Dear friends. Another couple of weeks in. How are you bearing up? Are you surprising yourself with your resilience in this strange new world ? Or are you struggling with groundhog day? Maybe a bit of both, with the scales weighted drastically in different directions depending on the weather…. Like the radio broadcasters we listen to on waking, talking about their outfits and their breakfasts, (instead of their premiers and parties) : we are all now more aware of the details, because it is all we have. Here are some of our moments, from scrapbook trawling, to unwrapping childhood wigwams sent from Grandma’s attic, savouring the last few Christmas soaps, quiet studio moments, learning how to cook and appreciating the time to get a few pieces of artwork finished.
Our mornings have slipped into a routine between animals and the dreaded schoolwork, which actually, has been mostly excellent, although the uploading to a required forum, not quite so easy! We keep on drawing, and stitching, and talking and trusting and hoping and believing in the things we love ……. Every day I draw an object and share this idea to a couple of groups, on facebook and whatsapp… who.. in turn… draw, or share their artwork, and in some cases, haiku, sewing or poetry . It doesn’t matter where each journey ends. The huge thing for many people, has been regular contact, communication between others in the groups and lessening the feeling of only having your own ideas to dwell on. Uploading the videos I made seems to have foxed our local internet provision. So these early morning scribbles have become a new habit for us all.
For animals, life is better. They have us all the time now. Perhaps it was a conspiracy ! This week has included a spa for dogs and the chicken, including all of them being read to…and Skye’s daily walks with her boyfriend Glen. Molly and Max do what cats usually do.
Our usual noisy places are quiet. There is an eeriness where there is usually kid’s laughter. The seagulls are taking over the park as well as the overflowing bin bags from the nation’s decluttering.
We all have pain and anger.. Several people have alluded recently to positive posts or brightness in the face of adversity. It can be extremely easy to see what we want to see, when those things are what we feel ourselves. If you fall in love, love is everywhere, every flower shines it’s happy face in your direction. Currently, nobody really knows how to feel. And time spent staring into an abyss of different opinions online or listening to rumours won’t help you. We aren’t exempt from feeling sadness. Or frustration or fear. There have been tears and tantrums here, and not just Leah’s.
All we can do, is to carry on carrying on being there for each other and being positive for the art groups, our mental health group and our friends, to share some colour and kindness; even on the dullest day. There is another day tomorrow. There are new skills to learn and grow. If you don’t like it, don’t look. !
I made this week bird week. This was for my mum. A prayer for the things she’s going through and I can’t be there for. She loves her beautiful garden and her birds. My friends were asked to choose their favourite bird on different days. In time, these will be prints and be shared as a tribute and as memories of this time.
As you’ll know, we recently lost our beloved friend Pumpkin. And in these times of lockdowns, no travelling, no school friends to knock about with, there is a huge surplus of hugs to contend with . So, on the first day of the pet shop opening in Berwick I had an 11 year old trailing her parent with fingers glued crossed that they had what she hoped for, then I was dragged to an x on the floor to sign a few virtual crosses for pet ownership…. and then this happened……
Meet Bonnie and Bumble. 9 wk old balls of fluffy gorgeousness. In a cage of many fur balls these two stood out as perfect for this home. They picked us . The most beautiful little guinea pigs you ever saw. One each, so no squabbling . They are already at home in Leah’s hair, and have become part of the Skye Blue zoo within hours. The cats have already given their approval. Skye loves everyone. So that’s that. The zoo is back . Bumble is sitting on my lap as I write. These days, multitasking is all…
When you only have the people and creatures and thoughts that matter, choose them wisely.
Well.. we’ve got carrots to chop , paints to squeeze, neighbours to annoy.. and glitter to sprinkle .
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
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.
Sometimes life stops you in your tracks. But sometimes it’s a handy way to look at the view while the lights are on red. To take a moment to see who you are listening to. Is it your own wisdom, the intuition you were born with or the mumblings of other voices ?. Everything we do comes from a source of love or fear, and the option you have is choose to absorb only those who want to share the former.
It can take a long time to unravel the conditioning of a lifetime’s habits, a familial pattern, a marriage, a community belief system. But if a structure starts to jar, and prevent your creativity shining through, perhaps it’s time to regroup. Close your head to the noise everywhere around you. Break life down to its component parts and change, if change is what you seek, one breath, step, or thought at a time.
When we moved to a tiny place to start over, I made deliberate choices to simplify things financially and pressure wise. It isn’t easy to do this and it is a hard thing on your own. But at every junction, a new skill or resource, friend or doorway appeared when we least expected them to, and there was always enough. (That isn’t to say things haven’t been a challenge.) but there were very few moments to doubt that there should be trust in the bigger picture. And our abilities to navigate life’s ‘B’ roads.
