Winter months are a good time to reset, remember, revisit and recollect. So often, when we feel it’s an uninspired time, we sweep aside how full the journey has been to get to where we are now. Discover again your forgotten gems, past achievements and unrequited ideas. And wherever you may be right now, keep your creative journey alive. Here are a few things done by yours truly over the years, from craft fairs, community Arts, Artwork and classroom teaching . Determination to keep making and to inspire and be inspired by others continues to be the best medicine I can find for chronic pain ! A snapshot so far
Between rest and rain the words come,
and drawn lines stroke my page.
Though chimneys howl and waves are fierce
your colours block their rage.
I thank you friends for sharing ways
to open up your hearts
your palette of our friendship
your gestures, lines and marks.
Catch your worries, leave them
unwind slowly, shut the door.
throw the clock out, see your hands move
see what’s not been seen before.
No-one’s watching, it is magic,
Doesn’t matter where you start.
Looking, laughing, making memories,
Making joy and Art.
Thankyou so far you fabulous Artists for being my inspiration! xxx
Hello everyone and welcome to your tour. ! As you can’t come to us, we thought we would bring Skye Blue House to you and share a little of our world and various Art Spaces. In the three years since we have lived here, we have transformed every inch of our little kingdom. And in Summer, the window of opportunity to be outdoors is small. So celebrate we must.
Firstly, our vintage caravan. Crammed full of shabby chic, enamel picnic wear, cosy rugs and blankets and simple magazines, perfect for inspirational ideas while you’re drinking tea under the fairy lights.
When we came here, there was just a square of garden. Now three years on, we have two apple, a pear and a cherry tree, various acers, a willow, rowan and a multitude of flowers and plants bursting through every bed and border. My impatience for planting outweighs my knowledge of each specamin, but I instinctively plant, feed and nurture them and something is working. You can clearly flourish without knowing all the rules sometimes. . This period of time we are currently living through; a timetable without limits and these few months of a little more warmth on the body, has enabled re-painting of some of the murals and colourful paths here. Most of these are done with shed paint. I favour cuprinol for its intense colours. (But other garden paint is available!) It might not last forever , but if the look you favour is slightly weathered, that’s fine! I have been fortunate to have a friend make me some sturdy bin, log holders, gate and seats. Wood is far more coast friendly than metal.
And it isn’t just humans and animals that have somewhere to live here. Parallel to our kingdom is the fairy one. In amongst the alpine plants are tiny houses, tables and chairs, a beach, a church, even a circus… And when the lights go down at night….
No paint is safe here… Odds and ends can be used in various ways, but this time, the scraps went to create a garden Art chair, out of an old bedraggled child’s armchair.
As our galleries aren’t open just now, there was a slight issue with storage and trip hazards of pictures all over the place.. my sticks, speedy 11 yr olds and ploddy dogs. Solution? Build a gallery in your shed. This space was a camp last week, but the thought there MIGHT be a spider in there was enough to prevent it ever being used as one by it’s young owner. So mum, ever ready with a plan, presents to you… The First of our galleries. This one is called Rose Cottage, Named After Mopsie (my Grandmother’s) house. Next, will be a real one hopefully!
In the larger of the beach huts, there is both space to work alongside someone else as well as a space to sleep. It is only really a summer space as it gets so cold and windy here on the cliff, and I find it harder to be outdoors after October. But here are all the beach hut donations given to us by our mysterious annual gifter. Every Summer, new arrivals appear for the Beach hut lady, by a collector of beach hut paraphernalia. And are extremely welcome and well loved.
This is our garden room hut. Memories are everywhere here, peeping through from between pages in vintage books and in drawers and print blocks. Childhood games and gifts, tiny treasures and letters. A most relaxing hidden gem. This room beckons you in and keeps you here for hours.. Anyone who has ever read an Angela Carter novel will get this space.
I did the same as a child in the dappled light of Mopsie’s garden.
Suspend your sensible mind for long enough to have some fun with your things, while you have this time . Look closer. Who knows what or who you’ll find. xxx
Shhhhhh. The thing is.. even though grown ups pretend to know EVERYTHING; you know, and I know and they know really, that you are the ones that have the best ideas.
