Cheese

Today I had to ask my friend what my blog was about.  It made me laugh. I found that summing up what we talk about in our classes and on here is too huge to put into a few sentences. When this started I thought it would be about  art, a little comment on arty things…

Image result for arty things

Hmmm ..

Over time we have chatted about so many things, and often anything  but the serious concept of ART.. most times, a bit like an art group, we go off on a huge, huge tangent and never get back to where we started. a bit like being with your pals in the pub or like the fluid chatter of children.

Image result for vintage talk

This blog isn’t about how to be the best artist or how to find out important political stuff. People get here because they find us, share us, become friends and become linked with our shared cornucopia of cauldrons boiling over with potions to try and help make human existence a tad easier.

If you can share what you learn with others , that makes life better.

.Image result for vintage bossy

SHHHH!!!!!!!!!. Don’t tell anyone. But actually, not everything you see / hear/ read/  on the internet is real.

Except on here obviously. xxx

Image result for vintage art

The best things in life are very simple

Stand still. See what is right in front of you. Be grateful for something every day, Appreciate your environment and your tribe of people, know you have your own back, even though some days don’t feel that easy…

marshall-bootstraps

The trick is to see that new and shiny is not always more beautiful..

Boots-with-Laces-border

Belief… dreams.. faith in tomorrow and a resolute refusal to be a piece of someone else’s jigsaw puzzle, whilst doing your best for those you care about… is the balance we aim to find.

This is a blog about whatever comes along that inspires us.Image result for inspiration

Decent thoughts are like decent people. At first they pop up fleetingly, like good fairies.. You can choose to ignore them, act against your better instincts and the flow, but like a good neighbour, if the process you are ploughing on with, is the one you might learn from.. it will tap you on the shoulder again and again. Which is very good, if like me when you write you are also multi-tasking seven thousand other jobs simultaneously.

Image result for vintage multi tasking

If you find people in your life like that, hold on them.Image result for vintage hug

So, I suppose this is a blog about all the best bits, which in this format we are fortunate to share. And some of the wisdom given to me to get us through the toughest times in our lives.

Image result for basket of good things

A good stuff hamper

A few words and pictures to sit down and have a cup of tea with. Some sparkly bits, some inspiration and an extra hand .

Image result for hand holding stars

A reason to star in your own movie, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Image result for look through vontage glasses

Be inspired and be creative, adding to your own vision and story . Use a journal, a sketchbook, paper pinned together or an online scrapbook. Having something tangible and in front of you is far more accessible though, and  you can work in a power cut.

It has taken me to .. eeeek a few years away from.. yes  actually… my 50th birthday to look at what I do and appreciate it. To get to a point where all the ideas, sketches, skills, and ideas are starting to form a pathway to something…….There was never a choice for me to give up.

I did well in art at school, but had no confidence. (I sold a lot of artwork and my entire degree show, so my grown up self is saying Why?????? ) But, life was dropping huge clangers on the path to creative freedom along the way and I also didn’t have anyone telling me some of the really important things I have since come to learn.

Image result for let it go

The experiences we have that shape us, are never wasted if they then become, someone else’s path to freedom.

Image result for i am me

When I was little and I started to sing, I was laughed at or sung over. I hid in my room and sang and drew, and rearranged the furniture, hoping that I would be seen. I held open days to show the new layout of my bedroom to my uninterested brother and parents. I felt like an invisible person.

octobart 032

I lost my voice for a long time . Or rather, I started something.. a beautiful painting, an idea, a conversation and lacked the strength of belief to see it til the end. The tapping on my shoulder of crushing depreciation or ridicule prevented strides being made into the unknown.

I stayed where it was safe.

Image result for veefling safe

When I spoke, I told myself I wouldn’t get to the end of my sentences. So I panicked half way through and then couldn’t finish what I was saying.

Image result for child not speaking

Later at Art college it was a whole new adventure, and I found my niche in felt-making and mixed media. I began to flourish with sales of new works, and commissions from my degree show and my first business Curious Creatures, was supported by the Princess Trust. But I found then, that working just on my own as an artist was never going to be enough.. being amongst people and sharing ideas was my best balance. And looking back, this window to grow my ideas and confidence was so brief given what was coming next..

A new, even more dangerous dragon was around the corner.. And this time.. fifteen years went by with virtually nothing leaving the house, including me.

This isn’t a sob story. It is my story. One human’s path. And it made me me. I fed my artwork baby. I kept my sketchbooks, my ideas and my heart somewhere safely tucked between the pages like a pressed leaf. And now my real (big) baby and I are safely in our Hansel and Gretel house.. those creative ideas as well as all their new friends can start to creep out and become real….oct-2018-049.jpg

One by one.