This was us three years ago today. Before building our new home here by the sea.
You look back at things you do sometimes and wonder. How did I get here? How did I manage that? The house was only on the market one week. generally the best things we do in life are things that happen through a sense of pure will and determination, perseverance and intuition that it is simply what has to be done. We get our heads down and get on with it. finding a drive fuelled by a belly fire.
The night before News Years Eve our favourite place to stay told us last minute they had a cancellation. Already nearly ready for bed, we were at the time struggling to get a 2nd hand charity- shop games console to speak with and work on the TV. It was driving us both a bit doolally. Out of nowhere a text arrived from the b and b . It was a lifeline out of the doldrums, an injection of adventure we both needed. The house suddenly became a mad frenzy of hovering, packing, sorting out animals and arranging the details with neighbours..
We made it happen in a couple of hours and more that, nothing dreadful happened because it wasn’t in the plan. Sometimes the plan appears to be no plan. But we know deep down, there’s been a plan all along.
But I believe there is more to it than that. Looking out of the window at the garden, it’s so hard to believe that there will ever be blossoming plants and grass that never stops growing. It happens like magic. Just as our kids grow… And keep growing and changing, non matter how much we keep a snapshot of their baby faces on the mantle piece.
What we do with the time and resources we have then becomes a matter of not only trust but personal intuition. Right now, she’s cleaning her room, but she doesn’t know she’s doing it. My girl is ‘looking through’ some old toys, and thoroughly enjoying the process of re discovering, memories and finding lost treasure. There is singing, that’s a good sign.
Making a creative – being go from a to b, in a straight line can cause huge stress, and disarm their natural instinct to tweek, nibble at, shuffle around and sidelong glance at a project before jumping in ; And almost put out the fire of passion before it has begun. These spectrum based qualities can become clearer once labels start being given, especially when diagnosed with various types of autism. But this can take years. We know instinctively if our children need more variety in their learning, or a work better with a hat on, or sitting on the floor.
How many times a day do you rebel against yourself? Or someone else? This time of year, with the pressure of change and renewal , being better, living better, morphing into a new version of the old creaky us, can create lists of to do which hang heavy. The thing is, these lists aren’t created out of badness, their heart is in the right place. For instance, making new crafts, eating better, finding new love, clearing out the garage…its just.. all good, its just.. a big old excuse always comes up . We will always as humans want to do the opposite of what we tell ourselves we should.
Its actually not the worst thing we can do. Making excuses, being a little bit different to the expectation makes it far more likely to find a way of living, loving and being that is really you. I Was the kid in school dreaming out of the window of running across the fields out of he window, wearing nothing but a tutu and a huge straw hat.
In order to get the most out of ourselves we need to feel we are cheekily being slightly bad at the same time. Life should definitely not feel like we are colouring by numbers. Dry January should surely wait until such months as we are outside enjoying the spring sunshine (not needing a warm fire and moonshine)
I could have been only seen as a dreamer, But somehow, the gaps between the dreaming, when no-one was looking enabled productivity and studying. Squirreling away multiple projects and coursework at once until such times as a ta dah moment was needed. Reading through a leaflet for the village hall fair competition I came across recently, I was gobsmacked at hw many prizes one child could win with a few sticks of corn, potato printing and plasticine ‘Morph’ people in a shoe box.
And when at college I after bashing away at a project all morning in a flurry of paper and sticky back plastic, I was told by a student teacher , that the ‘mess’ was not the outcome of a perfectionist , as I was explaining I was; I took great delight in finally showing her the finished sparkling object.
Nobody should judge your process. And your process is special to you. No matter what it is you are trying to acheive. I am finding more and more that with arthritis in my hands, the limit for specific tasks is short.. So working with that, I might paint one area of a picture, and then using a different technique ( and hand movement) maybe work on something which doesn’t need a pincer movement! In a way working within your health restrictions, creates a different way of thinking and maybe new skils to try.
In reality this looks like various random piles of things. To paint a whole wall in one go is too painful, so there is some paraphernalia waiting to be completed in the hall.. slowly but steadily getting its Spring facelift. Many ideas have late have hatched little design chicks in Skye blue House. Some are harder to make than others, so need a blast of energy and a rest, some need passion and a breathing space from their grip and some are old friends which can be tinkered with and finished between the crafty imps of art which tear but fill your heart. 😊
Such is the tug and the drama and the pain of needing a physical body to make what we crave. Almost every activity needs some physical dexterity . But not finding it easy doesn’t mean stopping altogether
It is so easy to forget who we truly are. Especially if illness or fatigue creep in, when then destination we work to reach seems to get further away. Just like a never ending horror hotel corridor. Your tropical beach will I promise await you.. perhaps you just have a few things to organise first. But if you can see yourself there, you’ll be there. With an extra large tequila sunrise in your hand.
