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READ: A Letter from Superfolk

READ: A Letter from Superfolk

Hi there,

You may have noticed we’ve been quieter than usual lately…  There have been no newsletters, no journal posts and not so much social media posting. 

So what have we been up to?

We have been staying at home as instructed and taking one day at a time, caring for one another, caring for our daughter, caring for our family and navigating this strange new world.  

How have we spent our days in “lockdown”? We’ve taken some time this week to pause and reflect on the past few months of this pandemic. We’ve even written a list of our strange new routines. And we’re going to guess that some of this is going to sound familiar.

Over-watering our houseplants and then neglecting our houseplants. Unaccustomed to spending so much time with our houseplants I just never quite get the right balance.  

Tuning into the news like amateur statisticians. Reminding ourselves that we are designers, not epidemiologists. Listening and being thankful for the capable hardworking professionals who are in fact epidemiologists, and are keeping us safe.

Starting books and not finishing them. 

Making a family day trip to the green post box, 3km from our home.

Planting seeds and nurturing our back garden flowers as though we depended on them for our survival. 

Feeling uncertain about the relevance of what we do. And then being blown away by the raw power of magnificent art and sustained by poetry.

Spending weeks deciding which tent to buy for the summer months... in part because we needed to believe that summer would, eventually, come. 

Taking exercise within the regulated 2km of our home. We’ve found new routes and new routines and marvelled at the peacefulness of roads without the incessant noise of cars.

Cycling to the market to gorge on fresh four-cheese pizzas and undoing all the exercise that propelled us there. 

Walking through bogs behind and getting our shoes and socks wet. (Always wear waterproof boots in the bog - even on the driest, sunny day).

Finally using our children's bicycle trailer regularly and promising to keep using it once all this has passed. While never really talking about when that might be. 

Chatting on facetime and having family zoom quizzes and zoom discos. Celebrating online birthday parties and hen parties.

Marvelling as Spring slowly unfurls and then bursts into Summer. 

Seeing our environment afresh. Watching roadside verges and car parks explode with wildflowers masses of dandelions, dog daisies, clover and wild orchids. And then watching with sadness as the council starts again with their nonsensical grass cutting obsession. 

Watching “Schitt’s Creek”. 

Missing trips abroad, missing friends and missing family. Missing swimming pools. Missing trains and bad train station coffees.

Squabbling. Being grateful for one another.

Missing the funeral of a kind and generous friend due to government restrictions. Missing the chance to collectively grieve for him at an Irish country funeral. Visiting his grave alone to bring flowers.

Talking more to our neighbours. Visiting friends and family in their gardens.

Missing the experience of being in any room that we are not responsible for vacuuming.

Listening to audiobooks and washing dishes again and again. 

Switching off podcasts and listening to music instead. 

Fishing some more.

Building lego, buying more lego, building lego.

Saving all our cardboard and toilet roll holders to fashion into children's art projects. More often than not throwing the cardboard in the recycling after three weeks on our kitchen countertop.  

Simultaneously feeling the monotony and the security of the same day on repeat.

And oddly there is something familiar about much of this slightly absent-minded, repetitive behaviour. On the most uncertain of days, I know that in a strange way I have been here before. And that I realise this because there have been many moments recently that reminded me of the process of bereavement.

Experiencing the shock of the sudden bereavement of a parent was both the worst thing that has ever happened to me and... in some ways, my what feels at times like my secret super-power. A bit odd, I know.  In the rawness of grief, all that is superfluous is stripped away. What matters and what doesn't matter in your life is instantly unveiled and sparklingly clear. To be clear, the effect doesn’t last forever - maybe just a few months. But, even now, 14 years later, it is always a moment in time of clarity that I can come back to again and again. “Does this really matter I ask myself?” And the answer to difficult decisions and dilemmas becomes clearer.

In the earliest days of the pandemic, cocooned in our homes, it was easy to think that this massive world shift was only happening to us and our families. Then, switching on the radio, flicking through social media or going for a walk … the profoundness of this moment became clear. This great, raw, moment of pause and loss was something that the whole world was going through at once. 

And what can this possibly mean?

It will take us all a long time yet to process what is happening around us. But our hope at Superfolk is that this might be a defining moment that helps us all see more clearly. A time when what really matters to us collectively, what needs to change, can become sparklingly obvious. Freed from our usual distractions, in the rawness of this moment, voices of protest and change are resonating more profoundly than ever before.

So, here’s another list…

Something that can no longer be brushed away are the absolute facts of persistent, systemic racism. Racism is not something happening elsewhere - it happens right before our eyes, everyday. It is our job to educate ourselves to see this happening and to understand how we must act. It is not enough to be quietly anti-racist.

We are only as strong as the weakest and most vulnerable in our society - while this has always been true it has rarely been so visible.

A home is not a luxury or a commodity, a home is a human right.  

For the first time, we are all truly seeing those in our communities who are our “essential workers”. We feel more than humbled by their dedication and commitment. And angered that far too many of them are underpaid and undervalued and subsisting on poor or no employment contract.

We have all now seen that we are capable of massive, collective behaviour change.

We have seen that bureaucratic change that may usually happen over years can happen in days when there is urgency and momentum.  

Rising rates of domestic violence open our eyes to the fact that home is not the place of warmth and security it should be for everyone. 

More and more people are truly understanding that nature is not the picturesque backdrop against which we live our lives. Our environment is a shared habitat, a delicate ecosystem that we must know, love and protect.

If you have lost someone close to you in recent times we are sincerely sorry for your loss. Grief should be shared collectively, not carried alone. 

We hope in the coming weeks and months as we process what is happening in our world we have many more moments of seeing clearly.

Finally, back to more mundane Superfolk news - Our shipping times have been slower than usual in recent weeks but are now back to normal (or of course the new normal). Thank you so much for your loyalty, orders and patience. We are a small family business and this means the world to us.

We look forward to getting back to making, designing, writing, exploring and sharing in the weeks and months ahead.

warmest wishes from the west of Ireland,

Jo Anne and Gearoid



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