45192056_10156880583551869_985091074785542144_n

We are who and what we surround ourselves with. Maybe it takes a lifetime to know what makes us tick, but knowing who and what we like, what is good for us to be surrounded by, what draws us out of our shells, our bedrooms, our heads is fundamental.

Image result for vintage friends

Children already know . And we can find that magic again.  I am learning that gradually some people reach the same freedom when they leave relationships, work and sometimes outmoded belief systems behind. I wish I had a magic wand. I know a few people battling their own dragons, still singly quietly in their bedrooms.

Image result for like who you are

Believe that there is more. Keep going with your plans, and add to your good stuff hamper.

This blog is a scrapbook of all the incredible people we meet along the way. Some of the art we do, some of the stores we hear and what creations are born. And this is a blog about what you can achieve when you feel uninspired, tired, a bit rubbish and a bit lonely.

childhood-memories

When I started writing a few years ago,  I had assumed I was speaking to certain people in my life, and then anyone else that it reached was a bonus. The irony is that very few of those people read it. But, lots of other people do. And that is the lesson. That you can scream and shout and clutch your person’s arm to get them to notice you singing/ drawing acting out twelfth Night, but if it isn’t in their peripheral vision to see you.. walk away. And look at the queue of people you have somehow gathered around you who ARE listening to you. They are who matters. Thank you !

Image result for vintage row of toys

A blog about the cheese

Image result for stringy cheese

without the stringy bits..

 

Love Liz xx

What are we doing?

There are lots of types of Art. But even more types of Artists. As most people won’t be written about in a hundred years for their brush dexterity, what is the point of getting in a tangle. You don’t have to be good at anything in particular or do everything at once, but what is a great shame, is the fear of ever trying….

Image result for artists

Whenever I tell someone I teach Art, most people tell me a story.. usually this begins, ‘I was rubbish at Art at school, my art teacher hated me…….

Image result for my art teacher

Or a well meaning parent told you , that it wasn’t your strongest subject and not as important as Science/Maths/English …(substitute your own literal equivalent obviously… so you should probably just give it up… And most people do….

every-child-is-an-artist-quote-by-pablo-picasso.jpg

They say that that your blue-print of an artistic confidence is pencilled-in around six.

images

And that because we learn/don’t unlearn the basics then, or free ourselves from the tyranny of the criticism we felt then , we continue to stay there.. creatively…..hearing our judges for evermore…..

Image result for kids art

That’s where getting brave comes in..

CREATIVITY_by_AnnSoDesign

 

 

Finding a way to watch something develop and exist, without fear of what the outcome will be, or how it compares to anyone else’s is a gift. If you can find a like minded group in a space which builds confidence and enable makers with different needs to develop…stay there!

62951-d8e861276f4e42a28ba4ab1ca6c8cf43

 

 

My Art over the last couple of years has included a little bit of everything!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed this process, after years of the curricular patterns in the teaching of secondary education, and our stash of accumulated resources is ever growing and developing ( in the back shed.. for now, but hopefully not for ever)

 

Our story began with the small people.. the ones who really know how to create… the ones who know how to use their sparkly super powers to full advantage..

 

To see our updates for community artwork, go to Image result for facebook logo lizatcreate… (These classes depend on funding as mobility issues require helpers and proper art spaces)

And for the grown ups- For five years, we have endeavoured to keep the ball rolling with self funding classes for a range of needs and groups, if and when we are able.

 

Image result for facebook logolizatthebeachhut

The aim of continuing to bring Art to as many people as we can, is to show that you can still be thoroughly marvellous despite your wonky bits and on tired days and sore days. Especially if your teacher is feeling the same way. And we will continue to try and fund- raise to maintain this for as many people as possible. Please let us know if you can help in any way.

creative

And what about me? 

My friend whose husband is an artist, said he asked her the other day, if I ever did any Art.. He’s got a point.. I do spend an awful lot of time doing things for and with other people.. a balance I will slowly swing back a little, now we are more settled here.. But here.. For Colm..

 

I have a few bits up my sleeve which are more detailed.. if I can get my hands to work long enough.

.sam

And like the work we did with Dalkeith Arts.. the more our community can do to support the Arts and crafts for those who need it it to stay well.. the better..

Image may contain: 1 person

Image result for facebook logo   Sea me- Vintage seaside ideas.

 

This is my latest little project.. for us nostalgic types..

