Sunday, 3 January 2016
2016 and a bit of unleashing
the funny thing about having all my DNA from northern bloodstreams is that even though i live in the deep south where it is presently summer, in December my mind often goes into winter mode, especially in the days between the Solstice and the New Year
i haven't been able to fire up the dye cauldron : it's too dry and windy to risk it in the studio (for fear of the odd spark) and too hot to bring it all inside. i wouldn't mind but there are others in the house who will. so bundles are sitting soaking in a cauldron full of leaves, water and a bit of black iron dust i found when i was cleaning the gutters. i'll have to do something with it soon though because it's beginning to bubble and looking more than a little Shakespearian.
which brings me to the subject of writing, dressmaking and other sedentary pursuits...all of which have contributed in recent years to my stacking on rather a lot of chubb. it was all very well for my Grandfather to say that women shouldn't have corners and i don't mind being slightly insulated but presently i am feeling like a sausage roll. in case you don't know what that it, in Australia it is a short thick handful of disgusting meat offcuts that have been ground into an unrecognisable pulp, padded by 50% of the weight in sawdust and wrapped in a thick layer of greasy pastry. not pretty.
there are a number of contributing factors. due to invasive sheep, free-ranging chickens, extensive travelling and the ongoing/increasing dryness of our region, i no longer tend a garden. in its heyday it was glorious and i spent hours in it digging and weeding and marvelling at my collection of Bourbon roses. gardening is so much more fun than going to the gym. but now it's a dustbowl and it's all i can do to keep the lemon tree alive with washing up water.
writing...of books and subsequently in various social media doesn't burn up much energy either. it requires sitting down, though in its defence it also requires walking, as walking is the best thinking time and clears the mind allowing ideas to float in. writing also requires one to read, another sedentary occupation.
the book i devoured yesterday, "The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill" not only gave me the required daily six minutes of laughter for good health but also the following lines from the man himself, in regard to his only novel 'Savrola'
"i have consistently urged my friends to abstain from reading it"
as some of you know i have been writing and rewriting a work of fiction for some years.
these recent days of reflection have helped me realise that sometimes writing should just be regarded as therapy and maybe my "novel writing" has served that very purpose and could now be let go. a good painter knows when to stop. a good writer should, too. as Colin Firth's character in Love Actually said "it's not bloody Shakespeare!" again, i'm waiting for good burning weather.
i'm also rethinking how much "hand-making for anonymous selling" i'm going to do in future. i love making work for exhibitions where i can create an environment and tell a story by setting a scene. but sitting for hours hand-making dresses and stuffing them into boxes and sending them off across the whirled and never knowing on whom they are going to finish up is feeling increasingly unsatisfactory, so that is something that may change too. although there WILL be a one-night exhibition of work for sale offered at Maiwa in September this year, on the evening when i shall give a talk prior to class. i'm looking forward to that because i love being able to share in people's reactions to the work (the link will take you to their mailing list sign up page) and to be able to assure them that they have permission to modify, mend, overdye and so on
and now back to that chubb. i decided to begin to deal with it by acquiring a water-rower and setting it up in my bedroom. it's an exercise machine that makes a satisfactory swishing noise because the resistance is provided by a tank of water. i can row (while Kubbi continues her beauty sleep on my bed and my cat Martha watches me with unblinking disapproval) and if i close my eyes i can imagine rowing on a river somewhere, or on a beautiful pond. this morning i rowed halfway up Lake Morey in my mind with no risk at all of turning an ankle on our gravel road, something that has been happening with increasing frequency when i go running. yesterday i was rowing on the Tay, at slackwater of course. tomorrow i might row in the Louisiana swamps. the good thing is i won't have to watch out for alligators. i think i may just have found the perfect Sagittarian meditation practice.
wishing you all insights and clarity as you step into this new year...which i'm thinking of as a '9' year cos
and i do like the number 9!
what are you letting go, what are your aspirations?
PS i'm sorry i cannot recall who took the photo above, some time in 2010 or 2011 i think. drop me a line if it's yours and i shall add the photo credit pronto