Self-innovation is about being the best you can be. It involves making changes and taking risks.

With a working life based around family commitments, I understand now that I have been constantly self-innovating and upcycling throughout my career. Beginning with an agricultural science degree, this work spans decades of rural reporting, writing and editing, communications and campaigning as well as 10 years in leadership roles with the Rural Press Club of Queensland.

Today I am the founder of Textile Beat and a sustainability consultant working with individuals, groups and governments to influence change in clothing culture, reduce our material footprint, and divert textile resources from landfill.

I have learned from experience that leadership is an action we take, not a position we hold. Our actions speak louder than words – and so do the clothes we wear.

Earlier this year when I met Japanese artisan Akiko Ike in Brisbane we had no language in common, yet the denim pinny I wore communicated our shared commitment to treasuring natural fibres.

As a result of that meeting, I travelled to Japan to learn about reviving textiles through boro stitching and absorb the SAORI weaving philosophy of celebrating imperfection and expressing ourselves through the garments we make.

Almost everything I wear is handmade or upcycled – not because I can’t afford new clothes, rather because I enjoy the creative, individual, mindful and sustainable process of reinvention.

Four years ago when our third (and last) child finished school, I went through a growth process by reflecting on and absorbing lessons from the past then looking forward to align values with work, knowledge and skills before setting off in this new career direction.

Continue to read Jane’s story in Issue 2 of Honestly Woman Magazine.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Milburn created Textile Beat in 2013 based on social-enterprise principles and began this journey into creativity, empowerment, thrift, sustainability, ecological health and wellbeing – woven with threads of childhood education, professional expertise, networks and nature.