Sea me will be our new community group name. And under the umbrella of Liz at The beach Hut, will be a lively and productive Community Arts Organisation, collaborating with volunteers to promote the arts within the St Abbs and District community. Our aim will be to provide support and inspiration to as wide a demographic and range of abilities as possible. At the moment, our face-book page is all things gloriously beachy and seasidey. Please do add appropriately x

Image result for spotty heart

This week reminded me all too poignantly of why our drive to exist and make in the most beautiful way we can should be so. I would like to dedicate this post to my  friend and an inspiring and talented potter Anna Merecedes Wear. Anna sadly lost her brave battle with cancer very recently and has left a lot of love and respect from the art community behind in her fabulous quirky, ceramic foxes and figures. It was Anna who not only shared apple and cinnamon cake on a Friday over a cup of tea with me, in those first few weeks at Art college, but took me under her wing and showed me the polite way of sticking your fingers up to having to do things by the book. She continued to create in her unique and wonderful style, making so many people smile and doing what most of us only dream of.. sticking to her guns. I feel proud to have known her and been helped by her stoicism and wisdom. Our thoughts are always with her lovely family.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

Seize the day and let someone help. Or get your books and crayons out. Who cares what happens. Poke your old school teacher memories in the eye and raise a glass. Find your tribe. You never know what you can do until you try.

Love, Your friend,

Liz xx

 

 

 

The Beach Hut Lady

I have finished the beach hut.

gael-party-074.jpg

My friend Margaret came the other day and helped with the high bits. Other friends have also helped me make furniture, paint windows and do the stripey bits. I do sections, stop when my hands hurt too badly, and begin the next day again.

This is the room I always wanted, but I didn’t have the time, the freedom,the confidence or the separation from my small child I needed to create it.

There were no gardens in the place we escaped to!!

Image result for refuge

Its lovely. And its mine.  ( ours!!) Now I’m going to make Art in it. The leftover teaching supplies I no longer need are gone, the rest are boxed up in the shed with wonky labels on . The things I want to use in the community art groups get slung in the wheeley bags my lovely group help pull about and there are no to do lists left…I’m on the home front…’

As the final brush strokes were completed there was a call from over the fence.

That lady I told you about in the gala day blog, the one who had spoken to me at her charity lifeboat stall last week.. she was there calling over the sunflowers…..

‘I wondered if you would like my collection of beach hut memorabilia?’ she said.

Ermmm……

‘I  love your house, you were really nice and you said I could take photos of your house. ‘The beach hut girl’ ..I tried to look you up, but I decided to just come by instead. The beach hut I was going to have, never materialised and these things should go somewhere to someone  who will appreciate them…’…

Bunting, tapestry, tins and wooden huts….

Image result for beach hut bunting

So they did.. they went straight into the newly completed perfectly ready beach hut studio. They fitted perfectly. Like they were made for it.

Cool huh…!!

375ef6580b752a6fd08f67cca0bbf660--old-posters-beach-posters

It was a lovely and generous surprise. She will of course become a friend. She has to! We Seem to collect cool people around here. Holiday makers and stall holders, artists and neighbours… The melting pot of open, friendly, creative people, willing to share.. in whatever way that will be..As time has gone by, and life has become more distilled.. the people we spend time with, however fleetingly, become more and more important, and valued. I liked her immediately because this lady wore her huge heart on her sleeve and valued friendship over profit. That’s who we want in our corner and in our beach huts.

A few Summer visitors

There is still magic out there . There are still undiscovered treasures. Friendships and connections waiting to grow and flourish if we look under the rocks and between the  lines… and not always who we imagine. It’s fun,  wondering who might pop up and surprise you. Age, country, job, it isn’t important. Leave your armour at the door and your heart open….

And I might never have known so many amazing people.  I might never have got here to our forever home. The studio might never have built.. the friendships never seeded…

9-8-5_detail_grande

A couple of years ago something happened which could have blown the whole thing out the water.. Nobody knows when these things will strike… mine struck when my cat knocked over all my tablets…

Image result for cat knocking over glass

A combination of stupidity and time short muminess meant not checking what was now in the tub of tablets, I then scooped up in haste…
Image result for taking tablets

I took what I thought was the usual combination and ended up in an ambulance. The mix of meds was not good for me, and I had a really bad reaction .

I was really unwell and it could have been the end of me. I called my best friend. Devastated, I told her the saddest thing I felt was that I had lived for sooooooooo many years already but that I  hadn’t even started to live yet. I had so much more to do. I realised, that if life was snatched now, I wouldn’t be ready. I had things to do and a child to love.

