Exhibition Day

 

A few of the details of work in my part of the St Abbs Art exhibition., which begins tonight at 6pm in the Ebba Centre. I am proud to have been included in this community event and look forward to meeting other artists and makers.

For more details go to; https://www.facebook.com/EbbaCentre

This post was beginning as an arty one… But, I am returning to normal (ish) after a week in hospital . A sudden spinal problem on top of the usual wonky bits ended in an ambulance trip and a black hole in the usual routine. Thankfully the artwork was completed beforehand or we may have come unstuck! Two days ago it was beginning to feel like this new pain gremlin was a  hurdle too many ,  a route through frustrating and seemingly never ending and worsening symptoms, with little hope of anything changing. If you have one condition, at the appropriate age , you’re fine.

s-l400.jpgChuck in a couple of them.. early.. at a time when your peers are running about with their young children and working in their hard won careers, as should you be, and the course gets trickier. If you can stand pain for any length of time before they operate or fix you, is deemed chronic.. If you then get labelled chronic..any new illness is tagged onto that and is belittled and categorized as symptomatic of illness ‘A’. regardless . You can become part of bigger drain on resources simply by accumulating further conditions,your health, sleep and fitness deteriorating because of a lack of interest in the source of the problem.

I don’t believe in feeling sorry for myself but ……….oh man!!!

You should be patient and tolerant and try to battle on but when the decisions of a medical system , or lack of decisions are literally breaking you into smaller pieces.. There has to be a moment you say ENOUGH!!!! I am done with patience!

I was starting to hear myself giving up. I was beaten. I heard the negative voices of every bully I’ve ever met re-asserting their hold, proving I was less worthy than they were, and undoing all the wonderful creativity you and I have shared since I stopped living that reality. … I started to give up on believing this can be better. Pain does that. And if you lose your grip without telling your friends.. well that’s what happens when you stop trying anymore

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Because you know what?

That's not me. 
I was forgetting who was right there in the middle still.

I might be little, a bit delapidated, incredibly sore, and have a mountain to climb.. but I remembered..new iphone 059

I have an army of people there too. And without them I couldn’t do any of what I do. I write this for them, I think about them all the time and they are the reason I got through everything so far. My daughter, face-book family, my neighbours, my art group and my friends.

new iphone 040A simple comment on my facebook page letting people know I was in hospital with no pyjamas , resulted in an anonymous delivery of new nightwear, underwear, a bag of toiletries , fruit and chocolate. It was an unimaginably lovely thing to do, and so so appreciated. Another took time to visit, and bought me yet more wonders and pyjamas, another sent a wonderful book and another took me home, remembering pillows for my spine. Others looked after the monkey and the zoo. And kept the house ticking and restocked for returning. I am humbled by the good of people and of how, in adversity we have the gift of changing someone’s experience for the better.

So, this time we don’t take no for an answer. I am going to stop worrying what I haven’t achieved, who I haven’t phoned, or written to, and what anyone else is thinking..  I will try and remember to be as kind to myself as you are! And, I am going to focus on gaining some physical strength over the next few months. My inspiration is you and I want to make our art-space happen. I will update progress on here and also let you see new artwork as it unfolds. And I am going to get some answers.

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With love Liz xx

A little light on decoupage …………

 

Well folks, I am a little bit in love with this technique.. I decided to hobble about the house and see exactly how often I use my ‘Go –To’  way of applying colour, pattern and interest to just about anywhere.. and it has to be said.. it is probably more than normal!

We are all a little bit scared of paint, even those people who have been applying colour to canvas or sculpture for an age. can get brain freeze when faced with a blank canvas, or a white ghessoed figure.

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To cover a surface quickly or to give a beautifully chalky surface to paint your acrylics on, simply cover your canvas or paper you can use a base layer of coloured tissue. This gives you a much broader starting point where your next layers can tease and build in depth on top .

You might wish to keep areas of the original tissue as the ‘true’ layer’ and add a glaze or ink to brighten. You can trap things between layers,, like string, flattened objects like tickets and dried flowers and use the mix of plain colours to jar against each other or blend in interesting textured layers .

So I love tissue generally, because it is cheap, easy to pick up, use, apply, mix, and work over. Kids love it and working with groups who find art challenging ( the elderly, recovering from illness or health issues) or in my own case struggling with bad arthritic days and because it is immediate and can be cut or torn into an infinite variety of shapes.