Right now, everyone is wondering about a lot of stuff. Have you noticed? Looking around, with a confused expression, checking the cupboards a lot.. opening the fridge door…… even more… taking the dog out for so many walks he’s hiding in the airing cupboard…
This woman has been there for three weeks….
Your parents don’t know what else to entertain themselves with.. Give them a wee hug. If you’re in the house anyway, it’s ok. Look them in the eye and tell them you’ve got this entertainment business sorted, and you love them…
Let them do that stuff that normally annoys you …..
…keeps them quiet….
Now here are some cool ideas to help your parents de-stress over the holidays. Just do not tell them it might be fun. ANY mention of doing something which doesn’t involve bleaching their taps and ironing their pants will FREAK them out. TELL them it is for you, That will show them….
Right….. you might need some serious motivational tools…..
And some serious checking out of what there is stashed away.
1 Bottle Sculptures
Start collecting washing up or washing liquid bottles .
To cover the bottle and build up the layers, tear up old newspapers, mix 50% pva glue with 50% mixed water to make the glue.
Before you start, bunch up a newspaper head into a ball, cut cardboard arms, wings or feet. stick these on with masking tape. Paper mache your whole sculpture with three layers of newspaper. If you are lucky enough to have modroc. Use this next. But this is just an extra idea.
To decorate, use the same technique to add coloured tissue paper layers on top. You can create any character by adding detail with more pieces of card and old jewellery, wire wrapped with wool and pieces of plastic covered in your paper layers. Paint details on with acrylic paint and varnish if you have it. Things to remember, glue guns are fabulous to use, but you are going to have to keep this out of reach of all adults, as they are clumsy with hot things and they get very messy .
While your art is drying , there are LOADS of things you can listen to online which make your brain get HUGE . Grown -ups hate this because it means you’ll be cleverer than them.. TedTalks for kids have lots of good stuff. BBC audio have stories and music. Sometimes, it is nice just to hear things in the background while we get on with interesting things we need our eyes for !
2 Grow a family of Cress Heads
Rummage around for some lentils, cress, mung beans. Empty out some cooked egg shells after lunch.. Very very carefully. Put some cotton wool in the base with some water in it. Sprinkle your beans or seeds on the cotton wool. Carefully design your family’s faces with features and stick on eyes . In a couple of days, their hair should start to grow, and you can cut and eat it. Brownie points on the healthy food score too.
3 Paper Dolls.
All adults think they know how to do this…. why not test them on it?
4 Washing Line Tents
Plonk your picnic blanket under the washing line. Fold a sheet Probably not a Tk- Maxx Egyption cotton zillion thread one….add in cushions, snacks, and lastly either the odd human, or failing that, animals or teddy bears.
5 Use what you have
We all know you’ve got some school stuff to do . Maybe not for the holidays but afterwards you’ll need to keep your brain ticking. Try really hard to get a good chunk done in the morning. Are those Adults trying to look everything up on computers? Doh. ! I bet you’ve got tons of cool books already with interesting ideas and things to do. Do you know there was a time between dinosaurs and now.. where we looked at books to find stuff out 🙂 Impress the oldies with your vintage methods…
6 Invite everyone to lunch
Ask what food is available to use and what you can safely prepare. Make a menu and get them to tidy their bedrooms while you make the tea!
This was my daughter’s invention…
7 Nature Study
Everybody has these kinds of books. And on your walk, in your garden or if you can get to the beach; start to look at things around you as if you were a scientist. Make drawings, write down where you find things, what they looked like, press flowers, make small collections of shells and find out what they are called . Be mindful of not taking home any creature’s house, or picking flowers (other than one or two wild ones if there are hundreds in a clump)
8 Sleep upside down or in a Box
A change is as good as a rest! This activity incorporated playing in a box, hugs and animals. Boxes are good fun for millions of things, so keep any that arrive from online stuff….
Pop up a tent and look up stars online.. only eat white food and chocolate.. only walk backwards, have a pyjama day and invent a new language…
9 Make a mobile
Use the same techniques as the bottle sculptures. For this you’ll need cardboard, sticks or driftwood, wire, pva/water mix, masking tape, white acrylic paint to make a base coat, coloured acrylics and any sparkly top layers. Don’t forget to make little metal loops for hanging your shapes on your string or wires. Balance the weight of shapes equally each side.
