Friday, 3 August 2012

Something of a Sea Change

Bookcase behind my writing desk (there's
another smaller one to the left,  
the windowsill, with art boxes as well)
I've spent the week since returning home from Ireland in some sort of mental limbo - working during the day but then sorting paperwork and rubbish on a grand scale. I know in my heart that I need to make changes in my life; not the togetherness I share with my dear husband, but in what I still want to achieve. I was overwhelmed by the response to my open studio adventure and know I can now spread my wings, and am proud of what I have managed in 'spare' time. I am thinking this through and, regardless of what needs sorting and discarding in the rest of this rambling old house, I am first reorganising my office into an integral work-space. For the last twelve years, since we 'retired' and I started to write free-lance, this small bedroom overlooking the village green has had computer and office at one end. Gradually, in my madder moments when I thought I could maybe try to sketch and create collaged junk-journals, I introduced a few art supplies and books. Work overtook everything however as commissions grew and art has taken a back seat. Not any more! 

'Welsh Idyll' - a piece created for a magazine article
From now onwards, the two will be interwoven. I won't go into details, but my 'writing' desk is now also where I now work at my laptop, I can see the trees and the sky, feel the sunshine on my face, and have my favourite reference books on the subjects about which I write, and some of my working notebooks, in front and to the side of me. It's not yet completed, but the vacated space where the 'big' computer stands and where I piled reference material and heavens know what, will become somewhere to lay out sketches to dry - and I can bring upstairs my second printer which will also copy in colour when I want to reproduce images for cut-and-paste. 

A mixed-media stitched fabric 'herbal', in progress (though it was actually finished!)
I am fortunate to have a workroom / sewing room also that doubles as a laundry room but that is underground and has no daylight, and little actual space - it's mostly storage and laundry. It will take me a while to change everything around: a twelve-year itch, if you like, but something that I feel is vital to keeping my spirit young, even as my body fades. I have been trying to catalogue the TYPE of things I love to create; to analyse not so much processes (though actually those as well) but also subjects. Top of the list is that I must work in fabric AND paper, use images - my own wherever possible - incorporate threads, perhaps knitted and crocheted, and certain types of ephemera. Not bling, but what I can only describe as organic, rooted in the earth. And no matter what, I just MUST gave words - my own word-whispers and poem-spills. Topics include landscape, gardens and natural history, travel trails, and history. 

A single page from a map-trail
(there were eight in all, backed
with calico, and decorated with
napkins and my own sketches
My ongoing projects (many started and waiting to be finished) comprise the following: a) handmade paper-scrapbook type creations, b) ditto in fabric, c) ditto in paper-AND-fabric (oh dear, how boring and repetitive that sounds), but all using a twist on various techniques that, whilst learned from tutors or gleaned from books, magazines and other people, nevertheless are never copies but my own twist on things. To that I would now add my illustrated sketchbooks and notebooks where I try to think images before words, and my attempts at creating from, say, perhaps a single word or artefact and jumping in whether it be junk-journaling or a collage or ... 

The images shown here are representative of what I exhibited recently; and to all this, I would now add the burning desire to experiment with new techniques and materials; in fact to move myself upwards and onwards, never forgetting that we only have a limited time on this earth, and I never know when mine will reach the point of no-return. 


  1. i dont know how you so it with so much stuff! but how else could you be so adventurous in your art!!!

  2. ann, first: amen to what you just wrote. second: 4 1/2 months ago i had a major change in my life and i found myself visiting your blog, sometimes 4-5 times a day, to give me links that have given me peace of mind, and a healthy distraction i needed to proceed through each day. a promise that the process i am traveling through will find me once again in this newer definition of myself, now. third: i thank you for this gift you are providing me. thank you to each of the women and men who link with you. you all have served me well. fourth: i have no idea what "choosing a profile" means... so i guess you will never receive this.

    karen nutter

  3. Faygie, thankyou - I press on whenever I can snatch a spare moment (this morning, when having breakfast with my husband in Morrison's supermarket, I was making notes on a new project).

    Karen (unknown) - thankyou, too, for your kind comment. I am always pleased when what I write helps others for I have myself been in dark places many times in my life. I believe in writing what is in my heart - even more personal is my 'Wild Somerset Child' blog, and you can enter that wild space by to that through clicking on the link top right. Good to make your acquaintance, and as you can see, I did receive your words. Write anytime (you'll find my email address by clicking on 'view my complete profile', under my pic, and info about me. xx