well I am at creature no.6 and and the need to keep creating the little forms seems to have no end. Is this and obsession or it is just plain creative surge, both I guess. When I have an idea that comes up in my head I just have to go with it, its like its not me manifesting these things but a force that is beyond my control, so I really have no choice but to keep “making” as the ideas flow and my sketchbook of ideas expands daily. I know by past projects this will pass and try as I might to further develop and idea and stick with it appears not to happen for me in this way. I so want to be able to progress a concept, try all avenues and really explore the possibilities and develop the forms into something that is really unique to my process. Each time something downloads into my thoughts I think this is the one, this is my work, I can own and this and develop it fully, sadly though its hasn’t yet, perhaps this time maybe different.
My new creature is a really soft body little lamb needlefelted onto a pipe cleaner armature. Head is needlefelted too. Everything handmade and hand stitched using found and vintage fabrics, laces and so on. Such a sweet little face and demeanour, this is a real doll, can be cuddled and redressed if need be, unlike the others which have metal armatures. She stands at about 10 1/2 inches
This is a strange journey for me because I am totally drawn in creating these adorable figures, just finished one and straight on to the next and have so many drawings and ideas for future creatures. However, as I am creating them I am constantly asking myself, why am I doing this? what is the reason behind making what is essentially a doll. They enchant me, each has a personality and a soul that didn’t exist before I started making them, but as the eyes are created something pulls me in and really touches me emotionally. Is each one displaying a facet of me? Painting, sketching and creating on paper and with paper has always been my passion, so to find myself manifesting in this way is a complete surprise and in some way makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable, in fact some days it is so strong that I am telling myself to go back to painting, but I just cannot pull myself away. This particular creative path right now will have a gift in it somewhere for sure, I must be doing this for a reason, so for now I shall just sit back and watch it all unfold and see where this journey takes me.
This particular doll is cloth, its arms and legs are jointed and his head is needle felted from Welsh hill’s sheep wool. The clothes are all hand stitched and hand knitted with vintage and found fabrics and hand dyed wool yarn. It was a joy to make, seeing it come to life in my hands was quite magical as it was if my little Persian cats Lilly and Ferdy had been reincarnated. Ferdy was a chinchilla and Lily Sealpoint, Long gone now though, I miss them.
now with ears!!
the last months since November have been packed full with all manner of things, visit to Wales. Fabulous lunch at The Greenhouse. London museums and gallery visits, the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy being one of the most inspirational I have seen in a long while. Firle church and an evening of music, words, dance and ceremony with Carolyn Hilllyer to see in the solstiice, and on the solstice a wonderful evening organised by a good friend Ali, journeying to sounds of a Mongolian throat singer and gong bath. Then of course Christmas and the handmade presents I usually do, this year it was books, hand made and hand bound. A new skill learnt which I love the precision of the bindings themselves. Sourdough breadmaking course at the Bicycle Bakery, which I made many tasty loaves Then it was needle felting families of dreaming mice, each one had a prayer for manifesting peace and serenity in all areas of life and then a fabulous sleepy dreaming bunny, this has now grown into a rabbit figure which has conjured up clothes, characters and a book. A fabulous christmas lunch of Haunch of Venison cooked to perfection by my daughter and an illuminated walk at Bedgebury which was quite spectacular All the while though there has been my daily practice, patterns and watercolour and collage.
Oh and of course it was my 70th birthday last Friday. I had a fabulous couple of days, so many lovely cards, flowers and messages. A gift from daughter and her partner, one for for each decade, so seven beautiful gifts including a poem that bought tears to my eyes. I also spent a lovely evening and breakfast walk along the seafront at Hastings after a night at The Laindons which I thoroughly recommend.
What it is like being 70? the best feeling in the world, freedom to do and be who you like, fabulous.
Here are a few glimpses of the past weeks
I am now on a new journey, a journey where I can devote my time to a creative daily practice of my own.
My days of designing interiors are now over, cannot believe I ran my own successful company for so long. My only sadness it that my mother died just weeks before it all began, she never saw me put my creative skills to good use, I know she would have been so very happy for me. There are many challenges in starting a business and the first few years were extremely tough, many times I was close to giving up but thankfully that strong will of mine saw me through. My mums words “where there is a will there is way” constantly rang through my head. I also also lived through the dawning of the digital age, apple mac was my first computer in the early 90’s with my first mobile phone and over the years the working practice of a designer became totally computer driven. Out went the drawing boards and the source library an in came drawing packages, illustrator, Cad and so on. Together with a great team we have designed, procured and installed projects the length and breadth of the country.
Will I miss it all? Right in this moment in time, I would say no definitely not, interior design sounds great but it comes with massive pressure, constant deadlines and right now I am so happy to leave it al behind. Will I miss it in the future, who knows, possibly, but I know that my own creative skills have taken a back seat for so long thats its time now for this to be the main part of my day.
just a few of the ways I have been expressing myself of late.
Another large project (day job) has at last come to fruition and with that comes the release of feeling I can breathe again, no pressure…….. and even closer to my goal of giving it all up for good.
today in my studio I tried out mono printing for the first time. What a great way to work, I love it and cannot wait to get back down there again today. Experimenting with inks, acrylics, alcohol, cutting stencils and the excitement of pulling the print, revealing such unexpected results. I am ,looking out for some good printmaking weekend courses, if anyone knows of any please let me know.
I am also working on a large piece, acrylic underpainting and now layering in oils. Intertwined shapes, at first large and as each subsequent layer they are becoming smaller and more defined, colours changing all the time. Sometimes clashing and full of vigour, sometimes much quieter and more sombre. Almost like a weather gauge of emotions. A journey I am enjoying
a great day in many ways, lunch by sea and a wonderful drive meandering along the country lanes to home. Shame I couldn’t see the lunar eclipse, but in my own way I honoured this special full moon this evening with a prayer for the land. I wrote it on small squares of paper and concealed them within layers of paint in a beautiful landscape.
This painting of Moel Hirradug has had several lives, three different attempts, one all green, one multicoloured and this one I think I like the best. Still feel the need to try again though, next time might be acrylics and pastel. This one is oil and it shows the iron age fort that sits atop. I have it on my friend’s authority that the view from the top is amazing, sadly I didnt even attempt it. Far too hot. The painting also depicts the parched earth, no rain now for 54 days.