10 Use tiny toys in a picture
Could you re- purpose some of those annoying little toys that get in the hoover? Make a display case, glue them to a canvas and add some paint or make a photo frame. Your feet will thank you…..
And lastly ..
11 Revamp your wardrobe
If you are lucky enough to have a sewing machine about, learn to use it. Anything will be easier than your what your distant relatives had to use.
Be careful. Don’t let your parents use it if they have had wine. Insist on hand sewing only in that case.
This is a piece of time which will pass. You will be a bit taller, your clothes will be a bit smaller, you will be a little fed up but a lot wiser and everyone will be a little bit more grateful for the normal things we love.
You will march out there into the world in clothes you’ve revamped yourself, showing off art you’ve created, talking about books you’ve read and having made the most of this unusual time.
And you have to keep reminding those big people that they are too xx
Pumpkin tastic. Well, he has now had his modelling debut, having been a life model at our Coldingham Art class, delighting everyone with his ability to be hypnotised whilst lying on his back with his feet in the air. Yep, who knew ? … He has been my pet therapy whilst waiting for treatment.. oh did Iforget to check that I moved to 1940where the idea that health conditions are swiftly and painlessly fixed ?…. and he is my best pal when my 11 year old isn’t speaking to me.. (every other ten minutes… What’s that I hear you say…. expect that to last for the next ten years….. ) A guinea pig has pools for eyes , a devotion unsurpassed and a craving only for snuggles, a carrot chunk and fresh hay.. if ONLY men were that easy…
‘Pumpkin’ by Alan Simmons
Pumpkin has decided he wants to comment on the recent portraits of him…
By eating them…
Last year I spent more time making original artwork than I had in years. Partly because I was stuck at home, or in hospital, but also because the time was more mine again, with a slightly bigger small person, and the inspiration flowed.
I was delighted to be asked to be included as one of the artists at Artisans at serendipity in Berwick. The range of my artwork is now being made as cards, and there are selected posters and art prints. I also have beach bags and little treasure boxes for your beach finds. We are using funds from Art sales to fund our Sea Sparkle enterprise. Which in the first instance needs to be a van. To carry equipment to venues with access and also because it is harder and harder to lift and carry all the stuff .
Oh yes.. we plan to do this in style.. If anyone has a spare camper lurking anywhere?
Currently .. this is the problem!!!
Without help both ends, and storage at venues, we are pretty stuck…
Pop into the shop, over the next two months to see Artwork, or contact me by email for any details of things going on firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately our last art class space, which was perfect for disabled access, and had storage is no longer in existence! Thankyou to Fiona and Susan the Splash team for hosting us last year. It was a great venue while it lasted x
It was important to keep a link through winter, available and organic for makers to access. gathering around the fire, amongst friends, is a lovely way to enrich your skills, keep sane in the months where some folk can become a little isolated, and share nice food.
Thanks Sarah.. this kept her quiet for a whole ten minutes!!
We are always richer than we think when surrounded by good friends.
Below are more detailed pics of the stock made throughout the last year
And a little of the mess it takes to create it!! Sometimes the belief that something beautiful will come from a pile of bits of paper being sat on by animals has to be pretty strong. ….
Meanwhile during the day the day the fight continues to stay afloat and keep Skye Blue house, five animals, and us healthy.
If I never have to waste my sore hand on a complaint ever again it will be too soon..But someone has to stand up. A year has gone by and we are now back to a different health board..
Good job prescriptions are free…..
Happy Imbolc dear ones. Join us in our group or stop by to say hello
There have been a few signs of life in the garden, a couple of snowdrops, Christmas roses and the bulbs are starting to shoot. Even being outside for ten minutes and smelling the earth makes you feel connected . ( And gathering the furniture upended against the studio door with the howling winds hurling them around at night.) Good job the chicken hutch is heavy. !
We are busy rehearsing for Eyemouth Variety Performance of Wizard of Oz in March. Tickets go on SAle very soon. Occasions in Eyemouth.
