Category Archives: a little bit country

Excursions and experimentation

It should be illegal to procreate between March 20 – April 10.  Because if you do your basic maths, you are going to land that child right in the middle of the Christmas and New Year festivities.  Not nice.  That poor mite will be born on a short, dark, cloudy day and who knows what that’s going to do to their personality as they develop.  They might grow up to be moody, a bit gnarly, much like this tree I snapped whilst on my birthday jaunt.  (Snapped, not in anger, but with my handy small camera).

gnarly

gnarly

Being born this time of year is like being hit twice with the ‘What should I do with this new year’ dilemma.  You get it on the slow crawl up to New Year’s and then again when you look at your shiny new year of you.  What to change?  What to improve upon?  What to keep doing more of?  I suppose if you make a decision for the New Year and don’t like what’s happening, you can quickly change tack on your birthday.  That would give me a couple of days for dithering.

Usually, I am good with a plan.  Ideas fly – too many to do something about – but usually there are a few good gems in there.  This year I felt uncharacteristically befuddled.  And now that I am thirty plus a handful of years, I do feel that I am entitled to use the word ‘befuddled.’  Whilst staring into the bleak winter day, clouds low, silver-greys looming, I thought to myself that perhaps it was time for a nap.  My other thought was that I needed to be kinder to myself, take it down a notch, rest well and use that extra space to contemplate new ideas.

And experimentation.  This is going to be my year to explore new ways of creating.  I’ve bought a whole lot of art gear from the states and am waiting in antici…pation for their arrival.  There will be new printing techniques to explore, and not just those involving fabric.  Yeah.  I know.  What a diversion.  Subject matter still yet to be decided.

There will also be excurions, facilitated by fellow adventurers Jimmy, Seal, Josey, and who ever else wants to come along for the ride.  Excursions to also be made wonderful by a lovely green, brown, and cream coloured thermos bought for me by the lovely Adrienne.

And so, that’s me, this me, moving into the new year of 2013 and *mumbles current age.*  Wish me luck.

Me and a little dog named Seal

Me and a little dog named Seal

 

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by definition, I shall change

You know the kind of person that shows up on time to things? Anything. You know, like work or social engagements or coffee dates with friends, etc, etc. I am not that person. You know the kind of person that looks ‘well put together’, matches in beautiful colour tones and just seems to breeze comfortably from one meeting to the next? She must exist. I’m sure I’ve spotted her out of the corner of my eye. Or perhaps she’s just the figment of a Hollywood imagination.

I know one thing. I am not that person.

Late. For most occasions. Sweaty. Disheveled. Out of breath because I’ve had to hurry to be less than my usual ten minutes late. Messy hair. Eye baggage and every other kind of baggage, oh yes, I’ll bring that to the meeting, too.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been looking into 2013 wondering what to change for that upcoming batch of 12 months. ‘Everything’ seems too large a task, but I haven’t even the foggiest of the smaller things. I thought perhaps that ‘arriving to things less flustered’ would be a good aim, until I realized that I am not the kind of person to pull that off.

Maybe I could do something new with my hair, like grow it out long and shiny, combed and beautiful. Maybe I could imagine a life of putting on lipstick and ensuring that one arrives un-muddied and nail polish un-chipped. I then look at my two lovely, playful Labradors settled next to my feet and know that the possibility of the previous sentence is not possible.

Maybe I could really have that cheery disposition my Twitter account boasts of, smiling graciously and wonderfully as life throws curve ball after curve ball in my direction. Maybe be more philosophical and forgiving of others and self.

Or maybe, possibly maybe, the way to step into 2013 is to accept all of my many flaws, embrace my boyish good looks and instead call them ‘gamine,’ be okay with my short scrappy hair and flustered state upon arrival. Perhaps I can rebrand what’s there. Flustered could mean ‘fresh faced and healthy glow’ and late could mean ‘so busy with all the many adventures of life it’s difficult to cram them all in so hey, I’m late because life’s exciting.’

I’m choosing to rebrand my brand of self as ‘something of a beautiful mess.’ It’s really the only way to avoid self loathing in Edinburgh in 2013.

‘Home’ is hard to define

Home.  Cue the whistles from ‘Home‘ by Edward Sharpe & the Magnectic Zeroes.

Today was my day away from work.  On Fridays, I work at home.  For most of my last several batches of weeks I have been teaching or rather, learning lessons.  Yes.  Sure.  I stand at the front and show examples of artworks, try to generate discussions, but in the end, I’m stuck in a room of a gaggle of people that are stuck in that hellish limbo of feeling like they’re not children, not adults, both, neither.  Oh those teenage years.

As I was not having very much luck with my Stockbridge screens (a problem of ink.  No worries.  I’ll sort it) I was thinking about what ‘home’ means.  Home.  One syllable.  Said in a sigh when you’ve reached that destination after having walked far too long in the rain.  ‘Home,’ said in relief after too many days in an airport in some foreign country because of a mistake. ‘Home,’ said when someone asks you where your studio is located.  You know.  To keep the overheads down.  We’re all trying to keep our heads above water.  Am I right?! *high fives the air*

In the last ten years, I have had 9 different addresses, and no, I’m not in the witness protection programme.  That can really confuse a person.  After so many moves, so frequently, some places used as stop-overs whilst a house sale and buy didn’t exactly join up.  Then there was that place you lived on your own after leaving your own square footage of house, the house you helped to buy; the one that you can no longer call home because of a thing called ‘separation’ then ‘divorce’ and a whole lot of time and space between those two words.  Did I say ‘you’?  I probably meant ‘me’.

So.  What is home.  Is home the place you have bought for your little self and your possessions?  A place to hang your photos and artworks (the ones you’ve accumulated along the path of life) and tea towels and hand towels and the other myriad of towels one must have in order to keep sane and tidy?  Is home the place where you feel relaxed and comfortable and can reveal all the many fascinating facets of your personality and no matter what face you show, you know you will always feel welcomed.  Is home where you keep your pets?  (If ‘yes’ to the last question, then Sarah, you’ve nailed it).

I’m having difficulties feeling at home.  It took me nearly 6 months to make the flat I rented feel like home.  It took time for me to settle my pictures just how I liked them.  Set up my work space so that it functioned seamlessly.  Make sure my cushions on the borrowed sofa were in colours that made me feel happy.  I took visual advice from another friend by tacking up a long string and hanging postcards and cards that mattered greatly to me, had special meaning, made my smile happen.  There was even a polaroid snap of young me age 6 grinning whilst holding my Snoopy fishing poll with a fish attached.

But I’ve moved on.  Those things have been taken down.  And they are living in a box in a storage locker somewhere in Leith.

I think I can pin down my ‘home’ to a white table sitting under a window somewhere in Edinburgh.  It’s my work table.  My artmaking universe contained in a plane of white painted wood.  I write from here.  I think from here.  I own practically nothing but this. (Oh, and far too many clothes and shoes, but I’m talking about furniture here.)  Josey used to sit at my feet whilst I worked, until I unfortunately had to shove boxes of art materials and fabrics in her space.  She was only slightly rejected, looked about, then hopped onto the sofa and seemed much happier there anyway.

‘Home’ has changed so frequently, I am having difficulties defining it right now.  Defining my space.  Right now it measures 1 metre x 1 metre.  I see my work table and sigh because I feel that I have been walking far too long in the rain.

Today is my 9th year anniversary of moving to the UK

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