Monday, 23 May 2016

Ugly


This year, so far, is one of unease for me.

I’m working hard to overcome my health issues which began last year.
I feel mentally drained as I question, doubt and worry about my future wellbeing as my immune system waxes and wanes.
Sometimes, it feels like one step forward and two steps back.
The cha-cha of life.



Jack is declining.
His fifteenth year is fraught with ailments and subsequent treatments. His sight is completely gone now, and his hearing with it.
His world is a dark, silent one.
The reassurance of my presence is more important than ever.
My little blue shadow has been attached to my side for so long, always in my sight, and my heart. It's as if he has always been there, a part of me.

I sleep little, for he lies at the side of my bed, and every snuffle and turn wakes my shallow slumber as I listen for any signs of his discomfort.
And his nightly wanderings of the house, has me ever behind him, guiding him back to bed, or outside should he need to go.
I'm on "Jack time" now, as his routine is of utmost importance.
He is a trooper, and after one of his bad days, he’ll come round with a renewed appetite and an old gentlemanly spring in his step.

But I know the day will come when he’ll let me know that he’s had enough. And, I’ve promised him, when that day comes, I’ll not let him linger just for my sake.



The hunt is on for a new home, as we renovate and prepare this house for sale.
How much does one do? Over capitalise and not recoup in sale? Do just enough, and risk losing potential buyers?

One real estate agent tells us to, “blow the budget on renovations - people here want a certain type of house”, another says, “don’t, as you won’t get the return”.
Or, “sell now, quickly, as the bubble will burst soon and you won’t get what you want”.

What we want.
That’s nebulous in this market.

Pressure builds and stress simmers.

Real estate prices continue to rise and rise, but our finances don’t rise to meet them.
Outrageous prices being asked for less than so-so properties.

My little dream of an acre or so, with a small humble cottage on a sunny plot with perhaps an old tree or two for shade in summer - just enough to grow a healthy garden of medicinal herbs and vegetables to sustain us and keep us well - is now fast becoming just that, a dream.  Nothing more.

My happiest days are spent in a garden, tending the earth… just like I once did.

Now, I battle depression, and fight to keep upright some days.
I spend too long looking back.
To the times when the earth and I seemed to work as a team… me - nurturing, nourishing, sowing and giving back to her, and she - bursting with health and vitality, showering her rewards.


I continue to dream of somewhere to create once more, a sanctuary. 
But my hopes dwindle.


I’m a simple soul.

I don’t ask for material riches - expensive cars, jewellery (of which I own none), designer apparel (I have but few op-shop sourced clothes) or exotic overseas holidays.

I don’t go out often. When I do, evidence of the dash for cash and gathering of wealth and material gains seem to shout in my face, and I am repelled.
I rarely watch TV anymore. Preferring to seek the programs or movies I want, rather than have the endlessly superficial jammed down my throat via my eyes.
It all seems so offensive.
Or, perhaps my tolerance level has been dialled way down to just above zero.



May.

A month of mixed emotion.

It is the month where autumn glows in tones of red, golds and burnished browns.
The coming cold fills me with a quiet joy.

But.

I was born on May 24th 1963.
My mother died in May - on Mothers Day 1986.

Thirteen days before my birthday.

For all the childhood trauma and abuse I endured, the loss of a mother is still huge.

I eternally yearn for a mother that never was – kind, gentle, loving, supportive. 

Every year, on Mothers Day, I am reminded of what I lost, yet never had.
It is not a joyous day for me. Try as I may to lay my thoughts aside.

So, as my birthday approaches each year - even more now as I age - I feel a deep melancholy.
I ache for a connection with a tribe I’ll never know.
I feel a need to belong to the ancestors of my mother’s European homeland.
Blood kinfolk.
To know their stories, so that I may weave a rich and varied life tapestry from fibres dipped in their - my - history.

But they're all gone.
Torn by war. Archives destroyed.
Tenuous threads that lead nowhere, only to sorrow and impasse, it is a futile pursuit.
Sections left un-stitched.
Emptiness remains.