And that is only the beginning…

So.. the next thing is the massive choice you have in skinny patterned layers of lovliness you can use on surfaces which are just made of paper.. There are so so many and once you start seeing how they can be incorporated into a collage you will see potential in the most everyday materials. !

Napkins, patterned tissue paper, crepe paper, wrapping paper, and the fancy stuff.. decoupage paper ( more sturdy and less likely to break up in application).. although you’ll pay for the privalige.

And all you do is this…

Prepare the surface you’ll be working on. In each case it will be different, but you need a kind of tooth ( a grip) so the glue won’t just slide off.

On a paper mache surface or a canvas, you’ll need a chalky clean but waterproof surface. Prime with ghesso or white acrylic first.

On a wood surface , sand down any gloss paint and get the surface to be a little rough before you start.

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Mix up a magic mixture of 50% pva and water 50%. Warm water is better as it makes the glue a bit meltier .. and the paint it onto your preferred surface. Apply glue  mixture with a generous brush, apply papers, and then  importantly Apply another of glue mixture painted on top. This will flatten, secure and seal the layers. Repeat until you are done! Add detail with acrylic paint and when dry ( next day) add a layer or two of strong yacht varnish. Preferably matt ( but some kinds of art can tolerate the glossy kind and it has it’s uses in some kinds of painting, and certain projects, ) Your project should now be pretty cool and hardwearing 🙂

Here is a tour of my house and its decoupage projects.. I hope it inspires you to try it for yourself…… xxxxxxx

These projects have included a couple of trunks in the living room, a set of coffee tables, the kitchen wall !!! a vintage style magical cookbook and Leah’s homework desk . The papers we use are from old recipe books ( thanks to a friend for a gift of a particularly perfect ice cream and cake pics, torn from an old dairy cook book, manuscript books, napkins from holidays, online buys.. you name it.. you just need to know what you like and put it out there to all your crew that you need inspiration!!! Good luck and show me your finished projects, I can’t wait to see what you’re up to too!!  Love and Hugs Liz xxxx

 

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Imbolc Seeds

 

gardening-springHello my friends.

I have been quiet for a few weeks, gently , quietly, patiently anticipating this Ta Dah !!! moment to burst into 2018 with fireworks, stars  and unicorns jumping alongside… Like all seeds, you plant and feed and nurture and invest in, your hopes are for a colourful and cheery end result.. the one you had imagined or the one the packet said your seeds would look like.

Turns out.. I should know the universe is more complicated than that, and is more of a trickster. Just when you think you’ve planted snowdrops, a flipping great bluebell sits squarely in the middle.

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Just when we were at the medical junction where we were getting answers around here, we are steered in a totally new and frustrating direction, which may not result in being off crutches anytime soon, if ever. And certain other tests are looming too. So, instead of a voila moment, this is going to become a celebration instead. Of the small and the detail.. the moments of perfection found in planting, considering and focusing, and still creating (in pain sometimes for some of us) , but not letting go of the spark of life and seeds of plans..

november iphone 292We are not greater than the sum of our parts. Our greatness is in all the tiny detail which make us up. The incredible resilience we find on the journey and the way we keep going.

It is a strange thing being and looking positive. Your outside package and determination not to become a burden on other people, to be doing what most would consider masochistic can actually  be what prevents you getting medical treatments or can gives the impression that you must be making it up, or at the very least exagerrating.. How can you be in pain when your crutches are stripey? How can you be ill when you take a kids class at the weekend? Or enable other people to be creative?

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Simple.. what choice is there? Grey crutches were never going to last long around here.. and what better placed person to help others in pain is someone with experience? If you look closely, I have capable people putting all their own stuff away as I can’t lift things easily .. we manage as a team. It helps enormously to rebuild your strength and sense of self if the things you are good at, the things you know about, are shared and given to help others. Everyone can do that and be there for someone else. Just because you become dis-enabled. doesn’t mean you are worthless. I have to be careful to plan my time and don’t do very much a week… It looks like we do a lot.. I just take a LOT of photos!!!

(…. facebook lizatcreate/lizatthebeachhut  )

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About the way it is…

I don’t do very much the right way round. Computery things are a BIG challenge as it requires doing things from a to b!! Instead of the more unusual abstract and tourist route which I find myself taking…. It is far more appealing to multi task on several things and see progress all at once! It is still possible to be a perfectionist whilst not always completing tasks in a set out order. When I googled multi tasking however, the general impression I got was that normal people don’t have several unfinished projects on the go. WHO wants to be normal. ?!
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I am to be part of a joint exhibition in March at the Ebba Centre in St Abbs, along with several other Artists and a Writer. It is a new challenge to cram the creative process into the corners of our well oiled days here at Skye Blue House.. where I am strangely never busier than since I became retired with all this.

