If you’ve read even the first two paragraphs of my latest blog post then you know that I have an Etsy store called Coconut Creates. I started the store back in November 2016 to raise money for a sponsored Grand Canyon hike I was taking part in. Well, I’ve done the hike and ultimately I raised about £4,300 for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity that helps people going through cancer to live a full life and brings support to their family and friends. In total there were 19 of us on the hike and we collaboratively raised approximately £65,000.
However, even after the hike the store has stuck around. Why? Because I love creating things. I taught myself how to knit backstage at Wicked! The Musical. I was an ensemble cast member from November 2011 to October 2012. It was my first West End show and I hadn’t realized how much down time we’d have backstage. The first month I was super green, listening out for every cue, getting dressed about twenty minutes before I had to be on stage, but then I began to get into the rhythm of things and realised that I actually had some big breaks between scenes. Sorry if I’m spoiling the magic of theatre for you. The first Act was busy, busy, busy but the second act was more focused on the leads, leaving the ensemble to sit in our undies and dressing gowns with elaborate wigs on either reading or talking or trawling through Facebook. I chose to knit. I bought a book on knitting and that Christmas gifted my family with handmade knitwear and toys for the kids.
I taught myself how to crochet working in The Lion King, the Musical or, as I was in the Hamburg production of the show, Der Koenig der Loewen, das Musical. I was in The Lion King from March 2013 to April 2017 and I learnt to crochet in the autumn of 2016. I had taken my knitting needles with me to Germany but was enticed by my friends and fellow cast members’ penchant for crochet. I have to admit that at first, I was a knitting snob. I didn’t think crochet even compared to knitting. I like the stitches and textures of knitting and didn’t imagine anything else would ever come close to the joy of seeing a pattern slowing emerge from the series of knots made by two pointed sticks. The I realized that crocheting is quicker and a bandwagon was swiftly jumped on.
The designs of Coconut Creates are birthed from the two cultures in my life: Nigerian and British. I am a Brit by birth and upbringing and a Nigerian by blood and upbringing. And I love both cultures equally. Although my mum does knit and learnt to knit in Nigeria, knitting is a colonial import to Nigeria. The knitwear/crochet parts of my design are a tribute to British me. However, I love colour and patterns, particular Ankara and the patterns of traditional African fabrics. The African print flourishes that come in the shape of bows or tags or pockets or whatever are a tribute to Nigerian me.
They are a tribute to Coconut me. Being called a coconut isn’t meant as a kind thing, it’s meant to suggest you’re somehow betraying who are. Well, I love coconuts. The mixture of the hard and soft, the brown and white, the wet and dry, coconuts are an example of how two very separate entities can come together to make something beautiful (and tasty).
This page/blog isn’t going to be just about yarn work - although it might take up the majority of entries - but about all facets of creative me. I’m a dancer who sings and acts and writes and reads and draws dumb cartoons and explores all outlets of creativity available to her. There's no embargo on creativity, do whatever needs to be done to unleash creative you. That’s what this page is about. I also want to honour the creative people in my life. Friends, family… I have a friend who is quietly creative. If she cared about social media more she’d probably be a YouTube sensation. My older sister paints the most beautiful pictures. My other older sister creates jewellery. My younger sister’s makeup is always flawless and she recently made a vlog of our trip to New York that my video-editing boyfriend said was amazing. She made it on freaking iMovies. With their permission, I hope to showcase them all.
Well there you have it, welcome to Coconut Creates. Like, comment, subscribe and tell your friends.
Keep the joy alive,