I don’t claim to be an expert in anything but the contents of my own head and an awful lot of creative seeds…
Here at the Beach Hut we make a real effort to rise above negativity that can impact day to day, because we are about being bigger than what life throws at us and using our creative superpowers, when our bodies are being temperamental.
Unusually, twice this week, my daughter and I have directly heard some unkind and less than charitable comments regarding our creative hub and our enterprise..
Apparently taking photos means you don’t love people, having a colourful life means you are bonkers, and we are all doomed…Oh dear…… Best put the brushes away then….
The enormous effort to not only provide a lovely life for a child after a horrendous journey to get there, to co-ordinate a community enterprise, create artwork, maintain a home, nurture animals and cope with disability is pretty flipping challenging .. on a sunny day. But add in any unwanted factor- the cold, pain, new disease, deteriorating movement, and it gets impossible. Sorry- we won’t tolerate nasty little stings.
Joy is found more readily and genuinely in the little things if you are limited in your mobility or circumstances. Loving life and each other , and giving back that joy without counting a tally isn’t up for debate. When you really need an adopted family you might be glad you did.
Creating something new, making your canvas and your garden takes time, trust and patience. And keeping your focus on the magic at the end takes an almighty sense of both self, and belief in something bigger than yourself, (whatever that is for you) Your process might not make sense to everybody. It doesn’t have to.
Creating, seeing things grow, making new from old and learning new skills, dress up our failing and tender bodies with layers of brightly coloured jewelled silks and help us float about like the real artists we knew we were all along!! .
Many days have tested endurance to the absolute limit. Pushing past fatigue so strong all you want to do is sleep. When you are on the floor with exhaustion and you can’t move your limbs.. well you can at least sit in your hospital bed, plan world domination and doodle.
Your support network might think you are off your rocker but the laughing isn’t at you
Kindness and cruelty to others have one thing in common, both can spread like Summer weeds in the right circumstances and create a huge impact on everything in their path.
But even a few weeds can be pretty. A garden is always full of all kinds of hidden gems.. a bit like a community. And even the smallest contribution can be worthwhile.The magic is in the mix.
If you’re lucky you’ll grow a few extra special orchids..
Having been quite unwell since November and still having mega hospital appointments, it has been a tough few months, of uncertainty, pain and exhaustion . But, I am still able to do what we do – to create magical community events for charity, build fairy gardens, sing in the choir and push the last strands of energy in my daft body to bring a hilarious splashy inky splatty under the sea art experience to eight year olds in our art club, or support adults with mental health issues because it is brings true joy and because I have helpers. This domino of positivity helps me, all our makers, and the ripple effect of wellbeing for each family that they are encouraged to hold onto. It’s not just glitter.
All of these things experiences are non- profit, and completely possible only with the help of a ton of friends and volunteers. From small people pebble painting, friends offering gardening, and loads of donations of materials and hours of volunteering in the art club. And this month that help is extended to hospital lifts, after school babysitting and offers of putting pets to bed while we go away on a long awaited trip to enjoy some Summer heat. … I have so far this month agreed to two separate charity events, helped at another, handed out fresh chicken eggs to a few neighbours, agreed to a put together a new village help directory and lunched over a meeting of our fabulous upcoming Eyemouth Art Trail .. and fed most of the village in our garden in a Summer Tea party to say thank-you for our first two years here. .
Communities need each other. Sharing skills, ideas and being greater than the sum of its parts. Like an aging body, there are still things that each of us can do and swap for another gift we aren’t so good at.
This may sound very obvious but it is as simple as a practicing saying hello and not expecting to give away a bit of yourself in the process.
Enabling others to connect with the skills they have, share yours. Be the tribe you want to be in. Give as much as you are able and that you can balance with what you need to thrive.
In contrast, like spreading sunshine, the ancient pastime of muck-spreading still continues in many rural communities, and not just in the fields.
Thankfully, it is on the wane, as there is too much potential to share and achieve with other like-minded individuals, in person and online- no matter what your interest… Seaside communities have to work together to create strong bones, to hold their bodies together in the long tourist free winters. Many events, groups and activities cross pollinate in a delightful way and supporting each other’s causes can grow friendships, networks and future potential.