A strange things happens when people see you happy, especially when we shouldn’t be . When the odds look like they are stacked against you, but you strive anyway..Distracting your pain or temporary immobility with your permanent rose coloured specs. You will notice that your life becomes a story book..Witches and trolls will thwart your progress and joy. (banished as they are to their own lands of permanent misery) and their barbed comments will chip off your varnish . If you let them.
Forgetting to trust the process which has got you this far safely and creatively. lowers your resilience, stops you making, opens up your heart to hurtful jealous noise and ultimately proves your doubters right. If you start to see the creative unfinished processes waiting to be completed as shabby, you let other people’s negativity, pour doubt on your story.
Its not shabby. Its Shabby chic.
Having questions and consistently being aware is good. Seeing yourself through the judgement of others isn’t. Be grateful for this negativity though. Because it reminds you how much we can all do to use our obstacles as reasons to push further on our journey.
Bits fall off, bits gets broken. bits stop working. You can still be seen. Find the right people, find your process, find your passion and a way of showing it. If weeks and months have to go by with piles of half finished work waiting for warm weather, more money, finding your muse.. ITS OK..
For me, I have found that I have to creep up on finished tasks, by doing several at once. this not only gives an element of variety to the job, but stops it feeling like one huge mountain. If you can get past the ‘one- thing -at -a time- rule’ which is drummed into us from an early age, it can be liberating to challenge several tasks into bite size chunks, until they all get done. Its what we do in daily life anyway, why not throw in a few things that we love too? Stir your pot of homemade soup while listening to a story tape, paint a strip of wall every day until you finish the whole house, keep chipping away at your beautiful ideas and keep them alive.
And never stop believing that your instinct is 100% right and what you must do ..
Because, if you don’t, who else will ?
At our most taxing time, a time when I was literally frozen by fear, and by another’s control, I did the following. Every time I had an idea, a dream, a sketch of a plan to make a new life, I drew it and put it in an old carpet bag. I thought of the bag as a kind dragon that I had to keep feeding. Pop the morsel of trust and instinct in its mouth and it would keep growing.
This kernel of knowing you have it in you, is what keeps you safe, creative and moving forward. Every aspect of our home and the life we have now has come alive from seedlings in that bag. The big friendly dragon is more likely now to be a chicken or a soppy collie, cat or guinea pig. But even they have their own self affirmations in their bedrooms…
Stay cosy and warm, especially if you live somewhere cooler! and use the time to gather resources, potter, paint and plant those seeds.
Ever have one of those? Ever have a grooming decision turn into another decision, until you find yourself back where you started.. or worse..
….in a state of hair hell.? Because what you thought was going to be what you wanted, was actually somebody else’s idea of what suited you?.
And you naively assumed your instinct button must have gone on the blink. It hasn’t.. you heard it all right.. you just chose to ignore it!! Nobody knows you better than you, so why do you keep ignoring your instincts?
Do not get me started on my hair. In this instance, we’re talking one night of attempting blonde (ish). Four hours it took by a well-meaning hairdresser.
Only it turns out you can’t do it all at once and so I ended up stripey. And a bit orange.
Bad hair moments, days, years.. woah!!! karma kryptonite . When your hair feels wrong, everything feels wrong.
The next day, before my coffee had cooled, I had slathered on fiery red once more, and my head was once more mine. Too hard to explain why this is soooo important, because actually as my friend pointed out, I do cover most of it up with a massive scarf.
But I was back to where I started. My… me place. My comfortable spot. My – only- I -can- explain- why- this- is- ok- place.
And now I’m waiting for it to grow……
Life has felt in the last two years like we were running to keep still. When your health isn’t playing nice and your mobility deteriorates, even the basic achievements often become horribly unmanageable . The last six months have been trickier than usual and our travel, adventures and plans curtailed.
My head does big thinking, thank goodness, dreaming up schemes, tinkering at plans and knowing we have each other and our spirits to keep going. Leah and I are proud of our achievements at Skye blue House . And we love your comments over the fence! Curtailed by much movement this summer didn’t stop the fun .
When life gets a bit crap, it can give you the impetus to decide who you really are, what your passions are and what you want to say. If your audience isn’t listening, don’t stop talking, find another audience.
Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.
Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.
The more people I come across and the more stories I hear, I realise that we’ve always known the things we wanted to say and do.. we just didn’t have the skills to communicate them. So we learn to make things, play games, sing, create and mould the world we know we should live in. As children all the ingredients are there to protect us from the future world we will live in.
