I woke up very suddenly from a dream in the early hours of Saturday morning. Someone was telling me my son had had a seizure again. It was so intense I kept thinking the phone would ring that morning to tell us Charlie had had one in the night but the phone didn’t ring and I relaxed again. We got on with our weekend. When I arrived to pick the boys up this morning though it was still playing on my mind but nothing was said and I told myself I was reading too much into it.
Tonight, Charlie had a seizure for the first time since February. I wasn’t reading too much into it.
Intuition often frustrates me, I’m not always sure what to do with it. Sometimes it seems absolutely pointless. Sometimes it’s a warning. Sometimes it makes great paintings and sometimes it ruins them. I’m often wishing I had listened to it more though.
I’m writing this post from my breakfast table in Cornwall. We are having a weekend away. It’s the middle of the Easter holidays and our sons are at respite care for their birthday again. It’s not moveable so we have to go with it otherwise we wouldn’t have our much needed time out from caring which is especially important in the school holidays. Even though the same thing happened last year, it still feels strange. It’s part of the reason we picked this weekend to go away. We will of course celebrate with them tomorrow and it looks like they will end up having 3 birthday cakes so I’m sure they will be fine!
In the meanwhile we are pottering around Cornwall doing the things that we do….
Art – actually I have not done any yet but look at my travelling art box!…..
What we are not doing is drinking! Yes, you read that right lol….we’ve got another week of school holidays after this weekend and so we are attempting sensible!
I used to do a lot of sewing when I was a teenager, in fact I think I had this machine for my sixteenth birthday.
I’d have a go at anything really but I often didn’t use patterns. Or pins. I’d just have an idea and then keep going until I had created it. A bit like how I paint. My lifestyle has not really lent itself to sewing since I had children but I have Pinterest and sometimes start getting drawn in to reviving that hobby (because obviously I need another one 😂). I particularly swoon after Tina Given’s patterns and although I suspect they are beyond me at the moment, I do want to eventually have a go at them.
I’m also a big fan of the pinafore aprons, any aprons actually.
I think the pinafore aprons would be great for painting though so I’m planning that as my next project.
In the meanwhile though, my return to the sewing machine started with Pyjama bottoms. I decided to do this as an ‘Artist Date’ as I’ve been working through Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ again. I was very disciplined. It was a bit of an experiment for me. I’ve learned that my knitting has improved a lot by following patterns and learning proper techniques and now there is the Internet, that is much easier, because obviously if you come across a technique you don’t know , there is google. Without that, as a teen crafter, I would just wing it. I don’t actually think that was a bad thing because I have good creativity skills and confidence at having a go at things as a result but a lot of the time, using the right technique gets better quality results. I basically tested myself with this sewing project to see what I could produce if I followed the rules. I was pleased with the result, they are tidy, fitted well and look good.
I did not have much creative satisfaction, it felt a bit of a chore to be honest. I will probably do more sewing in the future (I do really want those aprons and pinafores!) but I think I will always need to add an element of working intuitively to make it enjoyable for me. As an artist date activity though, I learned a lot about my own creativity from this sewing experiment.
This is Day 3 of Effy’s blog along (for me as I started late!) and I was going to write about something else but then I read Effy’s post today and her poem about Mary Oliver made me remember the journal page I did last year after some crap stuff happened. I’m not going to write about what happened but I was upset and unsettled at the time. I just wanted to share the page because although it’s not my best piece of artwork ever, I really worked through some stuff on this little page and it felt special. I had decided to draw a nuthatch after seeing one while ‘the stuff’ was going on. Then I found Mary Oliver’s ‘Winter and the Nuthatch’ poem when I went looking for a quote to put on the page and my mind was blown because it seemed so relevant to what was happening so I added that to my background. This is where I often find myself with my artwork. At some sort of meeting point of my inner world, the outer world and the symbols from both where I start to make sense of things. It’s why it crosses over into magic and witchcraft for me.
Winter and the Nuthatch
Once or twice and maybe again, who knows,
the timid nuthatch will come to me
if I stand still, with something good to eat in my hand.
The first time he did it
he landed smack on his belly, as though
the legs wouldn’t cooperate. The next time
he was bolder. Then he became absolutely
wild about those walnuts.
But there was a morning I came late and, guess what,
the nuthatch was flying into a stranger’s hand.
To speak plainly, I felt betrayed.
I wanted to say: Mister,
that nuthatch and I have a relationship.
It took hours of standing in the snow
before he would drop from the tree and trust my fingers.
But I didn’t say anything.
Nobody owns the sky or the trees.
Nobody owns the hearts of birds.
Still, being human and partial therefore to my own successes—
though not resentful of others fashioning theirs—
I’ll come tomorrow, I believe, quite early.
I accidentally made a photo series of sunrises.
They look so peaceful don’t they? As if I get up early every morning just to see the beauty of the sun rising in the east? As if I am outside with my camera feeling revitalised after a wonderful night’s sleep?