If we give people a chance, we can unearth the most unlikely and gorgeous friendships
Us humans are generally all a bit wonky, and for some of us these differences show more than others
We carry our emotional shopping bag stuffed full of conditioned thoughts, programmed responses to new things, and reasons why connection is BAD We hear familial ancestral voices, backing up these notions, from generations past and accept it as fact. But, unless we challenge these perceptions, nothing will ever change. Allowing ourselves to be kind, allows us to accept it back from others. We can choose to walk away from the undeserved or unprovoked snarl once in a while. Hurt people hurt people. But it is perfectly ok to have a limit . You can’t fix everyone. And as a random cross section of people thrust together into a town or village environment, it would be mad to think you would like everything or everybody. Tolerance and patience are key, keeping your mind free for getting on with better things.
Be an expert on what you love. Only then can people know what they love you for. Keep the kettle on and don’t set fire to bridges.. limiting the support available if you really need someone is not a great plan.
Spread sunshine not gossip, Gotta love your neighbour…
There are cracks we can’t fill , but they don’t need to be all we see.
Let’s take our big stompy wellies on adventures…
Because you don’t need to tread on someone else’s garden. No matter how full of weeds your own might be
I was a little taken aback recently. It was just a few words, but you know how they can be. Little bowling balls aimed in the right direction striking misery into our well crafted lives and crushing our faith and confidence.
Same things different decade same hope that being would be enough.
Only difference now is, I know it is enough. And always was.
This is my daughter and our dog . They had just won sixth prize for waggiest tail and smiliest eyes in a country dog show.. ( the dog not the child) They were the happiest creatures in the world and I cried like an idiot seeing them jumping up and down with pleasure..
It was just pure joy.. My pride for her was physical. As lovely as ice cream.
This is her winning entry for the Borders Art Fair, kid’s Art competition. (Bit of a theme here) and same utter pride and pleasure in their success…
Taking pride in anything we have courage to do, should be shouted from the rooftops. Happiness in our achievements can be celebrated in a whisper or a scream but should always feel deserved. When you find it, remember to feel it, snapshot the moment, breathe it in and keep it close. I loved that there was such delight in 6th prize. As they had stood in line patiently waiting for any colour of rosette, watching other dogs take the stage, having any colour at all was perfect. There is plenty of time for being competitive in life. As human beings we spend our lives comparing ourselves. How lovely it was to simply be rewarded for being.
Friends. Use your imagination and energy for one thing and one thing only….. being colourfully creative.. Everything else is a waste of time.
On countless occasions recently I have seen and felt the aftermath of hyped- up imaginations going on overdrive and wreaking needless havoc for non-existent problems and comparing lives, pointlessly. Why is it so hard to believe that there are still people worth believing in? Why do we see a set of beautiful paint colours and insist on meddling it into sludgy brown.
Seriously. Are we looking for reasons to prove the world is flat?
Stop talking about each other and talk to each other. Appreciate that there are things you won’t understand about everyone and that we all have failings but leave theirs alone. Gaps don’t need filling in every silence.
Our spiralling thoughts can be our own worst enemy.
Damaging potentially gorgeous life experiences with questions and doubts.
Especially if they loop into the weave of things which are not of our control. Or things which are none of our business.
Believe that you matter.
This doesn’t mean you don’t care for those that you love and care for. But absorbing the weight of everyone’s problems without first knowing that you are ok, will leave you without a shield and that doesn’t help anyone. Sometimes people aren’t ready to know your stuff without bringing theirs to the table first. You won’t know this until you start talking, so choose your tribe wisely giving yourself permission to edit when people ask how you are. This is another reason for self expression through any activity which gets your fury out.. get digging in earth, get dancing, get making. But don’t get lost in the rejection you get if you don’t get heard. It’s not because you didn’t shout loudly enough. It just fell on deaf ears.
Perhaps enabling your troup with a balance of expression, nurturing and inspiration is a good start. when I was told recently that not everyone could be as positive as me, I didn’t get the chance to say this. “Nobody is positive all the time. Pain kinda does that. So does being a mum to an interestingly expressive wonder-child. But we are learning together our route through this chapter. And actually, what we doall have is a choice to go ahead or go under.”