Image result for vintage woman on phone

As I wondered what damage the medication was silently and corrosively doing, I thought of the krypton factor which my life had recently become, the massive mountain we had literally just climbed off, and the dreams I still hadn’t un-boxed.  The reasons I still had to get out of that hospital in one piece.. We had come such a long way and I was not giving up . How anyone could intentionally inhale a box of paracetamol was completely beyond me……..Image result for dont give up

 

It was a close call and a reminder of how fragile life can be. I was dangerously allergic to the combination, and I had half an hour to fix it……

From that moment on.. I knew that if I was ok, I would take the cards dealt with my health and double what was possible to do in my life.

 Image result for heart

Not many people knew that story at the time.

I felt a bit stupid….. 

Image result for onwards and upwardsIf it had worked out differently, Nothing that followed would have ever begun. Our friends, our home, and our beautiful, creative journey.

Image result for creative journey

We are all fallible, and stupid sometimes. We all make mistakes. Some worse than others. Some thankfully, enable the gratitude we feel to be sweeter and more poignant. And the colours we paint to be that little bit brighter..

Image result for phew

Thank you to the beach hut lady, thank you to my daughter who called the ambulance that day, and thank you in advance for the strange and wonderful life we made.

Image result for keep colourful

Much of our dulling down comes from the belief that other people’s perception of us is true. It can be a choice to believe otherwise. Everyone messes up. Humans need to.  Learning from what happens next is to value ourselves a bit more. Give yourself a break. If we can still believe in a sprinkling of magic to chase the past away, who knows who might be leaning over your fence soon, and what they might bring with them.. and what colour you’ll ultimately decide your fence will become.

Image result for colourful fence

Here at Skye Blue House ..We choose rainbow.xx

Image result for heartLove and hugs, Liz xx

You can’t please them all…

As we spent the day painting pebbles for a charity day in St abbs recently, I wandered around chatting to the fellow stall holders  One fabulous lady whom I bought a few beachy bits from, said she had waited years for a beach hut , but it went to her relative and so she was selling her stuff for charity, the lifeboat here in the village., …. Guess who was happy to give the seaside paraphenallia a good home !!!

I got our things and she asked me if she could photograph my garden. She had walked past a few times. she knew it was mine she said  … It had to be !! I was touched and thankful. It was of course, really complimentary. And they were a lovely family. They are in the gang..

Another woman walked up to the stall. I had seen her about in the village.. I knew that perhaps we had a similar taste in planting as both our gardens have thrived in the summer heat. I complimented this lady on her colourful skirt and top saying she looked nice and bright.. Imagine.. the surprise when the reply was.. Well I wish I could say the same about your house.. Ohh!! well, ‘That’s me told…….’. ‘Yes, she said,….. ‘I don’t like your house !!’

OOOOOOOOKAAAAAAY …

022

Ok.

It isn’t what everyone has but really? Would you say it out loud!! Image result for say it out loud

download (10)

How easy would it be to wipe out that earlier lady’s comment? Or all those other nice comments we hear from people all the time? All the photos we get asked if people can take.. or the joy we can see when people see the achievement , just because of that ONE negative perspective?

BUT we do..

 

quote-on-abuse-78-healthyplace

We all do. All the time. The tiny tiny bad bit becomes all we think about in the big scheme of things and it is madness. ( But normal!) We are so much more than the jealous, or sad, or lonely person who chooses to voice their feelings in that way and we happen to get in the way at that  moment, on that day…

Image result for love life

The other 67843 lovely comments are still true.. REALLY. !!! And at the end of the day.. Do I like my garden? Yes.. Does the kid growing up in it feel happy in it .. YES.. !!

059.jpg

Well then.

Having gone through a long term situation where there was a LOT of negativity.. I try to remember how fleeting these random commentaries are.

Image result for i am enough

The opinion of those we love.. yes, to a point.. but mostly if we are looking in the mirror and the person staring back is ok with the stuff we are doing/thinking/being… it’s probably enough..Image result for i like me more

Because I just don’t want to be anyone else.. And neither should you . All things which are different  create a reaction..If nobody is harmed, affected or comprimised by your flourishing.. carry on….Be your own reference.

Image result for snails in shellIf you get negative comments….Don’t go back in your shell… Decorate it !!

62951-d8e861276f4e42a28ba4ab1ca6c8cf43

Love Liz xx

A Quiet wee village….

Our Little village had visitors in the last week.. Usually so calm and unassuming, contemplative and picturesque.. she has a patient and possibly weary tolerance of film and tv, having practiced her best side many times..

 

As the week wore on.. the house on the hill was transformed day by day by black watery paint making it look mildewy and spookier , and boarded up rotten windows, ivy attached by fairies and ‘dead’ plant props giving an atmosphere of an abandoned old house with a story to tell.

