DIY Sould repair and ‘Womb Art’ – does anyone really want to see that?

I think I have been putting off posting this for quite some time because I’m really not sure who would want to see this kind of thing. I had been working on a little series of pieces called DIY soul repair, which had included a skull and a heart. I was thinking about a kind of gothic steam punky series that would involve bones and other bodily organs. And then I started having all sorts of tests and treatments for infertility and the series itself felt more relevant. So I felt I had to get a uterus involved. So this third piece in the series now looks like this (available on things on redbubble here).

Still F__king perfect_blue

So I was actually pretty happy with the way that turned out. But I also felt it was a bit depressing, so I took photos the white paper cutouts that I used as stencils for the red paper parts on this piece and used the outline of these to ‘cut’ other photos of papercut flowers I have to create something a bit more positive, which turned out like this (available on things on redbubble here), which I kind of like because if feels a bit cheeky and a bit more positive given the current empty state of my own uterus.

The lady garden 2 red

So I am not really sure if anyone would be into this kind of thing, but here it is, anyway. I think I kind of enjoyed making these for me anyway so I’m not bothered if no one else is interested.

I also make non uterus related 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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Objects with meaning #22 – my ‘first’ Engagement ring

When I first started the “Objects with Meaning’ series I had a stack of photos left over from an arts project I did some time ago that I felt I could give a second life to. They have run out now. I have plenty more objects to talk, but posts in this series are likely to be a bit more sporadic from now on as I am not always great at time management. If you would like to contribute your own ‘Object with Meaning’ like Scar, Laurie, and Blue Velvet Jacket have (if you have not read these posts already, I thoroughly reccomend them), I would really welcome that. Please write your post, and then make sure to let me know you have done so in a comment down below. I will link it in a future post.

So this is my ‘first’ engagement ring. My partner and I got engaged in January this year while taking a few days away in Cambridge. My boyfriend had made a really good effort at convincing me before hand that he didnt believe in marriage, so when he proposed I was a) completely suprised, and b) suspicious enough to check with him several times that he wasn’t just pulling my leg. The BF had carefully planned how it was all going to happen, which involved a romantic walk through Cambridge to a craft market where a silver smith works with recycled silver to make bespoke pieces. But things never quite go as planned. We did have the romantic walk but it was just before Valentines Day and the silversmith was not there because he was busy in his studio working through a pile of Valentine orders. We then walked around Cambridge looking at other jewelers, but did not like anything we saw. Finally we went to the regular market in the town centre and bought this beauty for less than 20 pounds stirling. It was meant to be a stand in for the ‘real’ thing, but I am still wearing it 8 months later. I think the stone may actually be plastic, rather than real amber, although we cannot tell for sure. We are a bit worried that it is glued together and may not stand the test of time.

And I love it. I really like the elfish style of the silver work and how unusual it is. My fiance and I are taking a London Holiday this week and next, which is easy as we live in London, and are going to have a look for the ‘real’ one this week. But I am not sure I will find one I like better than this.

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 #6 – swimming with my sister

SWIA0424-20x30There hasn’t been a huge amount of activity on this blog for a week or more as I’m a bit exhausted and taking a bit of down time. However, Laurie from the lovely blog Meditations in Motion posted this post a few days ago which included a very kind write up of me and the magpie blog. It reminded me of the picture above which I had wanted to post for a while, mostly with her in mind. She writes very well about her experiences of running distance races. I’m not a distance runner, but I am a distance swimmer.

I started swimming longer distances last year, at a similar time as I began looking having tests and treatment for infertility. It was also about the time that my sister and I started swimming regularly together. The photo above is from the Great East Swim at Alton Water which happend back in June – it’s of me and my sister, finishing a 2 mile swim together (I’m the bigger, more sausage shaped one!). My sister is faster than me, but I have the edge when it comes to stamina. In that swim in particular she flew off at the start but I caught up at around the 1.5 mile mark and we swam the final half mile next to each other. In these group swims everyone wears the same coloured hat, and it can be difficult to find another person if you dont start together, so we got really lucky. At the end we got out of the water together, and finished just one second apart. We had a great swim that day, mostly becaue we got to finish together.

