Welcome to another year, and year five of this little blog.

I had a lovely huge easel for Christmas and birthday, boards prepped, paper bought but not a lot happened.

I often know that when I’m going to try something it is likely to work out, and other times when I know it’s just not going to happen. It might be different or unexpected but it is successful in some sense. I didn’t have the green light this time. I suspect it’s all part of the mystery of creativeness but I like to imagine it might just be a superpower of some sort. That said, you won’t find me wearing my pants on the outside any time soon.

It’s not a state of flow, it comes before that. A feeling. I don’t know where that sits in relation to the making of mistakes and graft that is also part of things? Do you have this?

I have read a bit, and really enjoyed family time, and after arty frustration was brought to an end by a good slap round the cheek with a wet fish, I decided that my new acquisition wasn’t going away and that something will happen when it wants to.

I did know not to build up expectations for my few days off but nonetheless, it was plain odd not being able to get something going that I was enjoying when I had so much I wanted to do. All that I have read lately says ‘show up on a daily basis and just do something small’ so I’m going to try and make that more of a habit this year and turn the box off a little more frequently.

This holiday has allowed me to centre a little, and just appreciate being present. There is a lovely quote by Hellen Keller, ‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart’. Not a bad quote for the Christmas season, or from someone who was blind and deaf.

Incidentally, I’m still struggling to bring into being the piece of work about the wall but it will come, eventually. I did enjoy a couple of painty moments – these are a few little patches from a large painting with a view to making backgrounds for the wall. I like the painty marks but I don’t think it will work for this piece, at least not yet, so I have left it for a time.

All that said, I have pottered with a few bits and needless to say, on the very last day something has begun to take shape around the old mill and its state of decay.

I have had several attempts at arranging some stitched and painted papers but nothing worked out until I started working smaller and in more layers. I had painted a very messy, drippy bit of something else on said easel which also found a place here in smaller size. The mill had 600 workers, all doing various jobs as a start-to-finish process saw raw wool being turned into fine worsted over many years. The stitched mill workers I tried in the last blog are just a bit too literal and so simple shadow silhouettes have been placed here and there in the separate components so that they have a quieter presence within the piece. A memory.

I have included small snippets from a ledger showing sales of cloth from around the Second World War and after, and other text to denote story in general. Colours are coming from the the little piece of burnt window frame I have but I’m trying to keep with me the sense of communal memory and impending loss of historical heritage as I’m working: to be mindful rather than having a full mind.

I have bought some papers from our wonderful second-hand market. They look very old. Written on tissue in many cases, the marks are so beautiful. I would love to know how to read them, and even if I have them the correct way up! I don’t feel I can use them without disguise otherwise. It also feels sad that they are here and not there somewhere being treasured. A bit like working with vintage textiles, I think there are ways to honour them in art making. As a lefty, making calligraphic marks has ever challenged me so working with these would be a joy.

And an old shorthand typing book with potential!

I have a few workshops coming up and a couple of exciting arty happenings to share later this year. I also have the body of a goddess to find for my son’s wedding in the Autumn. I may be some time with that so best start tomorrow! 😀

I leave you with a blessing for the year ahead by John O’Donohue, my most favourite of writers:

For Presence.

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to

follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of


Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek

no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

8 thoughts on “Presence

  1. I’m loving the text, pale rust & gesso over black – I’ve been trying to free from my minda series of memory hangings for elderly family members – some have died some have not – my living aunt was a secretary & I’ve just ‘copied over’ some of her shorthand notebook pages, they are wonderous shapes aren’t they & a fabulous resourse. It will come this happy new year, I’m sure .

  2. Happy New Year! The photo of the mists rising across the hills is stunning! The silhouette people on the old mill project are very poignant. I’m always fascinated by our industrial heritage – a visit to Cromford, Derbyshire is recommended. Arkwright built the first cotton mills there – then quickly followed those with housing for the workers, canals and railways – much still in evidence.

  3. Pitman’s shorthand!!! But a tad small to try and read back, especially when the edges of the page can’t be seen. Mine is a bit rusty now, but that brings back memories.

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