And to be able to survive both your own path and help other people, be very careful of judging those who always have your back. You never know when you’ll need each other most.. A good team is crucial. They are sometimes unexpected and wonderful.
Be the enlightened creative version of you. Float above the dramas created by those on your path, tempting your attention and energy. People may be a bit confused by your apparent refusal to absorb their barbs but.. its a destination choice not your forever home …
You must consider how best to serve your best self.. your imaginative wonderful creative self. The one that if you were the best parent ever, you would be advising yourself to be. Make stuff. Do stuff, meet up with other people and then scoop up the ones who need your help and find out what you can achieve that you were always told you couldn’t. To help others do the same. Also, in answer to the previous question, I know that positivity is contagious. That every single one of the brilliant people we come into contact with in our classes, are closer to being able to help others, and by knowing that, are stepping out of behavioral patterns tying them to medication or worse. We are building far more than a portfolio.
And that gets us all out of bed.
All we ever have is ourselves and our unique gifts.
Seeing you thrive, develop, be your most colourful self is what your family and circle of friends (should) want for you.
Setting you up for your own adventures…
It is a joy to get older and wiser, accruing and cementing values and idiosyncrasies If we waste our time picking holes in what other people are doing, saying, thinking, wearing, watching, reading, painting, believing, what are we giving up in return?
The freedom of peaceful non judgemental thoughts?..
And the right not to be judged in return.
Our life is like a story. Each chapter unfolds as we go. Some chapters are harder and longer than others and seem to go on for ever. If we use up our precious reserves of energy by fuelling animosities and looking for reasons why other’s are failing; our focus shifts away from the story we are in.
And the stories we are telling with our hands, hearts and voices aren’t nearly as much fun as what we could be getting up to..
I have this weird and indescribable belief that there is a truth, and a reason to do what we do. Nothing to do with religion or karma, but an instinct which is strong enough to keep us safe, fed and moving through each dark passage. It is the picture in our heads we keep safe until we get there. And it works.
Believe you are worth something wonderful, that your burning desire to make and write and grow another world for people to smile at, is why you are here. It isn’t easy for someone unhappy to let you live that life. In the hope that you’ll pop back in your neat little box and cause no embarrassment , they might pick away at you until you stop, or ignore you completely.
Ill health and joint immobility have done their usual over winter, and still we are in limbo with several surgical procedures to come..
But as we drove away on a recent epic drive, which was both long and painful, surrounded by cushions and in an automatic car.. my awesome daughter reminded me that this wasn’t the moment to simply survive, but to flourish. We channelled a flourish for 600 miles..
And that’s the thing.. if you’re going to be in pain, better to (where possible) try and distract yourself by not being alone, try and create at least some memories despite what the Gods have shoved in your face… The things we do can be ploughed through , enjoyed or celebrated and rejoiced for the happiness they give us. Life isn’t a list. It’s a chance. People fortunate enough to be on your path, your offspring, your friends.. they are lucky to have you, your crazy colours, your big heart..
and all your creations !!
So me and my dawg and our arthritic paws will carry on being positive . Who knows which one of us will get a waggy tail prize next time .
There is a feeling of inadequacy in certain circles if you aren’t going at a rate of knots and cramming as many experiences and selfies in as you can , you aren’t doing life properly .
On holiday in Spain recently, madam and I watched as Montserrat was viewed , not in awe through the eyes and ears of its spectators , but through a couple of thousand phone lenses . In the cathedral chapel , a precious choir of Angelic boy’s voices , who only sing for a few moments per day in solemn and beautiful prayer was drowned out in clicks and buzzes as the stretched out arms of selfie sticks , rose above the crowds to ‘capture ‘the magic .
Once sated, the crowd , en- masse, shuffled into each other to escape , whilst the singing was still continuing, and began queuing for their next picture … to kiss a statue .
It’s true .
There were very few who were actually really there .
So it made me think about how we have to be more than tourists in our lives . There are moments everywhere to be appreciated and knock us out in wonder, to balance out the worst (in most… ) situations, if we look hard enough: and trust in something bigger than ourselves .