Happy Mothers Day.  Happy Birthday.   Blah.



Life feels scattered, sometimes shattered and disconnected.

There are times when I feel terribly alone and disconsolate as I withdraw further from society.  It’s an odd feeling.  And unsettling.

I crave the need for solace and healing in the earth.
But for now, I must wait.
And hope.



Forgive my errant ramblings. I didn’t set out to say so much. But there it is.


To finish on a more positive note, I share what I have been creating in my studio.
Some wee folk you have seen, some not.

According to professional bear artists, “your first ten bears are your ugliest”.
That seems a little harsh and critical. But, who am I to argue with professionals.

So, here are some ten of my "uglies", in no particular order of creation.
They are beautiful to me.

I’ll let you be the judge.










Monday, 8 February 2016

Bear Folk


Visits to blogland have been fleeting, I’m afraid.
Personal ups and downs, home renovations and making bear folk have consumed my days.
Where did January slip away to?

I recently set up an Instagram account where I put up photos of my characters, and am humbled at the wonderful comments they’re getting. Who’d have thought?...

They have been very well received, and I’m so very glad that my departure from ceramics has not left a huge creative hole in me.
I will also be opening an online shop soon.

My craft is my only income, and as I will be attending fewer markets from now on, I am hoping that interest generated will lead to people loving my characters from near and far, and will want to adopt them into their hearts and their homes.

Already, sweet Madeleine has gone to a wonderful family in Western Australia.


 Madeleine


And one of my recent creations - a bunny named Alfie - sold soon after I put up a photo of him the other day.
He will be flying to a lovely lady in Queensland.
I have seen photos of her beautiful country property, and images of wild hares in the field from her kitchen window.
So, I’m sure wee Alfie will be waving hello to his distant kin from time to time. I just hope he doesn’t want to join them in the wilderness.
But, I think the thought of drinking tea from rose patterned teacups, and a bite of cake now and then, will entice him to stay… he already has a sweet tooth, as you can see from the photo I took the day after after I made him.


Alfie


Caught with his little paw in a bag of chocolates. "Taste testing" he told me…
What a cheeky boy he is  :)


My days are spent working towards the coming Easter market - the last one for me this year.
Perhaps I will attend at Christmas. But, as we will we preparing our house for sale later this year, frenetic market making may not be on the cards.

Wishing you all well, and I'll be sure to drop by and visit your blogs very soon.
I've missed you.






Friday, 15 January 2016

Farewell Alan Rickman





A man of great presence on stage and screen.
Outstanding, charismatic talent with a distinctive voice like rich, liquid honey.
Another legend gone at 69.
Too soon.
He will be missed.






Monday, 11 January 2016

Rest in Peace, David






There’s a starman waiting in the sky for you.
Ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust.
You’ll be a hero, forever and ever.....






Thursday, 31 December 2015

it's nearly time...


... to draw a veil over 2015 and welcome in 2016.






Here’s to fresh starts and bright beginnings.
Safe journeys and wonderful new ventures.
To good health and contented hearts.
Peace in our homes and throughout the world.

As the time draws near, I wish you a...

Happy New Year!



Much love to all my very dear blog friends ~ may this coming year treat you and your loved ones very well.








 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

'Tis the Season





Warm, wonderfully bright blessings everyone!


I wish you and your loved ones - furbabes included - a safe festive season filled with peace, love, joy and laughter, for such are the important things that create wonderful memories and are the best presents of all.

Bearhugs







Sunday, 6 December 2015

adversity and diversity


Phew! The big Christmas Art Market has come and gone.  And, after averaging three hours sleep per night for the past couple of weeks to meet the deadline, I can now get some quality snooze time.  Hopefully.




Lately, I've been working towards change.

This was the final time I would sell my ceramics.
For quite some time, anyway. One can never really say, "never".