                Details of felted panel and collage pieces .

This is by far the toughest time of year for a lot of folk .. We have thrown our Autumnal energies in to the Christmas prep, which  happens far too quickly and then….  it is suddenly and harshly very wintery and very very cold.. and we aren’t quite prepared. I have days where I feel invincible, (mentally you understand) and days where I feel like I am 90. Every day is painful. However. Learning to think of the pain as separate from me and keeping creative in any way I can is as important as any pain killer, and you must not listen to anyone telling you to give up. Not ever.

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This cold spell has been particularly cruel, biting into bones and joints and stretching the pain into cavernous hot knife pits and only easing indoors with the heating and a fire on, immersed in hot water or plugged into a tens machine. On those days, I pray that I have the understanding of the people in our life to understand why our pause button is on. Many residents of the village disappear over the winter months and you can’t underestimate how different the world can suddenly feel, without human contact over the hedge.

Our community classes are particularly pertinent for this reason. You might be lonely, struggling with anxiety or your own health issues. We want our social class to be a place for everyone to come along and be creative, get out of the house and put the world to rights instead of listening to the wind howling round the bins..

If you are local to us around here, please contact the Ebba Centre here in St Abbs and they can let you know details.

Some little notes about how we work..

If I go quiet… it’s probably for one of the following  reasons…

  • ..We have the grumpiest broadband connection on the planet. It literally decides moment to moment what it wants to do. Nuff said.
  • . I’m plotting. Planning and organising something spectacular. Usually involves glitter…bff54ba7fde7773e84f38e65f31c9e91--iphone-wallpaper-glitter-day-quotes
  • ..I can’t move because a part or several parts of me hurt too much…If this is you too, you’ll know exactly how  tricky it can be conveying regularly to people why your pain isn’t the same all the time, and you might just not want to talk about it. You don’t have to. Just store up your ability to be ok with your differences on the down days. This then is my disclaimer for my pain days.. I’ll be able to get on with jollier topics instead!d4ef5a98664ec8d740088e79fbd0f779--hygge-lounge-hygge-interiors
  • Just the general ..life on crutches with a bonkers nine year old, two cats, a dog, a blog, community groups and a bungalow to look after who are all highly decorative and loved..

I hate phones. I am a bit scared of phones because they demand attention and that can make you feel hassled or even bullied by certain sources. They interrupt the flow and they can pressure you to have to reply. I try to remind myself when calls or texts come through unasked for or that wish to antogonise.. that you have choice. Choice to pick up, or reply or turn off altogether. If its urgent, someone will call back. …long live a real conversation, a chat by the hearth… or on a rug if weather permits.. I think I was born in the wrong era. If it were up to me I would send you these blogs by hand written and illustrated letters carried by pigeons…

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I love proper letters. My wonderful friend Gilda and I have made it an Art form and on  good day when my hands aren’t frozen and sore it is a lovely thing to write and receive a handwritten letter or card.. so if you ever feel  the urge.. address is on our contacts page.

acrylic-003.jpgI can’t stop creating so there is no point in telling me to slow down ( sorry- that’s for wimps..) I have a disability access service which I use for home repairs. They are amazing and so so kind. My handy man actually made me blush, catching me on a stool I shouldn’t have been on, trying to put up Christmas lights… forever the optimist… and gallantly put them up for me…’I’d rather die than have no sparkle…’ sorry doc!!!!!!!!!!! Lord Knows how I thought I was getting down from the stool …. (He lifted me in the end.. I know.. there’s no telling some people!)

And the baby bio in the seed growing? The magic ingredient to making winter projects easier with your body playing hard ball? Your friends.. Old and New.. big, little, a brief encounter or a comforting bestie.. ……

I love my friends unconditionally and with abandon and if you are in my life I am so loyal it ridiculous. I spend most of winter panicking that my friends think I have been abducted by aliens due to the cold, the internet and the phone allergies..  I hope they can all still read because if you’re here.. at the end of this.. I love you and we are growing seeds of fabulous things together. Soon we will see lots of colours in our Artwork and our gardens. Until then.. send me your favourite carrier pigeon.. xxxx…..

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Hello My Friends !!!

