Over the last few days I have been battling with an irritating sore throat which has morphed into a persistent cough. I haven’t had much energy to talk, but I have caught up with writing some posts on my family history blog, Among the Branches, which can be followed here.
Writing about this particular branch of my ancestral family I am fascinated (and often saddened) by the sectarian mind, the apparent need to be certain that “we” are right and “they” are wrong. The feeling of security that comes from belonging to a group of like minded people, and the fear of being alienated from that same group, are familiar to us all in various forms. In my ancestral family, standing on principals and insisting on doing things “right” frequently led to acrimony and alienation, and much heartache.
How do we find a way to live together in our eclectic mix of backgrounds, cultures, experiences and treasured beliefs? That’s a question that’s being asked in families, and on national and global stages. I don’t have the answer!
Over the last few weeks I have also been having some fun experimenting with various art forms on a mixed media art journaling course Wanderlust 2019 from Everything Art. This week was a challenge, an opportunity to play with an eclectic mix of bits and bobs and form them into a meaningful creation. The process was worrying at times, as the variety of stuff looked very messy and unpromising. But the results were surprisingly satisfying, not perfect, but I felt they did have a final coherence which wasn’t obvious from the start.
Lessons from history and making stuff; perhaps it’s better to trust the process, the muddle and the mess, than insist on being right. Compromise will always be less than perfect, but perhaps that’s best it can be, as good as it gets, and it may even end up with a unique beauty of its own.
Sometimes the hardest thing about being creative is the sheer abundance of possibilities and ideas! This quote is true of me, and my workspace.
But sometimes the key to a really satisfying art process is constraint, choosing a focus and a limited palette, rather than being overwhelmed by too much choice. This week I have taken steps to constrain and contain my “palette” – my large stash of fabrics, threads, papers, paints and books, by sorting and storing them. A purchase of new Ikea furniture and a table which raises and lowers to a comfortable working height, has transformed both my work room, and my headspace.
I could have written about many other interesting, creative, and inspiring things I’ve been involved in recently, but I will avoid cluttering this post with “stuff”, and enjoy the truth of “less is more”. May it be true of my workspace too!
Sometimes the mundane things of everyday life can be transformed simply by the way we look at them. This short post from three years ago illustrates that for me.
January 29th 2016
Raindrops on the window transform streetlights into stars.
By the time we reached this date in January last year I had given up posting here! My last comment (January 26th) was a sketch of my glue bottle and remarks about feeling stuck.
This is the time of year when I find it hard to keep going. January seems to last for ever, and the days are dark and cold. But browsing through my posts for this date in past years I also find hints of what keeps me going. One is being creative in some way, stitching most often. The other is in discovering the garden’s ability to continue to grow through the dark moments.
Two years ago today I sketched some early rhubarb. The exuberant and almost neon colouring of forced rhubarb is always a surprise, and is a great reminder that even in the dark short days of winter there is hidden sweet brightness just waiting to be discovered.
January 28th 2017
Not yet enough for a crumble, but sufficient stalks and leaves emerging from the dark earth to give a little thrill. The intense pink and acid yellow colours of the early forced rhubarb provides a jolt of pleasure, and gives me a moment of wonder as to how such bright vivid colour can be produced in a complete absence of light, only revealed when I lift the cover.
However it does it, it always cheers me up!
Posted in creativity, Drawing, garden, growing, mindfulness, small stones, spirituality, stitching, Uncategorized, writing
Tagged Rhubarb, Small stone