That is not how these photos happen. I am not a morning person. Our alarm goes off at 7:30 at the latest and my long suffering husband then has to keep reminding me the alarm has gone off whilst I argue with him that I don’t get out of bed until 7:36. Don’t ask me what that is about, I’m not very rational on waking. I drift through getting myself and my boys up and settle them downstairs in separate rooms watching separate kids T.V. shows and open the kitchen blinds. I let the dog out and ‘ooooo the sky looks nice’….so then I will grab my phone and run outside in my PJs to quickly take a photo. I don’t really have time to concentrate, I’ll decide to look at them later. I get some water and trip over the cats because they want to be fed. I put their food down and look up out of the window and the sky looks even better so out I go again, wildling barefooted woman running around the garden trying to get a better angle, still in PJs, neighbours pretending they don’t know me. Then I will start to feel bad that I’m faffing about with my phone when my routine is quite tight in the morning and I could have been up earlier but you know, those six minutes in bed make all the difference and besides, I need coffee, so I go in, do my sons’ medications and crack on with unloading the dishwasher. The thing is though, the dishwasher is right next to the window and the sky is looking even better now so I start to think that I could get a really great shot by leaning out of the back kitchen window which involves me getting up on the worktop. I will do this and then dry up some more mugs. By the time I’ve repeated this 3-4 times I feel like I’ve had quite the workout and I still haven’t had time to look at any of my photos. My husband will appear from his morning shower around this time and I will behave like I haven’t just been hanging halfway out the window and nearly dropping my iphone on the patio but he’s knows me too well and will be fully aware of my camera shenanigans.
I carry on with my routine and get the kids off to school and then I will have breakfast and finally have some time to look at my ‘beautiful relaxing photos’ and maybe pop one or two on instagram.
I started to realise recently that this had become a thing and it had been going on for 4-5 years. I suddenly had quite a lot of sunrise photographs so I got them printed off, put the best ones into a group and hung them on the east wall of my house.
I wasn’t going to join in Effy’s blog-along this year as I have so much going on and didn’t think I had much to write about at the moment. I’ve been reading other people’s posts via the FB group though and got tempted! I thought I might do a few when I can.
Today has been shitty and I although I don’t really want to start off writing a whingey post about how it was supposed to be our day off and my ‘Art Day’ and it all got messed up because the Dr’s surgery messed up a prescription and how we got a phone call halfway through the day because one of my son’s was self-injuring so badly that his carers weren’t sure what to do with him resulting in us spending the whole afternoon worrying, that is what my life as a carer looks like sometimes. I have to keep going because, at the moment, it feels like everything else is fragile. I have to keep going but I also have to look after myself. I’ve learnt through all this that self care is not instant. I have created rituals of self care, I have objects of self care and I prepare for the bad days in advance of the shitty days.
This is what self care looks like for me today,
It’s the rainbow odd socks I knitted for myself because sock knitting is a special kind of magic and even though it’s April, it’s been really cold…
Looking out at the daffodils and pansies that I put in months ago because I know there are days when I need to see something that will lift my spirits. It’s grey and raining and one of those days…
Coffee with chocolate milk out of the mug my husband gave me recently, an emergency chocolate that was a present from my daughter and rewatching a bit Game of Thrones before the new season starts whilst weaving in the ends on my most recent knit. I hate weaving in ends and this jumper has A LOT lol but I will feel good when I have done it and it doesn’t require a lot of concentration…
Making a veggie curry, enough for tomorrow’s lunch too, because it would be so easy to eat rubbish because I’m feeling grumpy but I’ve done 6 weeks of turning those habits around and improving my health. I’m not about to throw that away. I cooked whilst listening to Joanne Harris’s latest book….
Lighting candles and watching art classes while I eat…
Knitting Dragon wings…
I’M KNITTING MYSELF WINGS.
A scary knitting throwback to that time when I knitted a load of squares and turned them into a jumper 😂😂😂 I was about 14 I think. As you can probably tell, I knew nothing about tension or joining squares. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 6 but only the basics. I was self taught for many years after that and I didn’t really know anyone else who knitted. I would knit with whatever wool was in my house, use the needles I had which had been my great-grandmothers and mainly just intuitively designed things as I went. If I didn’t know how to do a particular thing like picking up stitches, I’d just invent my own way. Often it looked pretty shit but I learnt a lot and actually the biggest thing I learnt was to just get stuck in and try things out. I used to make clothes on my sewing machine this way too, luckily no photos seem to have survived of that! One particularly memorable dress was a black empire line thing I built around a bra – WTF?! It’s interesting to me as an adult looking back that this is clearly part of my creative and learning process because when I decided to start painting, I was quickly drawn to intuitive painting classes and even when I’m following a structured lesson or my own plan, I will go in a completely different direction if it feels right.
I don’t think I’ve done any colour work since I created this monstrosity anyway, it put me off big time 😂 I might have another try now I’m a bit older and more open to following patterns! It’s so much easier to learn knitting techniques and find things that are nice to knit since the Internet happened. Just this weekend I learned how to knit ends in as you go from a video on YouTube. I never even considered that it might be a thing.
At the moment though, despite having a lot of other things I should be working on, I’ve started a Magic Marled Sweater (Stephen West). It’s been stormy and raining all week, I’m feeling the urge to hide in my house and be a hermit, just listening to my audiobooks, watching Netflix and knitting.
I may have a little play with colour work once this is finished 🙂