you see in indoor pools across the world, which create lanes for swimming lengths. I decided to leave the space between the lanes blank. This represents the RNLI not "staying in lane" but choosing to reach out across the globe to save lives.
The project bags which come in Small and Tool/Pencil Case sizes will be first available to purchase at the GLOW Scottish Design Fair at the Dovecot Tapestry Studios in Edinburgh on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December. Thereafter, they will be available online. Please note that £10 from the sale price of every bag will be donated to the RNLI.