 

Maybe next time they should return in winter,  when this village holds her own in the beauty stakes and braves the elements in a hardy fashion, much like its residents;

 

35648030_10156558844536869_407550571998871552_n - Copy

If in doubt grab a dog!!

film crew 002

Which is in fact what the absolutely lovely film crew did.

We had already had an idea of the film from letters that had gone out, asking locals if it would be ok to park in their road. After ( not particularly tricky… detective work) ..

37198819_10156615387331869_7077374765366771712_n ….Was apparently being made on the doggie path…

37393476_10156621665396869_5400133729257521152_nAnd just to prove it !!! 

film-crew-001.jpg

The little block became home to a convoy of lorries and tech guys, all of whom told me about their dogs back home, and how much they missed them, as Skye climbed into their vans.. She sat on the camera, barked when they did a take because someone said hello.. And nobody minded. And she was cuddled by everyone.IMG_7677

Skye isn’t very well just now, so it was a special kinda thing for us.

So, from here in St Abbs, to the folk who came that day..

Image result for dramatic thankyou

You were polite, friendly, courteous and helpful, and welcome back any time. It was a pleasure to meet you and glimpse a few scenes..

It was a little too quiet today.. Maybe you could squeeze a dog bed into the premier? xx

 

Thanks from us in St Abbs!

Liz xx37592857_10156623873576869_3073169767394181120_n(1)

 

Belated Happy Retirement

Twenty years ago, in my friend Kate’s house in Granton, we sat on the sofa drinking wine, looking out to sea, and I decided I wanted to teach. I had always taught Summer school classes, adult education groups and worked with children making giant puppets, felt making and mixed media treasures; but this was being a big grown up teacher in big grown up school.

Image result for lonely artist garretBeing a lonely artist wasn’t working for me. I was creating colourful felt products in my ‘Curious Creatures’ Business and exhibiting at craft and trade fairs. I loved making and I realised I loved meeting people and sharing what I knew more.

From a naturally quite shy kid, this was a surprise to me, having not expected to find the guts to face continuous rooms of teenagers, most of whom  looked older than I did! But that firing squad was faced, time and time again.

Image result for being brave

Anyone who ever did teacher training knows is not for wimps. Like dogs, Children can smell fear ! And being the new girl in a new school every six weeks, is hard.

The hoop jumping, essay writing, module passing, lesson planning, course writing, behaviour managing, crit enduring…

Image result for writing essay

But somehow you do it..

And eighteen years of teaching later, before my early retirement, I was still in the heart of of a buzzing and happy classroom so I must have done something right.

I loved my job, and had a great rapport with kids. My every waking moment was spent collecting resources.. from shells to pictures to art

Image result for collect shells

materials to plastic pots and cardboard, feathers,

Image result for feathers

Grades were passed and clubs run, reward ceremonies organised, c.p.d done in everything from hat making to car maintenance, and thousands of children ticked and registered into a room full of colour, plants, masks, pictures, sculptures and ideas.

098.jpg

It wouldn’t be healthy to be too negative about my journey’s end in teaching. I became disabled through years of surgeries and through falling at work on an operation site on my knee. Another operation didn’t work and I was left on crutches, exacerbating arthritis and causing deterioration elsewhere. It was a battle to continue in so much pain but for a long time, I taught on crutches and managed without any support.

Image result for dont give up

 

The last five years have taught me that the journey’s end you seek might not take you on the planned route. As I sat at my desk pre -disability, wishing I was an artist, living by the sea; I could not have imagined the dragons I wouldImage result for working on crutches need to fight on the way to get here. Having already done it once to protect my child, the momentum needed to carry on was huge. With Amazing union support , I emerged from that chapter, having won in one sense, but never having had a real story’s end. When you stand up for yourself, there is no carriage clock. Image result for retirement getting carriage clock

But… that’s ok. It wouldn’t go with the house anyway……… I had experience and a good career which was fulfilling. It made me laugh and cry and at times it was my respite from pain elsewhere. And after all this time, it is now a dim and distant memory, another piece of my jigsaw puzzle and a step into the future which brought us here and now. So, I celebrate my self, as I never heard the words from my friends in the speech I could have had. I was a fabulous, kind teacher and I loved my job! And it was an interesting, challenging and mostly fun 18 years! The other bits.. well. You can keep them. I’ll choose to celebrate the effort it took to get and stay there and the effort it took to get here too. Perhaps I should have been better at feeling proud along the way.. who knows. Age is a great one for giving us tools we could have done with years ago.. But then.. where’s the fun in that? Image result for retirement getting carriage clock

 Happy Retirement to me.

Vintage-Beach-17

Thanks kids and the true friends I made. You literally kept me glued together

Now for whatever comes next. See you on the beach .

Liz

xx