Monday, May 23, 2011

Tea, guinnea pigs, pompoms, fairies, and a rainy day weekend

Oh thank god for rainy days!!!!! : ) I have to say that quietly, because I am in Ireland, the true home of rainy days, and not everyone is enjoying the weather presently.
I am though. Its kept us in on this first weekend at home for a while. I have been so busy between studio, school and other commitments that I have hardly come up for air, and that never suits me too well. Now long lengthy tea days do. And I mean real tea making with pot warming, tea cozies and refills: ) that is a tea day.

Madeleine is choosing her tea, she always goes for liquorice every time but still likes to browse

So we unusually didn't make it into the woods this weekend but we did make tea and craft and be together, which was just as lovely and just what we needed. 
I cant go a moment further though without mentioning our two new additions to the household. Patches and Nutmeg arrived a couple of days before Madeleine's birthday in April, we have quickly become friends and Madeleine has assumed the role of Mother, asking me repeatedly if I think, they think, she is their mother. She speaks to them with a Mary Poppins like tone, like, "Come along now little guinnea pigs", and brings them for little adventures around the house, or makes them treasure hunts of carrots and cucumber under the couch or behind a shoe: ) She especially likes laying on the floor and places them on her chest so they can hear her heart, I think I may have encouraged that by doing the same with her. 

We discovered on You tube that guinnea pigs do like a luke warm bath with rub down and Madeleine has been very enthusiastic to say the least about doing this. 

Yesterday was the day!! They weren't so keen on the idea, but did settle down after a bit of cuddling in the towel, and do look remarkably fluffier today. 
They will be well loved little pigs and although they may have to endure a moment or two in a dolls pram or in Madeleine's dolls house as furry visitors, I think they should have a good life here.

Other weekend pursuits was POMPOM making, Does pompom need capital letters? Such a great sounding word and soooo reminiscent of childhood days. I was making a hat, which was ordered last week and a pompom was most importantly requested. I thought we should make two and Madeleine agreed, helping to make one for her own hat.

below is said hat completed- I think I love the pompoms,  I also think I might be trying to find reasons to write POMPOM.

I edged it with some beautiful hand spun wool from The States. I found it in the bottom of my yarn basket and there was just enough to finish this in hand spun beauty. I remember the spinner called this yarn Dawn on New Snow. Its gorgeous to work with, if a little unwieldy. The main yarn was supplied to me by the buyer, a lovely Mom and Artist herself from School.

In the evening the wind roared around the stone corners of this home and trees bent and pulled up again. their new leaves shimmering wildly to hold on. We watched from upstairs, its been a while since the wind has blown so strongly. We can see the tops of the linden tree in the centre of the village from where we sleep. 

I was getting the feeling we were in for stormy evening, which made all the more sense to stay cozy as we were and allow the sky to be so loudly if it need be. Being in the crafty mood I got out the sewing machine, intending to start curtains for my kitchen, which I have still not gotten around to though I have lived here nearing two years. But, Madeleine had different ideas and I decided we could set ourselves up for a sewing sunday morning and we did, we got the bobbins and spools, fabric and ribbons and my trusty singer machine which I have had since I was 15: )
Its a fickle machine, only works when it really wants to. I have to stay calm and speak nicely to it, otherwise the tension gets all screwed up and it spits out all sorts of tangled messes of thread and ruffled fabrics.

Slowly sunday awoke us and we meandered through breakfast, me still on my detox/raw/caveman/ wanting to get off sugar diet which consists of lots of fresh juices and gorgeous salads, nuts other good things raw, but no dark chocolate sadly. Madeleine had a bowl of honey pops contrastingly.

To sewing!!! A lovely friend gave Madeleine a wee box for sewing for her birthday, stashed with some wool felt, beads, buttons, embroidery threads, and she was more than ready to use them. We set about making a brooch for her, in felt and bead and thread. She wanted to make a moon fairy, and it so happened that Mia had put a crescent moon button in there that made a perfect face. 

We machined the dress and arms, Madeleine having her very first go at pushing the material through and cutting threads, We then needle felted her white hair, as only a moon fairy should have. 

To my amazement Maddy blanket stitched the edges onto a backing where we had sewed on a safety pin. 
She has been learning sewing these last couple of months in school. I am so delighted at this part of her education as you can well imagine and its great emphasis on handwork. I love the thought that so much of it will be natural to her, a part of being.

I pulled out one of my UFO's ( unfinished objects), A Bag O' The Woods I like to call it. It will be my bag for little sketchbook, penknife, apple and whatever else I pick up along the way. I am thinking of making it with straps for the bike, so it will attach on to the front and a shoulder strap too for walking days. I started in winter and perhaps will finish it by summer. Here it is below with handsome heads of lettuce from Jim on the market in Killaloe. 
Its leaves and shapes are appliqued scraps of felt left over from my crown making, sewn onto boiled wool, and next the lining.