Some of you will know that my small person can struggle with certain emotions, as a young carer and just generally .. !!! I recently posted this on my fb page :
………So today I was at my at my wits end.. a strop from madam , whilst I was in the wheelchair , her refusing to move … lashing out at the wheels , quite quite horrible and embarrassing , at a sacred site in the rain …😫… oh dear … but ….. tonight 💕an elderly Irish man came up to us at dinner and said .. I just wanted to tell you both how amazing , and brave and inspiring you are. ( he got a kiss ) and a little faith and equilibrium was restored . When the chips are down , even if one person sees things, and your loved ones the way you can … well .. that’s enough for me ♥️♥️♥️ xxx
I posted this, not to receive the ..(very, very appreciated !!) comments, but to remind myself that I had substance still. I was more than the sum of my legs in a wheelchair or on crutches, and wasn’t an ‘imperfect’ parent because I couldn’t do what other parents (look like) they can do. And to notice that moment and celebrate it. I may never see that man again, but his kindness will stay with us always.
I had got us to Spain for heaven’s sake and up a mountain in a cable car . Maybe the disco would have to wait until I get some new joints, but there is always a way to have fun.
We stayed to hear the choir, whilst being bumped and jostled . It was incredible .
Fruit is clearly made for making faces.. and at home we watch as our starling feeds his wife and babies at our kitchen window ( and someone else’s babies too I think ! )
And we will carry on noticing when nice things are happening under our noses .
You are lucky . You might not know why yet . In an art class recently one of my wonderful group was making a word picture . I asked him to think of his favourite person . I wasn’t expecting it to be me. I was humbled that the couple of hours given to my group had netted me that honour. Every day someone might see you in that way.
Remembering that you might be the only person someone sees today and something you say to them might wake them from their doldrums or turn their world on its axis .. simply by you noticing them ..it’s a powerful reason to notice your own good qualities and the small but wonderful things only you can do .
Many of our community classes love to see their artwork on line and celebrated on our Facebook pages . It is lovely to see finished projects and pull together a series of finished art projects .
But sometimes people and classes need to be quiet.
Contemplative……………, of the moment and about the moment …………. Some days photos aren’t needed. Some days the process and the company is enough, and provides a safe and assured space to just be . Some artwork never goes on the wall .
It’s enough to be fully in a moment and record that moment it in a way that will stay in your heart – in whatever makes the most sense to you. I love a good selfie, and you know I am attached to my camera like a third arm! But for us, they capture more than a pose … Our pictures capture all the patch-worked fragments of the magic we couldn’t paint / photograph or write about at that time. And when we see those pictures they will come with a soundtrack and a sensory record of what daft conversations or creative experiments we were in the middle of.
Share everything you feel you want to, never let it feel repetitive, but most importantly, slow each precious moment down to a snails pace for future joyous repeat performances.
Every day I feel the need to apologise for something or other.. Usually for reasons I have conjured up from my perception of other people’s feelings..
No idea why!! But We ALL do it..
It’s human, and so so tedious!! We spend our lives being good parents, friends, work colleagues and children, and most of us strive to do good in the world. Yet, somehow, all the wonderful, creative, kind, selfless things have bypassed our self -back -patting buttons and our focus crashes into… the slightly odd conversation with the distracted friend we met..(Must be our fault), the letter we haven’t written yet, the cupcakes the school expect, the dust not swished, the family feud not resolved..
Negative voices get in the way of a peaceful existence. That’s a little bit of a waste of precious head space.
In my work as community artist and in mental health, I have seen firsthand how quickly negative self talk can destroy our abilities to function, let alone create. We can literally paralyse ourselves.
The creative process works best when our brains are free to explore and intuit, rather than stiffly attempting to produce under the harsh scrutiny of our own, or another’s glare.
For most of us, this inner critic began in the classroom when we decided at five or six that we couldn’t draw, and this belief became conditioned in us from an early age. We were then categorized in school and out into bands or grades, creating was about ‘having-to’ draw like a photograph or else you were rubbish at art.
It is wonderful to be able to draw, and to acquire the patience, dexterity and focus to copy a photograph. But not everybody can do that.
It is clever to be clever and intellectual and have such great ideas that corporations pay huge amounts for concepts and installations.. But rarely do artists make livings producing and sustaining these works, and not everybody understands (or chooses to) understand them… There is a lot of Art out there….
