Wednesday, 2 November 2016

It's so long since I have posted !!

"Deeper then ever plummet sounded"
My celebration of Shakespeare's final
speech in 'The Tempest'
All my supportive and lovely readers may wonder what has happened to me, though I know that many follow my other blogs and daily Facebook postings. Trauma does ease, with time, though not easily. I have found solace in tending my acre of garden, though lack of strength is now hampering that. Fifteen months on, and I can report that I am still the 'wild somerset child' of the past, and have spent much of my time re-inventing myself and becoming "me".

I have attended many workshops, read voraciously, experimented with what I can do, hosted my own open-studio event and have finally - as of last month - started to revamp the house to suit an alternative way of life. And I've started creating a new style of stitched work (paper and fabric panels) which are currently on show at a gallery in West Yorkshire. Becoming me with a vengeance!

A book to own and enjoy if you love textile projects based on
the natural history you can discover all around you

One of my greatest joys has been the opportunity to be tutored by the amazing Anne Kelly - her gentle encouragement has helped my mental commitment to actually finishing pieces of work, which was never my strong point and has led over the years to a very cluttered house full of unfinished pieces. And all this coincided with the publications of Ann's new book 'TEXTILE NATURE' published  this summer by Batsford. Anne's calm and gifted approach shines throughout the varied chapters - she encourages the most innovative work from all who come in contact with her. 'Textile Nature' fits perfectly into my new life.
"Independent Minded Women":
embroidery mounted onto canvas -
created by Anne Kelly to express some
thoughts on her family history, by recycling
a piece made by her grandmother.

The whole concept encompasses the natural world - the basis for creativity, bringing the outside into an indoor workspace. As is apparent in Anne’s teaching, suggested approaches to creating a new textile piece in many formats are paramount, giving the reader freedom to adopt whatever approach best suits their chosen topic. Copious examples are given, not only of Anne’s delicious work, but of many contributors, professional and amateur. How fortunate I am that our paths crossed; just when I most needed support from afar.  

A collage put together digitally of some of Ann's other work
depicted in her enthralling book.
Every chapter is different: 'Textile Nature' has become my new stitching bible, and I cannot see myself looking back. I have my studio-workshop my garden and places I am still able to visit, sketchbook and camera in hand. Click this link to purchase a copy

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Picking up the Pieces

Finding solitude in woodland above Todmorden, West Yorkskshire
It’s surprising how health issues impinge on one’s ability to do anything constructive, no matter what the genre in which one works, plays or creates. For me, over the last few months, it has been writing: as if I am afraid to begin again, or seek new commissions. Afraid, too, that what I write might become an ongoing whinge about grief, and death. When I grieve (or become tearful), it’s as much for the double-whammy of simultaneously dealing with cancer has my husband grew ever more frail, and died. His death came nearly six months ago, though it is a year since I discovered that tiny nodule in my breast. 

Broad beans in what was RQ's veg plot
I have lost confidence in myself, but have everything to live for. Indeed, at my latest check-up last week with my excellent doctor, she asked if I felt any joy. To which I replied, “oh yes!” but did not elaborate. In fact joy in so many things: my children and grandchildren who are a constant source of love and support. Then there is the garden which keeps me active and provides me with so much pleasure, as I maintain and reclaim our acre whilst re-modelling to suit my needs. Vegetable plots/ flower patches and orchard - plenty to keep me busy.

Whilst I re-organise our home to suit what I am now doing - in phases - I have the joy of creative activities: stitching and making my funny little stitch and paper booklets, plus commissioned pieces for exhibitions, writing the occasional word-whisper (poems to the uninitiated). And updating my various and sadly neglected Blogs.

Our home since 1969 - large and rambling, with an acre of ground
It’s time to move on, and re-purpose my life: ‘The Shifting’ - as noted in my diary, scheduled to start next week. Nothing will ever be the same - how could it be. I may still be crying in my heart for my beloved RQ, but treasure the morning last summer when he held my hand and said to me, “I must tell you how much I love you”. Special memories, always, but there is still also a horrible niggle that will not go away. I’m so afraid that the cancer will return. And of what use to my children and grandchildren will that be?

Not running away, but commissioned to exhibit at Water Street Gallery
(image courtesy Rosemary Holcroft)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Spirit People

'Little Girl Lost' (pen and wash
drawing on calico)
I cannot believe it has been over eight months since I posted on this Blog. So much has happened to ‘Wild Somerset Child’ since then, when I wrote - in April 2014 - of re-charging the batteries. I’m now but a glimmer of my former self; the batteries have run down. The lights have gone out and in a way I am a young child again, observing in retrospect the theatricality of the fairy (Tinkerbell) dying in a performance of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

2. Re-energising my spirit is very much needed. So if you, too, believe in the metaphorical and ever in your childhood clapped your hands at the behest of Peter to keep Tinkerbell alive, please do so for me. There’s no need to actually CLAP; just healing thoughts through cyberspace will, I am sure, be sufficient.