 

Festive Fancies

Here, ahead of the frenzy and chaos of the season, is a small gathering of the things we all know … and a moment to sit and reset…… shutterstock_325511369.jpg.gallery.jpg

  • Hygge is a very sensible reminder of the olden days. In times of illness, tiredness, and when we need comfort what do we want? A good source of heat, cosy soft clothes and big socks, warm drinks and comfort food. Add either solitude if you need that or your best friends if available, a good book or seven, spice up your space with candles and fairy lights. It is about treating your environment and yourself with simple, love and care. It isn’t new but there is never harm in being reminded of how to stop and hygge ourselves.. 

cropAs the world’s best list maker and multi tasker and teller -offer of myself if I don’t get things done perfectly.. this is for ALL of us!! There will always be something to change or do or improve.. you can’t possibly reach the end of the list. Life is a circle, not a ladder..
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  •   We can only ever be the best versions of ourselves , and how  that turns out is entirely up to us. There may be factors of constraint which colour the outcome , there may be financial , environmental or other external issues which form our choices , but our basic essence is all our own….our clothing choices and likes are ours, what we choose to live with or accept, what we do with the dreams we dream….  . You can be a lumpy muddy wonky carrot or a perfect cleaned up neat one . They both taste the same . But whichever carrot you are, you deserve to be living a life that belongs to you. I have a couple of  friends I hope are reading this.. you know who you are, please contact someone that can help you, especially the one in a house where inanimate objects seem to take flight….  You are worth more than you think….path
  • You have so much more to offer the world than you believe . Your experiences and your journey so far have taught you to survive, overcome, be patient, juggle life’s mysteries and puzzles and to deal with obstacles . You are armed to help others and should feel blessed that you can . However, it isn’t possible for you to fix other people.. . Showing someone a doorway isn’t the same as forcing them to walk through it . Despite installing a moving floor under someone’s feet or attaching wings to their back . Only they choose to go step through . And they need to be allowed to decide . Be kind to others without feeling that you own their burdens. eb22a69c1e76240fcf827b2a1a815507
  • In all the chaos and the change, the health , the money, the work, family problems, there is always something to be grateful for and to stop and marvel at . Make sure and say thank-you as much as possible . Out loud and in your head . Whoever you are saying it to … 
  • thankyou.jpgDon’t sweat the small stuff but do notice the details… You do, I know … and it is Why we are friends ! The kindness of someone’s word or the sudden pink bit of sky … hold it a bit longer to carry you through the traffic jam … november iphone 292.JPG
  • Write letters . One of my best friends Gilda and I have written to one another for years . Every month or so , a big fat letter plops into the door mat and and I savour the experience of catching up with her news with a cup of tea , in the garden in summer , and on the sofa in winter .., giving an experience that a text wouldn’t achieve . It is lovely to both sit and concentrate on telling your story and listen to someone else’s , and to cherish post again like when you were wee!! ( also , on a side note … if you feel like complaining about something .. to a business or shop etc .. write a letter .. be firm and fair . Nobody writes letters… yours will stand out in this email world and reap rewards in black and white ( do photocopy it ) 
  • Don’t ever underestimate anyone or dismiss them as not your type . The nicest people are hiding like little gems all over the place, waiting to become part of your story .. Waste less time imagining people’s version of you in their head’s ( which you can never guess at by the way.. ) and focus on how much you have to offer them. It is a surprising and rewarding passtime ..images (2)

Get good storage and make sure you remember what’s in it . 

Don’t expect your life to change on January 1st . 

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  • Get out in the garden and plant something if things are going pear shaped inside. Earth smells like heaven . Or make a bulb garden indoors ready to plant out once the winter frosts are passed.

Have adventures .. they don’t have to cost much . They just need to make you feel alive … And you also don’t need anyone else’s permission. xx

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  • Create , something , some how , in whatever form gives you a buzz in your bones .. 

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  • Assume people are good, nice, not out to get you and that they like you . In turn you will feel all these things about yourself and be these things . You carry the choice of people’s response to you around like a little interpretation radar . If you have done nothing to someone , and they are still hostile.. walk away from that drama.. they are looking for a mirror . Be protective of your heart . 

Appreciate your journey so far, even if it hasn’t yet become what you wanted .. if you keep your mind and heart locked in place on your goals … they are definitely yours xxx 048af150ba6904dd4ec06925b95f2cd9--mad-quotes-quotable-quotes

Happy Christmas and stay safe, creative and open to magic and adventures, love and hyggy pudding,

Liz xx

 

Vintage Desk

Today’s Art project.

This was an old desk bought in a charity furniture shop. I thought you might like to see its transformation. It has kept me quiet and distracted while the body does its annoying painful, temperamental, thing…When the pain gets painful and the tiredness hits, I Just remember I’m half fairy and I’m ok…..