There is a feeling surrounding ‘making’ that it is an exclusive domain of the already talented. However, Being at peace, Creating Art and learning craft skills are not mutually exclusive. They are all very much interlinked and they are your tools to learning how to communicate a, to yourself and b, to those around you.
Play first!! What our groups focus on is what young children do. To understand materials and explore the potential without judgement or (and most importantly) without expectation of an end result. Letting the therapeutic experience of being amongst friendly people of different backgrounds, building confidence and leaving judgement and worries at the door.. Lets the creative genie in. And then anything might happen. There is teaching. There are exemplars and inspirations to follow if you want to. But it’s a choice and a starting point.
The blank sheet of paper metaphor for life is the stumbling point for so many creative and inspiring adventures we could take. Guilt for more worthy things instead, fear for not being good enough flank either side of our poor little brains.. Then we think…”What’s the point.”
Easier to dust…..
Except, you don’t make friends by dusting, or chat through the feelings you’re going through or learn something you might actually love doing and benefit from .
The first creative endeavors you twiddle with when you start exploring are never going to set the world on fire.. Who cares! Starting somewhere is the important part of the journey. I still have feelings of guilt every time I step into my studio. But here what I’ve learnt. Those feelings are normal, and ok because it means I care about the people in my life and I have a conscience. However…
What about… If you Feel the guilt and do it anyway….
I now know; that everyone in my life who matters and who has stayed with us on our journey/met us on the way understands that we (mini me and I) are as we are. Juggling disability/single-mumdom and life in the wilds/childhood traumas/village life and days where limbs don’t work. ……They know that our hearts are firmly on our sleeves, and we value our extended family of friends to the moon and back, so lapsed contact is usually for a good reason. I am getting better at sitting still occasionally, and not giving all my time/money/stuff away. Actually not leaving my artwork until I am too knackered to give it the attention it deserves; because I am realising that a guilt free, better-rested me, is able to ultimately create more authentically, and connect more deeply.
It is so worth challenging those guilty feelings and asking why and who makes you feel that way?
TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER… It is ok not to be glued to the demands of replying to other people by email or message. They chose to communicate at that moment.. You choose when/if you want to reply. Pick a time that suits to do that stuff and have a list, or you’ll get lost in technology land.
It is so so easy to get trapped inside your house. Even for the most confident person, self talk will flood in and take over. It is ok to be anxious after illness, but getting to a creative and easy going space will do wonders for your heart. SPEAK TO SOMEONE YOU FIND INTERESTING AND COMPLIMENT THEM. Immediately you are not defenceless, you are powerfully giving, and can save the world with your loveliness…Have no expectation other than to keep breathing…
TRY SOMETHING YOU FEEL DRAWN TO, NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS; There is a nagging thing in your head that you know you want to do. Do you really want to be wishing you’d tried in twenty years? If it’s your parent’s voice telling you not to.. (That’s a whole other post) but it’s their guilt/ fear and anxt they’ve passed to you… Feel the guilt and do it anyway, then stop feeling bad because ….nothing bad will happen (there are exceptions to this obviously… but I am assuming I have a certain calibre of audience!!)
Nobody has it perfect before they start.. If you wait until it all comes together before you step outside/breathe life into that project or plant that space… the day will keep magically getting further away. When we put our house up for sale last year, it sold in a week, we had 12 weeks to move a lifetime of home/teaching possessions , buy a house, ( we didn’t know where,) find the money for a mortgage and I wasn’t working as I had retired from my teaching job. I was literally winging it….It took an enormous amount of belief..
I felt a bit guilty. I had visions of having to saw my crutches in half to fit in the cardboard box I was certain me, my child, our dog and two cats would be living in!!
But I also had a massive amount of faith in it being ok. And it was in the end through sheer grit that we sunk everything into getting here and making it happen! Our friends are thankfully now able to visit an actual house and not a cardboard box, and one by one the have-to’s and musts are being zapped to make room for want-to’s and love-doings… I’ll post updated pictures next time. If you can think it… anything is possible. Pop the guilt balloon. Come and play. Share what makes you tick, and you might surprise everyone, not least yourself.