Art and other things in 2019

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Followers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet of late. I wasn’t feeling particularly wordy before Christmas, and things have been bit busy since. However, I am feeling quite a bit better now, and I’m going to try to get back to more regular posting from now on. Posting is still likely to be inconsistent for the next 6 weeks or or so, as I’ll be moving house, which will be disruptive. We’ve made a decision to move into the centre of town which will be much closer to work, but more expensive. I’ve also needed to go back to full time working for the time being as there is too much to do at work for me on 4 days a week at the moment. That will help with the cost of things, but will eat into my creative time. I think the move will make life a lot easier. There will be no train travel, which is increasingly expensive, inconsistent, and stressful, and more time in the evenings for creative things. There will also be more time for swimming and climbing with my sister, when I don’t need to send an hour travelling each way anymore.

I have two big creative projects planned this year. I’ll be trying to finish my film, and trying to write my novel. I’ll be posting bits and pieces of both here, along with another whimsical arts projects I get going with on the way. I hope that you will let me know if you like any of this as we go along. I’ll also be getting back to the ‘Objects with Meaning’ Project. Moving house is a good time to look at things, throw bits out, and remember why you keep the things that you do.

On that note I’m going to finish off by directing you to another blog that has really been embracing an ‘Objects with Meaning’ theme recently. One Woman on a Journey has recently been making posts about objects she has found in her own house at she ‘declutters’. Please go over there and read these lovely posts about Captain Ted Funnel, a special wine glass, and a hook.

I also make art. You can things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying.

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Reasons to be grateful #9 – misty winter sunsets like these

I’m at home with my parents this weekend. We headed out for a walk in the woods rather later than I would have preferred today due to various reasons and for the first few moments of the walk I was kind of annoyed.

But if we had left earlier we would have missed this wonderful misty wintery sun setting over the Severn estuary in the Cotswolds.

So we were lucky to be late today.

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Thinking about next year

I have been a bit quiet of late. I’ve been really tired and had to concentrate my energies of doing just a few things rather than the usual broader scope of stuff I get involved in. However I’ve not been sitting around doing nothing. I have begun to write a novel that has been hanging around in my head for several years now, and am not so far off finishing my film now. I’ve also enjoyed seeing some art recently, and particularly enjoyed the chunks of arctic ice that were outside of the Tate Modern for a short while (see photos here).

I’m hoping with the coming of the new year I’ll be feeling a bit more like myself again. Keeping that in mind I’ve been thinking a bit about when next year has in store. We’ll be moving house in February, to be closer to work. The rationale is that this will cut down on travel time and be a bit less stressful, although more expensive. It looks very likely that we’ll also be starting IVF later in the year so that is something to get mentally and physically prepared for. With that in mind I have more swimming, climbing and walking planned, and maybe a bit of running too. How about you?

Creatively I have quite a few things planning. I’m hoping to wrap up my film this year and get a draft done of my novel (or novella, I’m not sure how long it will be). I’m thinking about publishing some short sections here – is that something you would like to read? I’m also planning more art and the beginnings of an animated story. So that’s plenty to be getting on with.

I hope you have all had a good festive break and are looking forwards to the new year.

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Reasons to be greatful #8 – autumn sunshine

It’s been a bit quiet over here recently. I’ve been trying to manage some pretty rubbish fatigue, which I think may be linked to my on going efforts to try to balance out my hormones and manage my PCOS through changes to my diet and exercise. At the moment it feels a bit like trying to deal with infertility strips out many of life’s pleasures. At least the kind of pleasures that you put in your mouth. I’ve almost stopped boozing completely (and I was a very British drinker), coffee is on its way out and cakes and chocolate have to go too.

But there is an upside. Autumn is here, bringing with it some light, crisp days that make everything beautiful.

This is also the season of rich red colours. Turning leaves and ripening berries abound. And delicate mushrooms too.