Earlier this year, I developed a chronic lung condition which was, I believe, attributed to working with clay and glazes - especially as no other determining factors were involved.
Many ceramic/pottery materials can present serious health problems if/when used in less than ideal environments, and contain irritants – too many to list – with varying levels of toxicity which can impair lung function… temporarily or permanently.
My lungs have always been the “weakest” part of an otherwise strong body, so upon reflection, I’m not surprised that they were compromised, and it was most evident after glazing sessions.
Other people can work with clay and associated materials for their whole lives without ill effects, but for me, the stricture and shortness of breath, continual watery gurgle and deep, upper chest pain on inhale were definite warning signs.
As a result, I’ve struggled with impaired breathing for most of this year.
Some days, I couldn’t manage the short walk to the letterbox and back without wheezing like a seventy five year old smoker with emphysema.
Going on outings, which required walking any distance, was dependent on how I felt on the day... although, let's face it, roses and chocolate are a very enticing reason to get out of the house :)

Months of dreading lying in bed due to the pain, whistling and persistent coughing, left me exhausted, distressed and depressed.
I knew I was in trouble.
Stern advice from doctors to cease, or put on hold, my “occupation”, had to be accepted - grudgingly.
And, I’m not good at capitulation on someone else’s terms…

Gradual wrapping up of an art I thoroughly enjoyed, and also made money from, weighed heavily on my heart these past months.
But, the inability to breathe without restriction scared me more.
The removal of irritant materials has seen an improvement. Although, I’m not out of the woods yet. My lungs are still compromised – with good days and bad.
I know that healing is going to take time. And, healing with herbs is a much longer route to take – but, I firmly believe, is the better one for myself, rather than relying on harsh pharmaceuticals. It’s my choice to make.

In the meantime, I’ve been so incredibly grateful that I am able to transition from one artists medium to another. And, still work in 3D.
The ability to use my hands to mould and shape is what had me giddy when I set out with ceramics, and I despaired at the potential future lack of motility.
Artists gotta make…

Although, textiles - furry or otherwise - is a completely different “animal”.
The challenge to cut, sew and successfully stuff something which doesn’t end up looking like a mis-shapen blob monster, has been a trial.
Many trials.
Many mistakes.
Growing piles of grotesque prototype heads filled the corner of my sewing room – now studio.

It’s all in the pattern. Get that first step wrong, and the final result could have you howling in tears of frustration.
And it did.
On many occasions.
Because I chose to design my own characters, and not work from someone else’s pattern.
Typical for me. Always the hard path, not the one of least resistance.
But, more rewarding in the long run.

When I posted about Neil Gaiman’s quote on making mistakes in January, I really didn’t know I was headed down a diverse road paved with tactile, soft, furry fabrics, and away from clay.
But, when I look at my creatures, as they cheekily stare back at me from their shelf, awaiting final flourishes, my heart melts. And I’m converted. Eager to explore the possibilities.

Seriously, if anyone had said to me five years ago, that I would be making teddy bears - albeit in a unique vintage style for adult collectors only, rather than the typical stare-eyed, ubiquitous, furred childrens' toy - I would’ve laughed until my stomach hurt.
It really didn't seem like something I was at all interested in.

Life.

It’s full of challenges.

And change.



Copper, Madeleine and George









Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lost and Found







World weary, yet wise, from a life long lived.
Sporting threadbare patches from years of cradling hugs and comforting strokes when woken from bad dreams in the middle of the night.
Ears, tattered and torn, have kept many secrets whispered into them.
Silent tears absorbed by his now faded fur.
Worn seams, carefully stitched so as not to lose his fortitude… and his stuffing.
That knowing look - still there, long after the shiny twinkle has gone from his old boot button eyes.

Outgrown. Abandoned. A childhood relic, relegated to memory.
Consigned to an old hat box, placed within a wooden chest and stored in a cobwebbed corner.
Waiting. In the dark.
To one day be brought out into the light - and into the arms of another.
Touching the heart of the inner child.

Friends forever.


~


Introducing 'Hugo' ~ my latest creation.


More on his charming self, and others, coming up...






Saturday, 14 November 2015

Thinking of Paris






Shockingly sad news.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones.
Sending energies of healing and strength in this time of deep, dark sorrow.