My sister and I swam a lot as kids, but during our early adulthood we lived in different places and I certainly took big breaks from swimming at times. My sister lived abroad for 4 years, and moved back to London two years ago. Soon after that we began swimming together regulalry when we could. Its been really great as we never really spent that kind of regular time together as adults before. She was one of the first people I spoke to about my infertility, which was kind of suprising because I’m not really a talker when it comes to difficult things. I am greatful that we had swimming to come back to together. It made me think about how it is worth spending the time establishing yourself in a physical hobby or sport when things are going well. Having something physically challenging (that you enjoy moderate progress in) to indulge in when things feel a bit dark is a very helpful thing indeed. I have just signed myself up for a 9 km swim next year in the Big Welsh Swim. This will be the longest distance I have to date. I am looking forward to traing with her for that.

I am also greatful to Laurie for prompting me to write this post and for her supportive messages over the last few months.

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.

Posted in gratitude, infertility, mental health, swimming | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Blogging – taking some down time

Things aren’t often noisy over here on Magpie, but they’ve been a bit quieter than usual. I’ve been having a bit of an emotional slump, which I think are related to the hormone injections I’ve been having as part of the fertility treatment. I’ve been quite flat. As a consequence I haven’t really had much to say. My intellectual muscles aren’t really engaged right now.

When not in work I have found myself drawn to a more physical existence. Pottering in the garden, making sure everything has had enough water in our uncharacteristically hot summer, and picking courgettes, which seem to be doing well while everything else wilts. Swimming in the Serpentine Lido. Drawing with pencils on paper. Cutting up bits of cloth (soaked in watered down glue to prevent the edges fraying) and paper into new shapes. Arranging and rearranging things so experiment with different forms and colours. Anything that I can touch with my hands, anything with texture.

The online world feels a bit more unreal than usual to me at the moment. A little less engaging than it has been in the past. I am sure it will pass and I’ll have a bit more to say. Soon.

Like what you see? 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

Posted in Art, Craft, creative work, infertility, wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Reasons to be greatful #5 – in this very hot summer we have some rain.

I’ve been finding the heat pretty difficult to handle this week. Yesterday afternoon our seemingly neverending dry spell finally broke. We had a little thunder storm and a couple of hours of on-off rain. I don’t work on a Friday – it’s normally my day for doing creative things. I was finding it difficult to get my brain moving on any thing yesterday. I wasn’t as productive as I had hoped to be.

Then the weather broke. I coukd see the clouds gathering outside, and then the rumble of near by thunder, a flash that could be lightning. I took myself out into the garden and waited for the rain to fall. And it did. Lightly at first, then big fat, delicious water droplets that soaked into my T shirt and covered the ground. I felt cold for the first time in weeks. Wonderful.

Like what you see? 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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Veg from the garden

A handful of veggies from the garden went into my dinner this evening. Looks like my evening watering sessions have paid off a little bit.

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Thinking of parallel futures

It’s been really hot in the UK over the last month and I don’t do particularly well in the heat. I love spring and autumn, have a good bash at enjoying myself in winter, but summer is not my friend. Friends at work casually joke, on a regular basis, that I should move to Norway, or Iceland. The North pole maybe. In previous years I’ve got on a bit better because we traditionally have awful, overcast summers in the UK. Not this year – a never ending heatwave. I have spent the last two weeks taking FSH injections so I am sure the external influence on my hormones is not helping my mood. I run from grumpy to gloomy and back again. Let’s just say that’s not the most fun thing ever for my fiancé to deal with. I dream of swimming, all the time.

I have been thinking over the last few weeks and months about how the experience of infertility is pushing me to consider parallel futures on a fairly constant basis. I’ve always been a bit of a fan of the parallel universe, alternative future genre of sci-fi. I am finding that while actively having fertility treatment my eye is on two possible futures a lot of the time. My effort goes into living life as normal, in making plans for fun things and future challenges, but my mind drifts off to consider other possibilities. Next year I will swim a 10km event, or I will be looking after a baby. Next year I will work on several interesting projects at work, or I will be looking after a baby.

We made a conscious decision not to stop making longer term plans, not to reduce our world to the single pursuit of making a baby. We plan trips, I pay entry fees to swimming events and do a bit of training. I work out what kind of swimming body I will need to swim a marathon swim next year, and (loosely) plan to train for that. All the while I know that a pregnant body would be something quite different, it would not be making a 10k trip around a cool lake next summer. We’ve been doing this fertility thing for a while now. It’s not been working. A heavy pregnant body doesn’t feel like it could be a real thing for me. Yet I plan for that too.

Like what you see? 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.

Posted in infertility | Tagged , , | 4 Comments