We have an exclusive new collection of handmade cards which have been created by Jane Chiodini, Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine.
All money raised from the sale of the cards will be donated to the HOPE Foundation to make a real difference to health related projects locally, nationally and globally.
Our purpose is to make a positive difference to the health of people living in challenging circumstances where access to quality healthcare is, for whatever reason, limited. We do this through fundraising, grant-making and building partnerships. By purchasing the greetings cards you are supporting this important work. To view the range of cards, please visit our College shop.
Greetings Cards, HOPE and Wellbeing: Jane Chiodini gives us an insight into the making of her cards
As the COVID-19 pandemic was taking a hold on the world I began writing a series of News Blogs for the College between February and June, ending in a reflective piece in the summer edition of “voice”. In the 9th Blog I discussed the impact on mental health issues and mentioned I was making some handmade cards – they take me to a ‘happy place’ but the activity is not a new one.
Back in the 1980s I took up patchwork and quilting as a hobby, but as a young family arrived I discovered there was never enough time to complete anything significant. It was at this stage that I started making handmade greetings cards. As a stay at home mum in those early days and very much missing my nursing career, I took up craftwork in a big way and started small classes in the local community gaining a City and Guilds education certificate at the same time. I would craft in the evenings when the boys were in bed and go to small craft fairs with my finished products.
This led onto a large order of 800 of assorted Christmas card designs to Harrods, but I only took the challenge once, as pleasing as it was to secure the order. There were tight deadlines to make, penalties paid if missed and they put 200% mark-up on the product. We went to the Knightsbridge store in early November to find that most of them had sold out. I was then asked to fulfil a special order of 1000 of the patchwork star Christmas cards in a particular colour scheme within a month. These particular cards take over an hour each to make, so it was totally impossible and I declined!
In 1995 as I started my master’s degree in Travel Medicine at the University of Glasgow, I was invited to write a quarterly editorial for a craft magazine dedicated to handmade greetings cards. This role continued for 20 years. In the early days the brief was pretty restrictive but from issue 26 onwards, I had free rein to write as I thought fit. A strange place you may think to put in health messages, but I often managed to weave in details about flu vaccines and travel medicine related news! But when I look back now, it’s quite a catalogue of uplifting events and times of making cards over my life.
In each edition, there were many patterns for different card designs and in the early days I would create some myself, but as my Travel Medicine career progressed I didn’t have capacity. So if you’re into card making you may enjoy some of them – you can find them here.
To come back to my original blog of what takes people to happy places, mine would be going to the theatre, particularly musicals, swimming with my waterproof iPod shuffle on and making cards. Well the theatres then closed, as did the gyms and even my passion for Liberty Tana Lawn fabric was curtailed to a degree with the store closing.
During the early days of lockdown my sleep patterns were really disrupted and I found myself up for hours in the night making cards. I was sending them to friends and family and it was at this point that I initially jokingly suggested to Deputy CEO and Director of Membership and Engagement, Linda Irvine that I could make some for the HOPE Foundation. I have to admit that emotions have remained somewhat labile as the pandemic has progressed, not least the thought that many charities are badly affected as an incidental consequence of the whole situation.
Back in January at the Executive Board meeting, Mike McKirdy, Chair of the HOPE Foundation and Director of Global Health was encouraging us all to join the Kiltwalk 2020 to raise money for HOPE. Knowing I would be physically challenged doing so, I remained quiet but feeling somewhat guilty! So suddenly my suggestion made in jest became a reality and production started! Having made thousands over the years, their creation still takes me to that ‘place of calm’. They help to distract me in times less optimal, give me pleasure when choosing colours and designs, but to raise funds for such worthy causes brings an added dimension and sense of purpose.
My cards have gone around the world, I think brought a lot of pleasure to people and many have been framed. I only make them for charity or give as gifts just now as I have little time. There’s a saying in patchwork – she who dies with the most fabric wins. Well I imagine I have a good chance there, and I have enough fabric stored away to keep me busy during retirement, when I hope the musicals will be back again as well.
So here they are in the college shop online with a small selection of three different designs. The patchwork star cards are in Christmas fabric with coloured insert and matching envelopes. The butterfly cards are made in Liberty Tana Lawn™ fabric with a matching gift tag. Both these are designs take over an hour each to make but I enjoy the process and find it very fulfilling watching a film or musical online (headphones in place if in the middle of the night in our small London flat!).
The cheeky chickens are made from either liberty fabric or a beautiful Japanese Chiyogami paper which I discovered as I started to learn bookbinding. There are a dozen each of these packed into a box which also has the chicken on top. If you decide to support the HOPE Foundation with my endeavour, I hope you enjoy receiving and sending the cards.
This article was written by Jane Chiodini, Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine