Sophie wears the Maèli dress
Sophie wears the Theodora dress
If there was ever an interview up on the Kindred folk blog that was more synonymous with the concept of bringing like minded friends together, this story could not be more appropriate. I met my lovely friend Sophie, originally though the community of Instagram, after she initially won a giveaway that I was running, we slowly got to know one another finding more and more in common. Last year, Sophie moved to Northern NSW and we arranged to meet, although I was a little nervous at first, as I’m sure she was, we ended up completely hitting it off, finding so many wonderful things to talk about and share. My friendship with Sophie is one that I truly treasure and if it wasn’t for the community I have found through ANKOA we would never have met. You can find Sophie and her beautifully handmade mala bead necklaces via @heart2heartmala.
Tell us about your background - what has led you to here?
I’m 34 years old, I have a twin sister Georgina who is a constant source of inspiration and joy to have in my life. I am a Wife to a proud East Timorese/Portuguese man Jose. I am a Mother to my 3 sons, Joseph 7, Henry 5 and Alexander 2.
During my childhood and youth my parents moved around NSW and I experienced small town and coastal life. They renovated and built most of the locations we lived in. Changing schools and making ‘new’ friends’, built resilience and autonomy and detachment. I experienced a variety of schooling: Public, Catholic and Steiner Education. My parents wanted a different education for my sister and I, when we were 8 years old, they took us out of our public primary school and sent us to a Steiner School. I have the happiest memories of the 5 years spent there. A trip to India when I was 12 also helped shape my view of the world. When I was 13 my parents bought just over 100 acres of land and built a fully self-contained Mud Brick home in a small town north of Tamworth. This was an experience never to be forgotten, although only 2 years, it was a defining point in my youth to see my parents follow their dreams of leaving the rat race and living an eco-friendly existence. University brought some study in social work then a degree in Art Education. Moving to Sydney for my Art degree gave me the adventure I was craving, culminating in meeting my husband on the dancefloor at a Latin nightclub in Cockle bay Warf.
What are you passionate about?
Right now I’m passionate about making and teaching how to make Japamala Necklaces through my little start-up home business Heart2Heart Mala. I attended a DoTerra ‘LavaMala’ workshop about 8 months ago and I have not been able to stop making Malas since then. A whole new avenue to explore opened up to me in the form of Mantra, Meditation, Crystal Properties and healing, and Chakras. Even though I grew up with this in my life through my parents interests, it's been wonderful to approach it all again as an adult. I love art and creativity and particularly enjoy crafting for a purpose. Mala making and teaching has really provided me with that creative outlet that I was craving. The joy I get in giving a handmade with love gift to friends and family is priceless. The added bonus of introducing people to meditation, mantra and crystals that enhance their well-being just makes this project all the more full-filling for me. My long-term goal for this project to be able to make enough money to donate to girls’ education where women are striving for equality and empowerment over their own futures.
Sophie wears the Theodora dress
Your boys are at a lovely Steiner school in the NSW hinterland, what are some of the philosophies of Steiner education?
Yes they are; well there’s not enough space in this Q&A to really do justice to the depth and breadth of the philosophies underpinning Rudolf Steiner Education. In my brief outline it is a form of education that aims to educate the whole child, on a physical, social, emotional and spiritual level. Learning of the main subjects such as maths, english, science and history are discovered through artistic means such as drawing, painting story-telling, clay, woodwork and hand craft (knitting/sewing/felting/weaving). For example, maths may be learnt through the craft of knitting. Read more about this via the link here > www.waldorftoday.com/2018/10/why-waldorf-students-knit/
Developing a deep reverence and respect for the role that Nature and Agriculture plays in our lives deepens children’s connection with the environment and the natural world. The emphasis is on cooperation not competition. Children are able to slow down and learn through play and imitation, especially in the early years. The essence of childhood is preserved. I’ll leave you with this quote from Rudolf Steiner:
"Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education."
How has that affected your approach to parenting?
I have tried to incorporate Steiner Values into our home life as much as possible without causing too much stress to myself and my partner. I confess to having a TV and plastic toys about the house, but I try to minimise the amount of technology and screen time by boys are exposed too. My husband and I value our nature based childhoods where the outdoors was our best friend. He grew up in East Timor and Portugal and I attended a Steiner school for part of my primary education. We both agreed that we wanted to give our boys a similar upbringing where we are more connected to each other and nature and not to things and technology.
Sophie wears the Anoushka dress
You are also a trained educator yourself, I was really fascinated by the course that you recently did, would you like to share a bit about it?
Yes I have a degree in Visual Arts Education from COFA and some post study in Foundations of Steiner Education. I’ve also been taking courses/workshops in Human Values education. I am completely inspired by the work of two psychologists Ron and Suwanti Farmer who have dedicated so much of their working lives to transforming the way we approach education not just in our country but around the world. Their School in Ormeu QLD is an example of their philosophy in action see more at this link: www.toogoolawa.com.au/education.html
Below is a quote that I love and if you are a teacher and want to enrich your career in other ways you can access information via: http://heacademy.org.au/
“At the heart of Human Values Education is the conviction that, above all else, teachers who are willing for the sake of the children to commit themselves to an ongoing self-transformation into humble and inspiring role-models of good character, will be the essential catalysts for the change that is required for civilization to turn away from its present hazardous trajectory, towards a new world where compassion, harmony, common sense and care for the environment prevail.”
— Ron and Suwanti Farmer (2015)
Handbook for Teachers in Human Values Education
If you had a day all to yourself, what would you do?
It feels so self-indulgent to describe a day without my children or partner but here goes:
I love to sleep-in and enjoy a good book in bed, the luxury to have time to ones-self, to not be anywhere for a specific reason and be immersed in good literature is priceless to me. This would also be accompanied by a yummy breakfast, I’m thinking avocado and Persian feta on sourdough and coffee, in bed of course.
After this I would love a walk along the beach or in the rainforest absorbing and allowing Nature therapy to do its work.
I would then find time for creativity, either mala making, photography, hand sewing or abstract painting. Alternatively I would attend a ceramics class because I’m dying to make my own earthern-ware. Lunch would be authentic vegetarian Indian; Masala Dosa is my favourite right now. Lastly I would attend a yoga class, preferably with a friend or my twin sister where afterwards we would enjoy a nourishing dinner followed by Chai and good conversation. If we were feeling like being night owls, we’d watch an inspiring documentary film at the movies.
How would you describe your style?
Bohemian, Floral, Vintage, Feminine, Natural Fibres, colourful, mostly comfortable, simple.
What’s your mantra?
My current Mantra that is helping me to change my outlook is:
My life is full of Abundance in every way.
A morning Mantra that I love, and one that is said every morning at the Human Values school mentioned above is:
We start the day with Love
We fill the day with Love
We end the day with Love
This is the way we Live