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
I didn’t go back far today in my browse through my January small stones. Two years ago I sketched the same chair I am sitting in this morning, and it certainly isn’t beautiful! I notice I have added another cushion since I drew it two years ago, crocheted from a colourful ball of wool in my stash. But what a mish mash, and how muddled it looks! And the piles of books and papers around it appear equally disorganised.
But this eclectic hotchpotch of a chair has supported and inspired me through many creative endeavours. So I will just accept it that way, and be grateful for somewhere to sit and dream.
January 24th 2017
A rather weird drawing experience this morning. On impulse I got out of the chair I was sitting in, and looked at it, and decided to sketch it. This is where I have spent many, many hours writing my journal and my blog. This is the chair I have sat on while reading, researching and writing for my Masters in Creative Writing. And this month I have done most of my sketches sitting here.
An old second hand tub chair draped in a huge Indian shawl throw, given to me by a friend, I have it padded out with two mismatched cushions. One cushion is a patchwork of some of my favourite blue Kaffe Fassett fabrics, which I cut and peiced together with great care. Most days I don’t look at the cushion at all, I just sit on it and squash it out of shape, completely disregarding the time and effort I spent in making it.
But today I have looked with new eyes at the chair and the cushions which have been supporting me throughout those hours. I noticed the soft folds and subtle shapes of the throw and thought of the friend who gave it to me. I remembered the precision with which I cut the patchwork shapes for the back cushion, and recollected that the seat cushion was a sale bargain from Laura Ashley over thirty years ago. The chair itself was an eBay buy, with a previous life. This incongruous hotchpotch of things from the past, so often unacknowledged and unappreciated, is the trusty place which holds me secure as I sit and contemplate the day. It is far from empty…
I didn’t get the perspective quite right when I drew this mug two years ago, but that doesn’t matter – it is still a reminder of a gift from my mum. And the mug is still going strong…
January 15th 2017
I have had this mug for over twenty five years. I am very fond of it because it was the last Christmas present I received from my mum. She had bought me a set of four china mugs painted with colourful flowers on a black ground, but sadly she died just before she could give them to me in person. I opened her gift after her death, and for many years couldn’t bring myself to use them, preserving them carefully in the china cabinet.
More recently I have decided get them out of the cupboard and use them. Yes, some of the set have broken, but I still have two left. This one, with the sweet peas, is the mug that holds my tea or coffee most mornings. I use it knowing that it too won’t last for ever, eventually the rim will chip, the handle crack or it will get dropped and break. But I enjoy it while it lasts, knowing that my memories of my mum, and her many gifts to me don’t reside in this mug. They are deep in me, and those she loved, and will live on long after this piece of china has gone.
Drawing this chair two years ago evoked many memories at the time. Looking at it today the memories are even clearer; it is as though the process of capturing it visually and writing about it focused my attention on its history. I have since discovered a circa 1930’s photo of the dining room of the house where my mother grew up, featuring one of these chairs. These chairs have outlived my grandfather and my mother, and I am glad to have them in my home while I have room, even though they are showing their age.
Another joy of journaling! My sketches and writing help me hold on to precious memories even when the objects and the people are no longer with me.
January 11th 2017
This old chair is one of a set of six we have scattered around our house. They belonged to my maternal grandfather, I remember them from when we visited him as children.
We don’t use them much these days, they are a bit uncomfortable, sagging springs and joints that aren’t as strong as they were. But when I was younger I often sat on them round the tea table with my grandparents. I can remember twiddling the loose spindles on the back, and rubbing the smooth brass studs along the fabric edge, often impatient and wanting to run off and play. The sun always seemed to be shining through the windows when we stayed with them, although I also remember the excitement of snow when we visited them one Easter.
It’s strange where memories go; this old chair holds many of mine, mainly forgotten until I sat down and drew its shape this morning and found them reappearing like ghosts from the faded velvet covers.