Abby Monroe: Finding Your Inner Maiden
Artist Abby Monroe went on a journey to discover her inner artist. Come with Fibre Arts Take Two as we learn about Abby’s journey.
Abby Monroe’s Friday Feature Artist Interview can be found at the bottom of this page.
Abby Monroe is a mixed media artist whose work resonates deeply with her profound connection to the world around her.
As an artist and creative mentor, Abby has charted a distinctive course, weaving together artistry, nature and spiritual awareness. She studied Fine Art at the University of the Creative Arts and delved deeper into textiles, completing an MA at the Chelsea College of Art.
Abby’s art journaling adventure began 25 years ago, and it has guided her into the enigmatic territories of self-discovery, where her inner artist found its voice. Yet her creative voyage does not stop at personal expression. It extends into the very landscape that envelops her. Situated along the Suffolk coast, she gathers materials such as photos, sketches, sounds and videos for inspiration, where she adeptly weaves stories together, using thread and stitches to create beautiful works.
Abby shared her delightful worldview with Fibre Arts Take Two, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Living a quiet life is natural to Abby, “I grew up in a village,” she says, “And I always liked quiet. I liked the analogue way of life and was taught how to cook, bake, and stitch. Everything was homemade and handmade. That was always something that I loved. But there was a push-pull in my 20s of wanting to go to London and live in London, and for a while, I did live in South London. But there was always something in my gut that didn’t feel right. I always felt like an outsider.”
Three years ago, Abby moved to the Suffolk Coast and also took an inward journey, “I asked myself, ‘Who do I want to be when I move to this new place?’” She says, “And I made this decision, even though I’d graduated, not to be a fine artist and just to step into that identity every day and wake up being that person. And even though I graduated 25 years ago, it feels like this journey has only just begun, which is exciting. I think that’s to do with going through perimenopause and this liminal space I feel I’ve been in. And there’s a whole new journey in front of me, which is exciting.”
Connecting with her ‘maiden’
Abby’s introspection led to other breakthroughs for her life and art: “I felt like I was in no man’s land,” she says, “and I didn’t know what direction to take. But then that’s when I think I really slowed down and just connected with the seasons and with nature and started to think about those liminal spaces and how, if we spend time in them, we can start to see our truth and what resonates with us and those innermost desires.”
It was finding these innermost desires that helped Abby take the next step.
“I did lots of work on figuring out what brought me joy,” she says, “I thought about what made me happy, and I went back to ask, ‘When was I happiest in my life?’ I did a lot of visualisations, and the happiest time that came to me was this young 19-year-old going off to art college with all her materials and supplies and these endless possibilities. I tried to keep revisiting that girl and started to listen to the music she used to listen to, the book she was reading, and how she dressed.
It was like reconnecting with my maiden before life’s obstacles got in the way. Meeting her again was so powerful for me. And then, yes, there was also a lot of pain to go through on those wild edges. I’m quite happy now. I’m enjoying being in those liminal spaces. Because there is that freedom again that there was before.”
Abby’s work in art journaling came from a place of recovery, “I lost my grandma, I lost my mum, I lost my dad, I lost my journey with fertility, and all within five years,” says Abby,
“When I was first faced with grief, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I needed something to escape that pain, and textiles and stitch got me past that. A friend used to teach courses, like day retreats, and I made dolls and clothes.
Then I watched a YouTube video of a Japanese girl filling a sketchbook with just collage pieces but to the most beautiful music, and it was only about five or six minutes long, but I just put it on repeat and just sat with my sketchbooks. That’s where the art journaling began because there was this flow. I felt like I was healing. And then, when I lost my mum, I had that to jump straight into. It was like a hug, and it supported me. Then, whenever I wanted to think about something, spend time thinking about that loss, or remember that person, my art journals became that vehicle. I can bring together photos or elements or use my grandma’s pressed flowers, little bits of their clothing that I’d like taken, and bits of ribbon because they both had sewing boxes that had everything for every occasion. All of those things I can work with and use, and it just brings me closer to them again.”
Hearing the whispers
Abby has sage advice for aspiring artists struggling to find their voice.
“If you’re not getting those gut feelings or knowing what direction you need to go in,” she says, “it’s about finding a place where you can hear those whispers because sometimes it is just a feeling, but you can’t hear what it is. That might be out walking in nature, it might be listening to music that you haven’t listened to for years, it might be a time when you’re on your own, or just giving yourself some space to try and listen to what is your real truth, rather than all of the voices that are in our heads and calling them out as well.”
About the artist
Abby Monroe is an artist and creative mentor who helps heart-centred creatives show up to their art practice with confidence and an abundant mindset.
She offers a cyclical, nature-led approach to artmaking that honours creativity’s natural ebb and flow.
Abby believes that art is a journey, not a destination, and she is here to guide you along the way.
Twenty-five years ago, Abby began her art journey. There have been many obstacles along the way, and grief knocked her totally off course. But Abby’s creativity transported her and showed her the way.
Abby’s art practice showed her how to heal her wounds and nourish her scars.
It brought her to the sea on the east coast of England, where she now lives with her art college sweetheart—navigating the next chapter of her journey through the threshold of mid-life and peri-menopause.
Abby’s journey has taken her to the wild edges of herself. On a deep exploration of the mysterious shadows, the liminal spaces.