So it’s got a base layer of acrylic white paint after a quick sand, (White acrylic and P.V.A glue are my mainstays of any project. The underlying layer of so many things we do..

And the main colour is a garden paint bought for outside projects but actually perfect in matt-ness and colour and type for a wooden cupboard. (…..never worry that your paint isn’t the right type.. just make sure that anything outside has yacht varnish on top, and that you understand your water based and oil paints and how to thin them. )

It is a lovely duck egg blue colour, which has the effect ( as in many of our projects of making them lighter and fresher.. The look is really different from the dark patina the desk had originally. It fits with our home and you can see things better in it! But I do like the old blotting paper with the original markings and scribbles so we might keep that!

I will probably paint a little beachy design on the front, after the office has stopped being a bedroom for relatives over Christmas, and I can spend more time in there. But in the mean time, I am quite pleased with the result and it has been a few hours well spent!

 ( and well  distracted!)

The Joy of a wiggle

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This is  my new studio!! At five in the morning. Me.. freezing cold, in my dungarees and fleeces sneaked out while she slept, with my coffee and crutches, in the dark to get painting .. until the hands and knees gave out with cold.. BECAUSE I WAS I SOOOOO EXCITED!!!

My neighbours might think I am a bit strange. I don’t do things in a straight line. I have appeared in the village.. with a crazy eight year old, a crazier dog, ( jury out on that one actually!)  and two lazy cats… and an awful lot of things…. and begun projects that don’t quite make sense.. until.. maybe one day they actually do.. and then.. they are occasionally pretty cool…….  (More of that in another post!)

And that’s the thing. I have come to realise …..that nothing good ever happened in a straight line. Having the spontaneous and primal desire to change and create something , is the biggest and most crucial factor. You might insert your own belief system at this point, and it really doesn’t matter how you get there, but you are being honest and that is the key..

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NO-one should be able to comment on your own particular brand of belief by the way. …..  as it is your modus operandi  …  ….. ! I believe there are huge universal factors which we are far more capable of channeling than we know. …… But I also think that we mistake our tiredness, sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed, as weakness, or signs that things aren’t meant to be….  . We look for reasons to fail as soon as we begin something wonderful and then pat ourselves on the back when we see how it has yet again, it has gone belly up. When things don’t go from ‘a’ to ‘b’ quite often it is all too easy to give up.   ( or cave into ridicule…)

Life is like spaghetti.  The journey to creating something amazing, albeit a dream space, a move somewhere, a de-cluttering of your life, a painting.. it is all simply about knowing it is going to happen. You’re going to get to that morsel.. sometime .. you can smell it!!!

And then the trick is.. Just ..  to get on with life anyway, sounds simple, but stop worrying..  . Continue to chip away at your dream though…. no matter what anyone else thinks, or how long it takes .. If you want to visualise it, there are numerous ways to create boards of ideas.. This does work.. cementing your vision more clearly and focusing your attention away from too many different options, which could make it happen or mess it up…… .

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Making something unique and layered with the detail you want, in a creative endeavour or in a physical dimension must take time to build up. I have often been told off for the piles of things in corners ‘waiting’ to go into one of the rooms, or the new huts. Because for a lot of people, the ‘a’ to ‘b’ route makes more sense……………

I think you’re meant to buy your curtains and your matching cushions after you build your extension to your house . I do understand that, and that is perfectly ok too, but, sometimes you must get that perfect vintage pair in the charity stop EVEN before you build the room they will go in, because you will one day have that room..and then your faith in your plans and ideas will feel so much richer.

hankycurtain_1309885932.jpgDifferent routes to goals and schemes are what makes life interesting , a bit like enjoying  a nice clean, observed line drawing , simple and easy to read at first glance……

And the contrasting rich emmersing process of experiencing mixed media work, creating  a layered paper collage, of found objects and treated surfaces, stitched into and gathered from various adventures…..   you need to wait to create something like that, collect treasure, experiment, and maybe until your heart is ready to piece it all together.

