Eileen Wiley



Recently someone kindly donated some beautifully soft and colourful fabrics to Coucoudre. The smooth, rich texture of these fabrics is so tactile and reminds me of my grandmother’s love of high-quality textiles. No doubt she passed her love of creating on to me. I am particularly attracted to initiatives which celebrate creativity and collaboration. My involvement with Coucoudre is an opportunity to bring many of my passions together. I love repurposing textiles into practical items… and now I finally have a use for my stash of fabrics! These small acts of upcycling represent a respect for our natural environment, which I consider extremely worthwhile. I have long been involved in projects (as Coucoudre does) which support the integration of refugees and asylum seekers. I am pleased to be involved alongside tailors and volunteers from different countries, and I appreciate learning from them and about them.

I also volunteer with MINT, a mentoring for integration project with local asylum seekers and refugees which sits hand in hand with Coucoudre as although we are a sewing charity, a lot of what we do is still focused on involving the tailors and their families . As a fellow migrant, engaging with local volunteers and asylum seekers through different projects has developed friendships and been most rewarding. As an Art Therapist I am interested in promoting creativity and art making for well being and continually developing and learning about this area. I fervently believe in ‘elders’ sharing their skills and knowledge and hope that I am contributing. Another form of ‘upcycling’ perhaps! Nature is a huge part of my life; one of my pleasures is spending time in my garden. I grow flowers to feed my hive of bees, herbs to make teas, and fruits and vegetables for the dinner table. I’ve recently begun experimenting with fermentation … not to mention perfecting my pandemic sourdough bread recipe!