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Happy New Year …

January 7, 2018

For the last 60 years or so I have performed and put myself into a required box to survive; I don’t need to tell you, we all do one way or another.  It makes the world go around.

When I retired, thwarting these ingrained rituals was difficult on all sorts of levels and I have spoken of this at length. I have invented coping tools, but undoing the old routines and replacing them with new wasn’t an option either.

However, thinking I was on the homeward strait and no way back; it was clear that untying the bounds, does at least sooth the wounds and the fresh ones for a while are exciting and dare I say not always comfortable. Nonetheless, with some relief, I am in a better position to say I greet the new year and the challenges.

Challenges, that it seem to have blossomed outside the confines of my studio; to outreach opportunities and collaborations in other studios working with clay and fabric.

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Its Christmas … so?

December 24, 2017

Life at No.5 has been uppsy downsy, for someone who abhors the use of vague or frilly terms to describe illness and particularly mental illness; it means I am trying to face it. Christmas, I mean, that is what we do; be merry, happy and full of good cheer or be damned.

Believe me I try, but today with the person I love the most (her siblings are OK with this) is on the other side of the world, nursing her own ups and downs.

Throughout the year we conduct our lives like any other family home or abroad, my situation is not unique, families are dispersed and I am sure suffer as I do.

So today after a couple of other emotional upheavals (another useful euphemism in festival time) I will be in a pit and my love and good wishes go to those who try but fall short of merriness.

Last but not least …

December 11, 2017

I have begun to embroider another sack; it is the third and final one of set begun a few weeks ago.  This recent set are ‘landscape’ the sacks opened up are 150cms wide and 100cms deep.  The previous sets were portrait 50cms wide and 200 deep; and together they work as a tryptic.

While these will perhaps will be a bit clumsy hung together will be perfect apart; also, the subject matter is fairly random.

The first is a self-portrait, the second is an odd piece looking a bit like game of Scrabble with missing pieces … and played by someone who would rather be drinking a cup of coffee.

This last one is in its sketch stage and will celebrate, I hope a day spent walking by the Thames at London Barrier.

All to be exhibited next year …

Be a tree ….

December 9, 2017

Today I am going to my local arts centre where we have a monthly book club.  Each month we meet, drink tea and eat cake while we look at books.  Books that we each bring in and to share for no particular reason; we just like them. So, you can image the ‘ingredients’ can be varied

Today for instance I am taking: Noa Noa a journal of the South Seas by Paul Gauguin, Wabi-Sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophers by Leonard Koren, the Nature printer by Simon Prett and Pia Ostlund and Be a tree by Alice Peck … They are all perfect books and the latter reminded me today about being a tree … so added some leaves to some rather odd marks in my sketch books today !!!

Face the impossible … is best

December 8, 2017

For the past few weeks I have been in and out of difficult places and times; even though I have been working and quite productive in my studio and making concrete plans for next year.  My condition alongside the depression is complicated grief and like it says on the tin; is complex so I am often unable to have a sense of the cause or the cure. Acceptance of the impossible is painful; but the trick.

So, while I have been facing this enigma I have been drawing in a couple of A6 sketch books; with just two tubes of paint picked at random and a handful of brushes I make marks on each page until they are covered and covered again each morning. After an hour I close the books, not looking until I begin again the next day.  They are not and will remain unfit for human consumption but enough to say there are lots of empty pots, tables, windows that open out on to nothing -ness and as yet unwritten poems …

Boots don’t fail me now …

December 2, 2017

Yesterday I began walking beside the Thames.  I leave near the river at Reading and have walked it often during the last 30 years, and even walked the paths in London.  So, I have set myself the goal to walk it in sections and consecutively up river in the coming year.  It is 180 miles long; stretching from the coast at London to the Cotswolds.   It is not a long way by some standards; doable for me alone with or without my bike.

So yesterday I began a leisurely with a celebratory gang of supporters with a 14.5 kilometre stroll from the London Barrier to London Bridge it was wonderful.

I still have some time to change my mind …

November 26, 2017

only a black pot

Today I am going to do something that I have only dreamed about or it has been part of a hideous nightmare depending on the mood.

I am going to an ‘open mic’ evening at my local arts centre. I have been to poetry evenings and read my poetry at evening class too been hideous and a delight; but not something I have wanted to repeat in a rush.

Somehow, it seems a shame to let this opportunity go by without giving it a go.

Since beginning to do creative writing and writing poetry and not being particularly successful I have become more able at ‘other’ art so writing has become been less attractive.

However, since I have the ability to add narrative to my work with letterpress I have had the idea that I might begin to write again or better revisit some of my previous work.

I call it concrete poetry, but I am not sure it serves me well as title. For me, it is adding a haiku, and it comes after the image and allows me in 17 syllables and I am very careful about this to add something to a drawing, a pot, a painting, an embroidery or even a sack.  More colour, depth, texture, dare I say narrative; not by way of explanation. Just another layer much like any layer; a fashion accessory, more bedding, icing on a cake, a cherry, leaf mould on the garden.  It adds richness, insulates, warmth, then like a veil when it is removed reveals something else; and is illustrated in the poem today

An empty black pot

Until filled with fine blooms

Displays its darkness ….

So, this may be the beginning of something else or a blind alley … but I have been here before and I am not afraid of the dark anymore.