Big dreams do take longer.  You stop and start. School runs and Supermarket shopping get in the mix and the route gets wiggly. But you can’t give up. My belief is, and I am speaking from experience, that an artist might go months or years, with only their sketchbooks as pathways to their souls : but the thinking, teaching, planning, talking, sharing and being all the other people that they need to be,  is still creating and feeding the resource of you- as- an- artist. . ( This is more often a mum thing, as I have lost count of the conversations I have had about how hard it is to fully relax and lose yourself in artwork when you still have to cook the tea/look after the family/iron school shirts……..27

but I am sure, this will apply to some Dad’s, and folk with other dependents too)  The key is not to let the kernel of desire die. Feed the ideas, and drop them into a box of plans for your dream, no matter how tiny it may be.. write things on napkins at the soft play cafe or the garden centre:  print off pictures, let the dream know it is still there. Like a dragon feeding, being fed and watered it will keep growing and evolving, and one day come to fruition.. a twisty turney journey of unexpected adventure, which you will ,I hope tell me all about when we next meet. There were a thousand days and a million moments over the last five years when the odds were so stacked against us, it seemed like swimming in toffee. But the kernel of trust and belief stayed in place (somehow!)  It is sooooo hard not to believe the doubt in someone else when they ridicule you. But remember it is only their fear. Do it anyway.. then invite them round for tea!

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xxx Liz xxx

 

 

 

 

The swan

 

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You never know what those little feet are doing under the water… How often do you wonder what people would think if they could see the strategic mechanisms in place just to enable you to function. ! We all judge each other and maybe, if we think about it, we could do better trying to stop beating ourselves up first.!  Nobody knows what horrors that stranger left at home, what insult they might be reeling from, or disorder they are managing or pain that grips them  every four hours when their meds are wearing off..

A few years ago I had a big skin cancer removed from my nose. What started as a tiny annoying dot, was underneath my skin a mass of cells doing the salsa to the size of about 10p (they didn’t know that until the forth surgery when the zigzag skin graft operation revealed all.

I’d never thought about my nose before . Or what I looked like really. But other people had. My entire life, I had been on the receiving end of negativity because I was this fairy person, who looked a certain way, and was friendly too (Oh no!! Something MUST be wrong) So I was regularly on the receiving end of barbed comments, jealousy and hostility, which, (it wasn’t until later, I realised, ) was ultimately  the cause of my daughter and I to be in a supported accomodation at one point.. …yes.. often it is those closest who are our harshest critics, and stop us growing.

It is so easy to see a seemingly nice thing and want to crush it, name it, change it, question it or judge it. There are many psychological reasons, to want to control our tribe, to name what we don’t understand and to label. People behave instinctively, and we put each other and ourselves into box after box.

I had always considered myself to be a good person, but I was scared. I was insecure probably and I thought deep down perhaps, that the reasons people were unkind was because it was deserved. However.. when I  had to literally cut off my nose to spite my face, I can say that it was the start of valuing the person hiding in there..

Leah and I made a short face-book video after one particularly emotional experience.  I was on the way to teach children in an Art class at a community Centre. We stopped on the way to buy some cookies. Leah was with me. A man stopped in front of me ( with my stitched up nose ) and said “Oh my God. !! ” He just stared at me, and then walked away . I froze on the spot. I couldn’t move or breathe. He had reacted out of fear and ignorance, but all the bravery I had felt in getting out the door that day, with my scars and stitches.. evaporated… I thought I could do this…. But right there ..I lost power completely.

This story could be about that man, but it was actually about my daughter.  She took my hand and the cart and gave me a hug, telling me I had to keep walking. Because she said, you don’t have any choice. The kids are waiting for us, you still look beautiful, and I will help you..

We made the video to say thanks to the friends afterwards who became family, and who continue to be. The kids in the class barely noticed my Frankenstein face! Being vulnerable, physically and emotionally is a tough tough thing, but I liked my face then, I like it now. It’s my face.. what else am I going to do?! I feel more at peace, strangely because I have a less perfect nose. But it is a shame that the at -ease Liz who has scars and disabilities, couldn’t take hold of the young Liz and say.. “YOU are ok right now, and will be later, and will be despite other people’s insecurities. “It took all that to know all that. ( video will be posted on liz at beach hut fb page soon)

245294_disabled-holidays-in-port-de-pollensaSome people look at me now and see one person, with certain clothes or hairstyles some will give me pitying glances and half smiles when they see my eight year old shove me about in the wheelchair on our holidays. Extreme versions of the same me. What I feel like most days is that there is a lot more going on unseen than the tiny part we let others see.

Some days when your limbs don’t work, or your hands get stuck, or the cold paralyses your joints, those are the days where the triumph of just getting being dressed, smiling, or picking up a pencil, that is success . Personally, as someone who expects a lot of myself, despite the limitations…  I am mumbling in my own ear here too!

