Author: Jo Cheung

Side note: I’ve been updating this post over the past couple of days as I’ve found more and more articles related to violence against ESEA people.

Hi All, hope you’re having a restful Easter break however that may look. Myself and Ivy are raising funds for anti-Asian discrimination, especially during this current climate there has been an increase in violent attacks against Asians here in the UK and in the US. It’s really sickening to hear that people are getting beaten up in broad daylight and in public as well.

I have already posted this on my Facebook page, so I’m just going to copy and paste what I wrote on their as it pretty much sums up what we’re doing.

In light of the recent events against East and South East Asians here in the UK, and in the US, we are doing a fundraiser for a community that has been violently attacked throughout the pandemic.

We are raising funds for Besea.n and DCLC Doncaster Central Learning Centre, the donation will be split 50:50 between the two organisations. I’ve worked with Lai before and a while back I ran an Etsy training course for those accessing the service who want to gain some digital skills.

I came across Besea.n via Instagram not so long ago and everything that they do really resonates what was missing until now in terms of providing a platform and voice for ESEA people and marginalised groups. They are a small network of individuals whose aims are to raise awareness and to challenge the misrepresentations of ESEA people and marginalised groups within the media. You can find their mission statement here for more of what they do.

DCLC do an incredible job for the local community as they provide a link for users to access different types of services within the area. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, a lot of their workshops have had to stop. Hopefully, once things return to some sort of normality they will be up and running again. They serve a lot to the Asian and BAME community; my parents for instance were doing some volunteering work for Lai and my mum was taking part in a textile project- something I don’t think she would’ve done if it wasn’t for Lai and my auntie.

ESEA communities are also mis and underrepresented in the media. In the midst of the outbreak, the media were constantly using images of ESEA alongside with their articles- therefore perpetuating and reinforcing the idea that it is/was a ‘Chinese virus’. Even Trump used racist language throughout it. My mum has shared some stories with me about her friends experiencing racism during this time. It is honestly quite shocking to say the least.

Everyday racism exists and is coupled with sexism especially if you are a woman. I experienced this back in January, broad daylight in the early afternoon. A man asked me where I was originally from/did I have a BF and he said my husband was a ‘very lucky man’.

What can we do about it? We need to have an open dialogue about the continuing closed discussion about racism and stigma ESEA face. Do you think it’s okay if your mate asks if you want to ‘order from the Chinky?’ Do you say anything or leave it? To me being British-Born Chinese, it’s casual racism and the language people still use today makes my blood boil. Please, don’t even say ‘well, we used to say it back in the day’.

There is always light at the end of the dark tunnel. Let the positivity and love shine through, we need to stick together and stand up against racism.

For more information about Besea.n and Doncaster Central for Learning, please see below:

Besea.n on Twitter and Instagram @besea.n

Doncaster Central for Learning on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

I’m so happy to say that my Instagram shop is now and running after almost a year of setting it up. I started it about a year ago just as when the first lockdown started, and so I thought, I could give this ago and get it up and running in no time at all.

How.

Wrong.

I .

Was.

Honestly, I’ve spent so many hours trawling through the Net looking for solutions to the issues (and complaining and moaning at the same time) I actually just left it for a couple of weeks as it was really annoying me!

I’ll have to write up what I actually did in the end as it’s pretty laborious and time consuming. The thing is though, it took about 6-8 weeks for them to verify my shop once I had everything all set up- so it’s just a matter of waiting for Instagram to do their bit (in the midst of a pandemic, please just be patient and take your mind off it if you’re the process of getting your shop or account verified).

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the week and a long post about how to set up an Instagram shop is currently underway.

Regards,

 

Jo

Hi folks,

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend wherever you are in the world. This weekend has been none productive and tbf I’m absolutely not complaining, I’ve been enjoying these times where it’s nice just to hanging out at home (I mean, not like there’s anywhere to go rn). It snowed quite heavily this afternoon and our street was just this perfect picture; all still, soft and light fluffy snow sitting quietly over the trees and flowers. I say this like it’s picturesque and the reality of it is that the snow has now turned to a slushy sleet 😂🤣😂.

I made this piece of artwork last night and I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out. It started out as a thumbnail as it was initially a response to the UK government giving the heads up for EU-banned pesticides to be used. I decided to use the thumbnail and make a bigger piece with it and the meaning of it has slightly changed. It’s a timely reminder of the current situation the world is in at the moment- how everything is transient and nothing stays the same. Just like the seasons, time moves on and we grow, learn and adapt to changes. We’re also in danger of destroying and crushing the natural environment too,  we should really be using our knowledge and the technology that exists to protect the environment. It’s easier said that done and I know that I’m saying it in simplistic terms, but we all have some responsibility of ensuring that the world we live in today is protected and preserved for future generations. I’m also ready for spring and summer to come as I’m missing the warmer weather!