Last weekend I was in the Cotswolds with my parents and my fiance. We were able to get out into the woods for the afternoon, to stumble through the leaves and catch a few hours of that delicate warm sunshine.

Some people I know find autumn and winter a depressing time. The light is fading. The leaves fall and begin to decay. Personally I love autumn and winter. Creatively, I find much more to be inspired by in autumn, than I do in the heavy hot days of summer. I feel it is a time of creative and natural renewal. The falling leaves create a thick and rich mulch in preparation for next year’s green shoots. I am greatful for the fresh cool air and crisp bright sunshine of autumn in the British country side.

I also make art. You can things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying.

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Open water swimming and infertility

So the title of this post suggests there may be some proven link between open water swimming and (in) fertility. As far as I know, ‘officially’, there isn’t one. But I have been connecting the two things in my mind for a little while now and, if you would oblige me, I wanted to muse on that a little bit.

The photo above is of my sister and myself just after finishing the Haver Castle 5km swim last weekend. The water was really cold for us (as fair weather swimmers!) which may have contributed something to my sister whipping round her first 5km in around 1 he 45 mins, and a PB for me at 1 hour 51. Numb toes are a good motivator for a quick finish. The setting at Haver Castle is rather beautiful to look at from out of the water, but it’s not the nicest place to actually swim. It turns out that the lake at Haver Castle is pretty shallow and there is a very thick layer of squidgy mud covering the bottom of the lake. If 50 of people are swimming in front of you (I like to take a slow position at the back, doing breast stroke so I can appreciate the view) they churn the water up so it’s a dirty swim. It’s difficult to get a firm footing on the floor of the lake to adjust goggles, (or cough up some of that dirty water) and too shallow to tread water. I’m glad we did this one but probably won’t rush back to do it again.

While I was swimming (after my lungs got used to the cold and agreed to work again) I was thinking a bit about the changing relationship I have with my body. I think when I was younger I may have been a bit more interested in what it looked like. Now I’m more interested in what I can (and can’t) get it to do. So I can get it to swim me around a chilly muddy lake a couple of times. But so far I’ve not coaxed it (either with or without medical intervention) into making a baby.

When you are having treatment for something like infertility a strange thing happens in that you become more aware of what is (or isn’t) happening in your body, while at the same time feeling less control over that situation. This week I’ve been learning more about the link between exercise and better health for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and how regular exercise and good diet can help settle some of those wayward hormones. I’ve been trying more consciously to do the things I know that would support my body through some of the treatments I’ve been having. Its true that I feel better when I’m doing some training for something than when I skip out on exercise. Maybe the link between swimming and fertility isnt just in my mind, but a reality in my body too.

I also make art. You can things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying.

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Reasons to be greatful #7 – my boyfriend bought me a new coat

It’s still pretty warm in the UK at the moment but my boyfriend, ever the one to spot a bargain, bought me this lovely new coat.

It is made by an ethical company called Hoodlamb (check them out here). They are an ethical company who make clothing out of organic and recyled materials, including hemp.

I’d like to say this was the reason I loved it. It’s not. I just like that I kind of look like a ruffled polar bear.

I also make art. You can things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying.

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Friday fun

I wanted to share a quick pic of these origami elephants that I made last week for my boyfriend’s birthday. My normal creative MO is cutting paper, but I didn’t start there. Several years ago I became interested in paper art forms through trying my hand at origami. I really loved the elegance of the forms you can create through simply folding paper.

I moved on to paper cutting after seeing an exhibition in the Tate Modern by Matisse. His late work included very large organic shapes cut from large vibrantly coloured pieces of paper. To begin with I was interested in the different silhouettes I could create using bold and contrasting colours. More recently I have been exploring different textures and patterns, including using cloth that has been coated in PVA glue. My practice continues to evolve.

But now and again I try my hand at origami again to make my brain work differently. It’s more like art as a puzzle for me as I still need to follow other people’s patterns. The elephants here were folded from this lovely pattern at spruce crafts.

I also make art. You can things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying.

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