Who Are We?
Founder, Artist, Spoonie
Hi, I’m Hayley. I live in a purple world and still searching to find a pet unicorn (I have been since the age of 5, so any tips on where to get one are very welcome!). I have a background in mixed media/art textiles and jewellery, I love to be creative when energy allows. I also studied psychology and theology with a specialism in children’s spirituality, and world religions are big interest of mine.
I began Spoonie Village when a severe relapse hit at the end of 2016 as a way to escape the daily symptoms of ME/CFS. Since then being majority bedbound/ housebound, Spoonie Village became a bit of a refuge. I figured if I could giggle about the Spoonie characters then someone else might too, so began to share them. I draw the doodles, share my experiences of life with ME/CFS and parcel up pretty orders.
The IT Guy, Coffee Drinker, Hugger
Hi, I'm Tom, your resident tech geek and coffee lover here at Spoonie Village! It's my job to make sure that you have the best possible experiences here. That means keeping an eye on the forum, hunting out cool contributors for our next blog post, and generally making sure the website runs smoothly!
I've got an undergrad and a masters in Communication and Media from the University of Leeds (so I guess I'm putting that to use now?), love anything that has an engine and goes VROOoOoOmMmM, and would gladly spend my days pointing at dogs and exclaiming "DOG!"
Oh, and I'm Hayley's cuddle dealer, which is a lot more fun, it just doesn't pay as well as this...
First things first, why is it all about spoons? Well, Spoon Theory was invented by Christine Miserandino as a way to explain what it's like living with the effect of fatigue due to chronic illness. Spoons are a metaphor for a unit of energy, therefore they represent how much energy you have daily when doing different things. Spoonies are people who associate themselves with this theory and use it to explain what it's like living with an invisible illness.
Now to cut a very long (kinda) story short here's how Spoonie Village was created.
I [Hayley] am a Spoonie myself living with chronic fatigue syndrome (also sometimes called ME). I have had it now for pretty much 10 years on and off with bad phases and perfectly healthy phases (which I am currently working on getting back to!). However, at the end of 2016 I ended up having a really bad relapse which I am still battling and can still be bed bound some days. Gradually over time things started to improve in tiny steps (hurray!). Yet my life is still stopped in its tracks, it's a very isolating illness and not only is it the constant feeling of fatigue, I have the joy of muscle/joint aches and very bad brain fog making it hard to focus, process and speak/think staight (you have no idea how many edits this took!).
Anyway, with all that going on I could see how easy it could be to lose sight of the fun side of life (you don't really have one, so yeah...), lose your sense of humour and generally get dragged down by it all. So, I did what I could (somedays that was frustratingly nothing) trying to keep my creative mind going by doing all sorts of my arts and crafts when my spoons allowed (those pesky spoons!)
Then somehow in all those goings on my Spoonie Spoon people began to emerge and here they are! I am not a trained graphic designer or illustrator at all, my background is in jewellery making, mixed media and textile arts hence why sometimes these little spoons have unique imperfections. They begin life as ideas, then get drawn and then brought to life on the computer (which is a frustrating process as sometimes the ideas take forever to come to life, but still we get there eventually!)
Spoonie Village is still very much a work in progress (despite having come a long long way already!) and I have to work at a sensible pace as I'm still not yet where I'd like to be with my health, but I hope these little spoons will help raise awareness about the health conditions so many people face and do for others what they did for me, which is:
- Find giggles on the hard days.
- Give motivation on the bad days.
- Focus in on the 'cans' rather than the 'cannots', and embrace the spoons you do have.
But that's not where our story ends! In the midst of all of this fatiguey, Spoonie chaos, Hayley met Tom but it wasn't until just before the Christmas of 2018, Hayley introduced Tom to The Village (we've talked about exactly how this happened in our first blog post), and one Spoonie became two! Now Spoonie Village has moved from its humble beginnings on Instagram and Etsy to a shiny, new, built from scratch website, in order to give the community a new space to grow and collaborate. And that brings us right up to today! As we write this, the website is about to go live for the very first time... We'll let you know how that goes at some point I'm sure!
Until then, love and spoons
Hayley and Tom