Sheena's 'Wild Thing' - such a lovely gift
I’ve been posting on Facebook over these missing months but, for some reason, have lost the ability to write my former ‘stories’, particularly on this, the most personal of my blogs. Could only dip in and out in paragraph-style about my cancer, and RQ dying. I might not have been blogging even now had it not been for a dear Facebook friend from the west coast of Canada, Shena Meadowcroft, who sent me the most beautiful gift (pictured right).

She wrote: “Wild Spirit … Dancing. Too ill to work … to tired to write, or paint, I returned to my one constant throughout the years …. fabric art. As the figures began to emerge, each and everyone of them was dancing. Caught up in this dance was the spirit of friends and strangers alike.” Sheena continued that everything to make her figures was either recycled or donated, coming together in a spirit of healing. For “Inside each and every one of us, there is still a Wild Spirit … dancing”.

Warm hugs through cyberspace, arriving at a time when I was at my lowest ebb. So out came the images of my own dancing girls … my ‘little people’, even ‘little witch’ (left) that was a gift from within the family many years ago. A gift that made me cry so much that I wrapped her in a linen handkerchief shroud and hung her from the cheval mirror on my dressing table. She needed love, and still does, for I think she was meant to represent me. Me, a witch?? She was give to me many years ago and maybe she was meant to be a joke. Occasionally I still take her down from where she hangs suspended, as if on a gibbet, and cradle her in my hands, like a tiny doll. 

I am trying so hard to be me again, even though I am still sometimes sobbing in my heart, and for real. I take myself out to lunch of a Saturday or Sunday, where I sit notebook in hand, deep in thought. I watch middle-aged and elderly couples who are also eating; few of them communicating. Not a word to each other; how very, very sad. Had RQ been with me, we would have been chattering about our plans, and forthcoming Press events, the house and garden, his workshop, my magazine features and stitching, books and music …. so many things. But he is not here, and so I talk to myself on the page, willing myself not to be so silly; to take up my pen again and write. Create. I must move on.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

My online diary - week four

It's been an exciting week
Back from a week's holiday (without WiFi), I was able to prepare these pages, though could not check an internet setting that I wanted to include (I've added a link to my Twitter account.)

I've been playing!
Now I'm back working, gardening, house-sorting - and full speed ahead with two summer exhibitions. My next 'offering' maybe shorter, maybe not. But I hope you enjoy this week's anyway, all created on my new laptop with updated software (learning fast!)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

My Online Diary - week three

Welcome back - and hello to anyone viewing this online diary for the first time. (Click on the page image and it will enlarge to a readable size.) I do so hope you enjoy reading what I have been up to. Although there are always plans for the week, activities rarely work out as intended!

Next week is scheduled to be even busier ….. and my fourth online diary will be delayed. So sorry - and please leave a comment if you feel you would like to, or even start following the Blog if you don't already do so.

Monday, 7 April 2014

My Online Diary - week two

I had a couple of hours spare at the end of this afternoon, and realised that it was time to post the second 'issue' of my new online diary/journal. It has been very well received and for that I am grateful; so thank you to those who have posted comments, and to everyone who has obviously looked at it. The stats tell me that, though they don't reveal whether visitors have actually READ the two pages, or just clicked on the  images. If you looked but realised you couldn't read the tiny print, all you have to do is to click on each page and you will see it at enlarged size.

I began this second post the day after I had published the last one, and then things got out of hand and today was the first time I when I could again settle down to what I had wanted to say. There's plenty more, but I think two pages is sufficient; just enough to keep it ticking over. There is likely to be a delay before the next edition, as my usual commissioned blogs have to be produced around the time of the RHS Cardiff Flower Show. So please don't think I have forgotten!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

My New Online Diary

I've been absent from this, the first of all my blogs ever to have been created, and am currently exploring new online techniques. The content of the next two 'pages' describe what I have today decided to create - an occasional online journal. Technology is for ever-changing and as yet, I have to discover where and how I will actually publish it online. So for the moment, the first two pages appear below, and my apologies if you can't read it very well. It's good to be back in my  'wild somerset child' mode.

Any comments or suggestions will be most welcome. Thankyou. Ann xx