Well now I look out the window and see the sun is breaking through on my rainy monday and that entices me out to walk in the woods, to walk to the studio and draw before collecting M. 
What a log today for one weekend, and all the other days between will come another day, maybe in May. I love to write here, I get to write and spin words, share my little way back to art, and the lightness of being that comes these days, quite unexpectedly I assure you. 

Thank you dear reader and for all the lovely responses on facebook, by face and spoken word, and email, and here too. Its a lovely thing to share experience, thats another days blog though and I have a sun to catch.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Art is Coming Home

I think Art is coming home. Its making a huge and magnificent full Circle.

Art must have begun with a yearning, a longing to express like dreams and visions, transferring and translating the experience of life for all of us to see. I am so moved by what I see as so much socially engaged and aware art making, and offering around me these days. Finally it seems art can stand up on its own two feet again without the heavy weight of commodity alone.
Maybe there are two houses of art making. That which is decorative and that which moves to decorate your soul. We need so much more of the latter, and of course nothing wrong with the former, it enhances life after all.
But let artists fully be the translators of the depths of being, let us lay it out for on the walls of our cities and in sculpture on our lands or let us do performances that transfer an aliveness of a moment of being from one to another. Like shamans, like the original artists, who valued art for its ability to transcend, artists all over the world now are trying to inspire and uplift society from its complacency of how things are. Life is here to be lived and honored, art can do that in a most intuitive and human way.

Here is two projects that I have come to hear about these last few weeks that have me inspired to say the least.

Sing out with Strings a community project set up by the Irish Chamber Orchestra based in Limerick, not too far from here, I have heard such great news about this project and its far reaching and positive effects.

And here is Ludique a new body of work by Aideen Barry placed in a primary school in the Padraic Pearse home in Dublin. This work is permanent and made specifically for the space.

 I feel I have finally reached that compelling part of me again, that breathes with a drawing and smiles with every mark. If I can keep up this practice of getting to the studio in the woods, I am welcoming the practice so far. When I am there I am completely focused, its wonderful. Perhaps one day, the work will ask me to bring it out and it will achieve something in the doing of that. That my art could inspire someone with the sense of the majesty of being, is all I could ever ask for in working.

So many artists have done this for me.

Just this weekend, a dear old friend ( young and beautiful friend) came to visit. She is an artist driven more than any other I know.
She traverses the oceans on artists residencies and finds her self in all kinds of incredibly creative spaces, where  great art has been made. We chatted late into the night on Saturday and I even had a couple of glasses of wine( my first since Christmas: ), drunk of course on my first glass.
As we discussed our present positions in life, we realized we had come to some similar conclusions. That we must make art because its important. Its as simple as that, and artists must be supported in doing so. Arts importance is so misunderstood. Oh to be patient not passive( there is an evolution to all things) as we can continue to legitimize or better still sanctify, if we could, the role of artists in community and society. I feel it in my bones though, that art is making such an impact socially like never before. In your library, gallery, museum, school, your festivals, city halls, art is coming out in all its generosity, even to our homes. Oh If only I could be a rich patron ( another dream job, I must be making a list now)

My Friend Aideen actively works for bettering the support and understanding of artists and does so through her work, both in art making, her teaching and writing. Such a pleasure it was to speak to her about such things and feel the desire again to do what I love to do.

Another wise friend lately described all the pain of life like a pile of compost: ) and that some day I can turn it and have a rich soil in which to plant my new life. Wow, even the thoughts of that again brings tears to my eyes. To really believe that the whole spectrum of human emotion and experience is worthy and valuable, that the painful days can determine so much about the capacity one can have to really feel the joyful days. It is a good thought. Being open to the part you play, and to play openly: ) Artists can translate life like this in all its joy and suffering and give us a visual, auditory or kinesthetic impression that can help us really experience ourselves deeply, on this gorgeous blue- green globe.
Being an artist in a creative process speaks so clearly about affirming the moment of being alive here, and real creative energy flourishes in that environment- And you know what else I think you can truly play as an artist and with art that is made.

Its the simplicity of that thats been so difficult for me to understand at times. Making art, experiencing art, viewing art, can bring you to that rich place in yourself, where new beginnings can be inspired and old ways understood, where you find yourself in some gallery or other space being reflected, beautifully, poignantly, sorrowfully, profoundly, spirit fully, and other sorts of other fullys by some artist who dosen't know you. It makes me long to make art and be around art, I am compelled to be creative no matter what the outcome. Like the first fingers that made marks on walls because they felt to, we are still moved by their work and we can always be sure that Art is ours as is life.

Artists need space and our support, they are making a huge investment in all of us by sharing their very nature with us, by being artistic.

Aideen and me at the black box theatre sometime in 2001-2002, having just completed some performance's with a great show of our co- students art.