A path well trodden, but how much longer will it be?

Coming here to the North of Kefalonia  it always felt like I was coming home, arriving at the airport, the warm moist air enveloping me as I take the first step from the air conditioned cabin. The familiar face of Makis greeting me and taking my case to the taxi, the breathtaking views as we climb north driving ever higher.   I have been coming twice a year now for 6 years, a long time for me but for others I have met here this is nothing, Some people have been coming to Kefalonia for 16-20 years or more.    The farmhouse always held me, its wild gardens, olive groves, views across the ionian seas to Ithica, the wildlife,  the chickens and goats, this was a sanctuary away from the deadlines and constant pressure that hounded me  when back in the uk.   Now that the pressure is off  I wondered if returning to Kefalonia this time would feel different as I am no longer fleeing the pressure of trying to spin all the plates in the air, run a home, a business, staff, family issues and so on.  Its doubly hard when there is nobody to share this burden with me.  Designing interiors, mixing colours and textures, choosing original artworks, designing my own furniture pieces it gave me the  best feeling in the world and I was in my element, but the procurement  and installation , working along side architects, and building contractors and the male dominated construction industry who wouldnt know good design if it bit on the bum, all this side of designing took away that feeling completely.  Even though I won awards and various accolades it just wasnt enough to keep me fighting the design battles anymore.

So her  I am and  pleased to say that the feelings, even though the first two weeks have been in the coldest ever apparently, haven’t changed a bit,  I still love the island, well the norther part anyway, south more built up and busier.   Guess the one thing that has changed  is the longing to live here.  For one ,I do not like the fierce summer heat, so July and August would be a definite no no for me and two, I have found the uk version of northern Kefalonia, its wildness, rugged cliffs and coves, forest and quiet windy roads where I feel drawn to make my permanent home.   Still visiting Evreti, Kefalonia for 2-3 months each year I can have the best of both worlds, and still continue to travel and explore the uk and of course spend time manifesting creative objects into the world.

Of course with the advancing years, 70 last January, there is that little conumdrum of how much should I be spending?  how long will my money have to last, how long will I be walking in this world?  Something one never considers when younger, there is always decades to enjoy, thing to try out and if mistakes are made, plenty of time to put it right.  Now though decisions seem more important to make as not time left to rectify anything. Do I say to myself another 15 years, divide it up and spend the said sum each year?  Do I buy a house with an income, (holiday rental cottages} and run it as a small business?  Guess I am lucky that my business was successful and have these kind of issues to contend with.  I am not having the live on a uk state pension, the lowest in the whole of Europe!  Actually there was no luck, I gave my all to my company, blood sweat and tears to make it successful!  All I know is that this is whole new chapter in my life, one where for once I have the total freedom to choose, a real adventure awaits and I am very excited to watch each day unfolds and just where this path will take me

A few pics of the past weeks

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another creature comes to life, no.5

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.

 

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now with ears!!

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A lot has happened since my last post

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

Hopefully a more consistent approach from now on

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.

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Layers and patterns

I started a painting last week, creating a layer each day, no particular idea in mind just something to reflect my day.  Its interesting to see how the layers created started of fairly dark. cool colours and as each day went by the layers became brighter and warmer.   I felt today the painting complete, feeling red I started something else

Red ink, paint brush, calligraphy pen, scalpel, steel rule and matt medium.  Making various stripes of different thickness and angles I then cut into strips and repasted back in my sketch book.  Wished I had waterproof ink as they mat medium smudged the ted lines, but hey ho, I like the way it turned out.  Can see more experiments on the horizonLove the patterns that emerged

 

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colour at the jerwood

Friday a really sunny day and took myself of to Hastings and my usual ritual of brunch at the Jerwood Gallery.  Sitting outside on the terrace looking out to sea, the sun streaming down felt relaxed and far away from work related issues.    Great food, great view and of course the paintings which I always come away from feeling energised with all kinds of inspired thoughts and feelings

This time I came back with a fish, a fresh caught  sole for my dinner, amazing price of £2, together with some asparagus, home made hollandaise, plenty of lemon, delicious !!

Here are some colours I especially like, one of the them by Duncan Grant, all have some association with the local area and all the colour combination will have been absorbed like a sponge and then squeezed out into my next project.

 

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Klimt, Kaffe und Kuchen

Klimt, Kaffe und Kuchen in that order.  This is how my long weekend in Vienna panned out.  The city made a great impact on my senses, although very humid and hot my daughter and I walked to all the shrines to the master painter Gustav Klimt.  I have seen many of his works ten years ago at the Tate Liverpool exhibition, but seeing the Beethoven frieze in situ within the Secession building in Vienna gave me goosebumps.  I think it’s not only the works of art, it’s the history, the art nouveau period, the lifestyle, the history of some of the paintings belonging to wealthy jewish families and then stolen by the Nazis.

The Kiss, or at least a copy of it was bought for me on the occasion of my second wedding anniversary, I fell in love it as did thousands of others at the time 1971.  I vowed then that one day I would visit Vienna, but I never though it would take me this long !!!  Seeing the Kiss in the flesh, I cannot say it was a disappointment far from it, but because I have seen it everywhere for years it had slightly lost its allure, it still was amazing to see his mark making up close, it was not as fine as I had imagined but standing back from it, exquisite, they all were, including some landscapes, especially those at the Leopold Museum.  This museum had a wondrous collection that we walked around for a long time, Picasso, Richter, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Munch and a small amount of Klimt’s sketches.  From what I understand a lot of them are being prepared for and exhibition in london later this year.

The Vienna Riding school and the amazing arena setting, tall ceilings, huge tall columns and chandeliers.  Horse and riders are so elegant.  The large parks and squares, large wide streets along with interesting winding lanes, the winter palace with its splendid arches and sculptures, this is a city to remember, I would love to go back

After all the walking, 1300 steps each day I felt I deserved a treat so it was a trip to a Viennese coffee-house for Kaffe und Kuchen and it didn’t fail to delight

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