‘The Circle of Life’ is available as an A4 and A3 print. I’m currently not despatching any A3 prints for the time being as our local post offices are closed for the rest of the month. Plus it’s easier to post smaller items via the postbox (which has been an absolute gem throughout this pandemic). I’m also not sending anything out internationally due to good old Brexit. I’ll see how things turn out in the next couple of weeks as I’m hearing news about items being stuck in customs and then being returned to the sender (I just don’t have the time and effort for this).

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your Sunday and take care.

 

Happy 2021 everyone! Hope you all had a festive and exciting New Year’s Eve and New Years Day (I’ve still got a splitting headache and feeling slightly gippy due to too many glasses of champagne…) After doing a bit of research about the new conditions for importing to non-EU and EU countries, I have decided not to post internationally now that we’ve left the EU 🇪🇺. The main reason why is that, economically and logistically, it makes no sense for me to spend loads of admin time and costs to sending things abroad especially when things are still up in the air. I am happy to be filling out the CN22 form but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d rather spend my energy making more of a mark here in the UK and to focus on growth here. I do feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot here by alienating the international market (I’ve had loads of US orders via Etsy all through their algorithms); most of the traffic has been through people searching via Etsy and I’ve had to do little promotion outside of Etsy.

I’ll continue to grow my products and make more beautiful artwork this year. My main goal for the year is to expand my product line and potentially take part in markets (if it’s possible). It just makes me a little bit sad having to say goodbye to potential customers.😥😥😥 I don’t think it’s worth the risk right now and I’m sure there are a lot of small business owners who are also in similar position like myself.

I would like to hear from you in the comments below if you’re an indie business owner. Are you continuing to ship abroad? If not, what are your reasons?

Enjoy the rest of your day and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

I’ve always been writing an overview of the year as it’s nice to look back and reflect on the things that I’ve done, experienced and places that I have visited. I don’t think anyone would’ve expected that this year there’d be a global pandemic and that we’ve all had to press the pause button. It’s just been one weird year where we’ve all had to adapt in the way we live, interact and work. For a lot of people though, the pandemic has exacerbated hardship in terms of loss of employment, mental health, loss of education and an uncertain future in that certain plans have had to be put on hold for the time being. It has also shown the widening gap in poverty and life chances, especially the North and South divide, not forgetting that BAME groups have been completely marginalised in comparison to their white counterparts.

The Black Lives Matter movement has probably been one of the most important social movements of the year; a reaction to the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (of course, not forgetting the countless innocent lives taken away by police brutality and systematic racism) it sent shockwaves across the world. How in modern America is this still happening? It’s like the clocks have turned and they’re going backwards. Social activism has sprung up through social networks organised through grass root communities and organisations- unity and love has been the light through this dark tunnel . It has been a real eye opener, against the backdrop of Covid-19, that solidarity and support is shown no matter where you are in the world. In the summer myself and Ivy raised money in solidarity with Black Lives Matter together with some other artists and illustrators who were kind enough to donate a piece of artwork to the cause. We both felt frustrated by what was happening in America, and though I didn’t go to any protests, sometimes the smallest actions can have a major impact.

During the period of lockdown I had spent a lot of time weaving and throughly enjoyed it. This’ll definitely something I’ll be continuing and I have plans of buying a larger loom.

 

I took part in lots of virtual craft markets during the summer, made sales through them, and will do more of them as they arise in the future. The pandemic has shown that creatives and businesses have had to adapt in the uncertainty of the coronavirus, although not the same as walking through a market, I think it’s been fantastic that so many people have grouped together in support of one another.

As well as taking part in online life drawing lessons, Sam and I have had the time to cook far more interesting dishes which we wouldn’t usually have the time for. We made cheese (at one point it was mega hard to get hold of cheese), bao buns, sushi (made this twice now), lots of Japanese food in general plus good old wontons which I can’t see to get enough of right now!

As lockdown was easing we went camping for a couple of days and that’s been our holiday; no plans of going away either. We’ll spending Christmas here in London as it’s way too risky to be visiting family members. Once vaccinations have been on the roll-out I’ll be making my way up North as I haven’t seen my folks since July. I also miss my grandparents but it’s just not worth the risk to be seeing them over the Christmas period. I miss conversing with them in Cantonese, eating my Grandma’s traditional and home cooked Chinese food… all of those things I’m really craving right now but I keep reminding myself that one day we’ll be able to spend proper quality time as a family. So we’ll be having a quiet: watching lots of films, eating cheese and chocolate, making artwork in my own time and hanging with the cats.

I’m going to end my post here and I wish you all a festive Christmas and see you on the other side. Since I last updated this post, London and all of South East of England are now in tier 4 which means no mixing with other households, people cannot leave tier 4 areas unless permitted (i.e. for work)… generally staying put then.

(A rather ambient version of WHAM’S Last Christmas to get you into the mood- Enjoy!). x