And then we unlearn it all for the next eight decades. We can all be our own tough crowd sometimes..
If only we could take our small selves by the hand and urge them not to waste a moment worrying about the big bully in the year above, who kicked us for looking different, or from agonising over the meaning of a painting in Art college .
When our choices are taken away in one sense, because we can’t do something it enables freedom of a different sort. Let yourself go with the new plan, no matter how temporary your illness is and work with the rhythms of the day or seasons too.
This year began with drawing in a hospital bed, sketching in a village community class, and putting together these designs which then became prints. On other days photography was more immediate and I loved the immediacy of creating abstract snapshots from well known parts of the village. I was delighted to exhibit both types of artwork in a local art exhibition a few weeks ago.
In winter when the weather impacts on everything, fireside felting compliments the painterly work and a new cycle of creating more tactile work will begin.
Nobody will like everything you do, big and little kids can be critical. I realised one one of the reasons I had a desire not to be a red head which I’ve always been since the first forays into the henna gloop in the eighties, was a comment made an elderly neighbour of my parents . It was just Too much for the suburbs of Bognor. But when I look back at my photographs however, it was fabulous. All our younger, vibrant, freewheeling selves , no matter what colour our hair was , were wonderful.
So life is going to be a roller coaster.
We had better enjoy the journey
Getting on the ride, any ride is going to cause some turbulence. But the thing with a roller-coaster is, you might get flung about, soaking wet, turned upside down, throw up, and lose the contents of your stomach, but then.. you arrive back.. where you started.. Because a roller coaster goes in a circle. You can get off when you like and the choice is yours whether to get back on again, or ..
Do something a little more relaxing…
Today I went for a walk with two dogs, on crutches. Big deal. Right? As I noticed these Autumn shapes and the light playing on the sparkling sea, I realised something else. As many of you know, (because a lot of you have been providing us lovely soup in the last week) !! I haven’t been at all well of late. And there are things still to be done, diagnosed and mended. But …… I had been listening to a screaming noisy soundtrack for as long as I could remember and suddenly it was wasn’t there….. well, it was now quiet enough to hear the birds singing anyway. That extreme pain which blurred everything pre- surgery on my knee last week.. was at last significantly quietened. How fabulous to see the Autumn changes in such crystal clear brilliance without anything else in the way. You only notice how heavy something has been after it has been lifted.
Six years of staying positive have enabled a trip back to where I began, almost like being a child again, having to relearn how to walk and use the limbs we all take for granted. This disability stole much of Leah’s active childhood, this daft crumpled knee, and my hard won teaching career- impacting on my other joints and causing further health conditions.
Please don’t feel sorry for me. This is just a celebration of a moment and a reminder that at any point something can fail, break or become loose in any of our well seasoned bodies! Getting back to a place that we started from, before we struggled is a bonus. And feeling grateful is important.
Joy can last for a lifetime or lift us in a moment of reprieve. Somewhere long ago we knew the answers to what would feed our souls, no matter what outside factors tripped us up. That child in us still understands who we are and what we need.
My six year old self knew
and is Still rooting around in button boxes wearing a vintage hat..
Listen well to your small you .
Unless they persuade you to dye your hair. Then I suggest you phone a friend.
Don’t be too good, Much love, Liz at the beach hut xx
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
Feel like you need a bit of extra colour in your life? Me too….Why let a few things like bones degenerating and limbs going wobbly slow you down…
Having spent five years now on crutches, people often ask what they are made from and where I got them.. They often start conversations and even friendships…
My crutches have remained waterproof and robust, with plenty of compliments over the years, stopping us in supermarkets, charity shops, airports, on the beach, in the village.. and many times we have been asked if we make copies….
So now we shall.
We can now offer you the opportunity to have your crutches pimped and primed your way. Securely covered in the styles and colours of tape which resonate with you, as many designs as you like .
Let’s rewrite the rule book and give our sticks some personality. These poor supports need some better press…
Crutches don’t need to be scary
Go to Facebook- Sea My Stix for more details xx
All profits from wraps will go to community Art Groups x
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…
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.
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.
SHHHH!!!!!!!!!. Don’t tell anyone. But actually, not everything you see / hear/ read/ on the internet is real.
Except on here obviously. xxx
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…
The trick is to see that new and shiny is not always more beautiful..
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.
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.
If you find people in your life like that, hold on them.
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.
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 .
A reason to star in your own movie, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
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.
The experiences we have that shape us, are never wasted if they then become, someone else’s path to freedom.
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.
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.
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.
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….
One by one.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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….
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…….
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….
They say that that your blue-print of an artistic confidence is pencilled-in around six.
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…..
That’s where getting brave comes in..
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!
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)
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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..