Take a moment to consider the swan, to get where we need to be, to glide through it seemingly without effort, takes a lot of planning, lipstick, tears, tantrums, and support from other people. We are who we are, and our battle scars are our proof of our strength, not our ugliness.

vintage mother

The beautiful but wonky make up on that old lady we dismiss as inappropriate, might have cost all her pension. And the strange thing is, without your voice, yacking on about other people, your head goes quiet. You stop thinking they are doing the same to you. They become potential friends (well, most-…..you should still exercise your instincts !) This post is for a friend who has recently undergone similar cancer treatment and is feeling a little wibbly. M- you are amazing, brave, strong, and beautiful. You are more sparkly with your battle scars and you can do this.

As for me…..You can judge me all you like, but it is a nice thing to know that finally, I won’t be judging myself. !

Liz xx

Studio

 

closet-office-space-6-870x520

Recently I was involved in a post discussion on Women in The Arts Scotland and it was a wonderful insight into what makes the perfect studio. My friend forwarded me the link again so I could join in again and I was embarrassingly slow at responding for the following reasons;

i like work

I am completely O.C.D when it comes to my work space. She will probably verify that actually   having been at Edinburgh Art college with me.. many moons ago. Some of our peers were able to create wherever their paintbrush landed , and make art out of the air they breathed. Alas I was not one of them. There were always too many things to think about and put together first, ideas to note   down, and drawings to sketch, projects to plan.  Ha ha,. But that was just the beginning… there was also the desk to get right! The materials to purchase.. the stationery or paint to buy ( Oh how wonderful are new art supplies!?! The desk or studio to rearrange, the coffee or ( At art college probably-beer!) to arrange artfully..- I’m being honest here…

blue brush tins

Back then I thought I was a bit wierd, and kicked myself for taking so long to start stuff, but now I think, those little quirks were important, and helped create the right atmosphere or feeling , and I did make a lot of art too!!! How we wish we could mentor our younger selves and tell them how well we are doing!!

vintage hug

And knowing what you like and need to create is a really important part of your creative world and journey. You can’t expect yourself to cook in a kitchen with no ingredients or pots. Why would art or craft be any different? It should be a multi sensory thing.. make it feel as wonderful as possible.. add a sprinkling of music, of soft rugs ,or a huge armchair. Make it warm. Make it cold if that’s your thing.  As long as eventually you get it to a point where you find your comfy spot!! I believe now that anyone can feel the joy of making.. something..  but if the space and feeling are right first!

fluffy socksSo now.. fast forward 23 years…. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! How did that happen? And I would appear to be at it still. Only now.. instead of one space.. it is three !! When we first moved to the house, I tried a variety of different combinations of studio and work spaces , which had to work around keeping an eye on a small person and being functional on a cold day, if body parts were particularly painful..

Things will inevitably move about again, but I have shuffled things into the space(s) that work best for this person, at this moment!

The caravan is both an office ( when weather permits) as well as a weekend retreat! It has  been decoupaged and chalk painted and has enjoyed the odd roll of vintage effect fablon.. This space feels very clean and organised! It is a great room for conjuring up ideas and playing music to annoy the neighbours xx

Inside the house, the spare room, is also a making room for sewing, and less messy pursuits! It is going to be impossible to be outside on cold days when my legs and hands are already blue! So I doubled the desk space , using a leftover kitchen counter scrap.

octobart 050

My actual studio is in a perfect spot.. you can see the sea from the window.. This was always my dream. For five years, I thought about seeing the sea.. even a little bit from a desk as you painted.  In my old house we cut a hole in the hedge and stuck a hollowed out piece of tree trunk in it as a window.. so there was a view of sorts.. ( and a cat bed) But I held this dream close and kept our goal..

This little hut is quiet and feels like I can make creative mess there that can’t be done in the house.. But it is a little small and nobody else can get in there with me and make  art too! So with the last few pennies found down the back of the sofa.. there is a new project about to start…

There will be an exciting new addition to the hut family soon! So a re-jigging and a re-purposing of current art hut as a proper summer house .. Hopefully by Christmas, I will be able to re-post this with the new baby! I can’t wait to show you. We will be finally closer to Liz at The Beach Hut and a venture we can share xxxxx!!

Liz xx

 

 

Three T’s

Tea-and-Toast1.jpgI think There’s a perfect time of day for everybody . Mine happens to be at five in the morning , much to my best friend’s horror when she heard my alarm go off when she stayed the night . In your magical time , your brain works best , your meds might be at their peak if that’s relevant ! Or your children might be sleeping ! ( oh yes … for most that’s a really important factor!) caffeine might be slowly inking its way like a 

 snake through your veins and the momentum to create, in your own chosen way is right there ready and waiting … I think this time is so precious . I really don’t like sleeping in , I feel cheated of my shuffling time . During this hour I can be known to do any of the following: paint furniture ( in front of a box set or drama on tv) write on here, catch up with posts and photos on our facebook sites lizatcreate and lizatthebeachhut after a community class, do the mum stuff that’s so good to get out the way before they wake up, and generally potter about feeding animals and doing whatever the opposite of unwinding is … 

sunrise 

But it’s more than that . It’s the mind stuff I like too . Being able to organise your thoughts and let a bit of intuition in , wander on a Facebook spaghetti path not knowing what blog or post you’ll end up being drawn to . It’s nice just to be, just to see what you’ll discover you’ll like to discover next ! Click on an audio , see what your pals are doing and learn things . Sometimes it’s when you sit down and just make or write . But I think if you put pressure on having to do a particular thing it won’t be enjoyable ……The whole point of T time is that it should be un-criticised by anyone, or be a list of chores like the rest of life . Be ready .. Have things in a box nearby just in case the urge comes over you during Eastenders!bd66d7ed9de4ab889f9c24abc6819f96--writers-shelves

( clearly I speak from experience ! )  I also find it’s good to do two things at once – like listen to a story on BBC iplayer radio drama at the same time as painting, or have half an eye on a film and decoupage your cupboard .. this has the unlikely result of absorbing all your senses , stopping you from thinking about crap and allowing you to relax into the task at hand .

You also remember the programme/ film etc through the creation every time you look at it . I remember a great rendition of Dorian gray , I watched , every time I see a particular painting I did for an exhibition. Association  .

This is also a good feed-your -brain -in -the -bath -time . Make the bath of your choice with all the usual shenanigans . Personally I find baths hard , ( but British showers are worse !) And I persevere for the peace I get . She hates the bath rack . It falls in the bath when she’s playing with her toys too splashily!! . But , it is great to hold a book on a wire rack , and has a thingy for a plate of toast . I’d leave the tea on the side of your bath if you model is like mine, we don’t want tea scalding injuries and more hospital visits !! And then  , read 10 pages of something wonderful that grows your mind !! In whatever direction you get drawn to at the library or bookshop .

hygge bath

There is so much to learn , and so many paths to choose . But it is so important to know what you do and don’t want in your head right now ( tomorrow can wait) … if history , politics, the worlds endangered elephants isn’t what your focus is today .. switch off a bit from that and you can still be a  decent person, directing your precious energy into what you’re interested and good at . 

Sometimes I don’t watch the news because it’s too much . But The world doesn’t stop , I haven’t changed how much I care , I won’t stop caring and I’ll catch up on important things . The tides will turn , the moon will swap places with the sun again . We’re not here long so I’m going to carve out those precious times and make them nice.  Give yourself three t’s occasionally..

Time , Tea and Toast .xxxx

Thank you B.F.F. XX

 

liz and leah

This little kitten is the person I am most proud of in the world . It isn’t always easy being her I’m sure , but we do have an awful lot of fun . Since the day she was born, after a long long long time and a lot of surgery and complications .. let’s just leave it there … she and I have felt like a team, and I feel it wouldn’t be right to do this page without thanking her .

So , despite the normal tantrums, tiaras, tears, meltdowns, moods and many many small plastic accessories , copious fluffy toys and inevitable grumps and grumbles  .. here’s a celebration of my partner in crime and the reason we can currently do what we do . Recognised as a young carer, she sometimes has to be that bit more grown up and I love the balance of hilarity we also get to have too . I know you’re not meant to say your kids are your best friend , but she is a pretty amazing  person . She’s kind and brave and has a huge heart .

She sometimes has to push a wheelchair, or a supermarket trolley, or help with picking things up that migrate south , and she mostly does it without question ! At times when there is anger over these things for her , there is soon after,  genuine love, compassion and an honest wish to be a team. I am so proud of the human being she is becoming , the way that the lessons life is throwing at her are developing her into someone with confidence, sparkle, wit and strength ,whilst still being very much a child , playing and running wild in the fields with her friends.

vintage mother

I love you so much  sweetheart and you are the fairydust in everything we do. You were put here , not to be my helper but to remind us all of how kind people can be and how to be a friend  , I cant wait to see what adventures we will get up to next.

All my love . Your mummy . xxx