Waa Hooo – An Award: 2017 Liebster Award

Liebster Award

 

I was nominated for this award thing by the talented author of this blog:

http://www.studiodiary.stephanieoplingerarts.com/

This lady makes some pretty cool art work and I was chuffed to be chosen as one of the nominees, even if taking part means more work…

Basically the award works by bloggers reading, liking and promoting the work of other bloggers – spreading the blog love and helping each other out. A blogger will nominate some blogs that they think are good and deserving of some recognition and in turn the nominees are then invited to make nominations and put  links to these in a blog post of their own.

Confused? I was a bit too. After a somewhat flummoxed search online, I concluded that it’s actually quite an organic award process and happens by word of virtual mouth if you like. Despite the fact that there are some ‘rules’ peoples’ take on said rules vary.* I thought it seemed like a fun way of engagement and decided to take part, so here we go :

Nomination Time (Come on!)

 

jppyro~ A brilliant lady writes this blog, she has no idea how brilliant she is, posts include the authors arty crafty endeavors and more recently some of her poetry amongst other things.

sincerelyann~ I was drawn to this blog by the post about gardening and am intrigued by the journey of this blogger. it’s also worth having a look if you’re interested in veganism.

auntyask~This blogger has a tag line about bringing back the agony aunt, but actually writes some really intersting and informative pieces. I particularly liked ‘Little People Big feelings’

lynntolmon~This is a blogger who I know has interesting stories to tell. They are honest about tough subjects and posses a wicked sense of humour, on top of that they make some damn good art which you can see on their blog. I look forward to seeing more from this blogger.

juliealicechappellart~Also known as The Butterfly Lady, if you’ve not heard of this artist already you should check out her blog

themumfeels~This awesome blogger captured my attention with a really interesting article about grief and hope

travelswithmyhusband~ I love this blog as it sheds some light on a fabulous initiative to do with working on farms with the acronym: WWOOF. It has a lovely personal touch with plenty of cool photographs too.

 

*To my nominees, you can check out this site for some rules etc

liebster-award-2017

If you fancy taking part, you can just put your own spin on it I’m sure. Have fun and happy blogging!

 

 

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A holiday and a cross roads

I’ve had two weeks off – lovely.

Seeing a photo of my little niece reminded me just how much I had missed her but a two week break was refreshing and much needed. I managed to draw, for myself – because I wanted to draw, not because it was part of a project – I had almost forgotten what that was like. In the second week we managed a little break to the isle of wight – the five of us. This is something that is extremely rare and precious, being that we do not normally all live together  there was some uncertainty as to how we would cope in such a small space for that time, but we enjoyed ourselves, I think  it helped our family and we left feeling like we could have stayed for longer. For us – success.

This two week break is soon to be followed by a period of changes. In September my niece starts alternative childcare, something prompted by myself and understood by my brother and sister in law. I’ll miss having that time with my niece and although it is something that I will always remember and she will not, I hope it has helped our bond. My youngest will also be starting to pick up more hours at nursery which means I get a little bit of time back – something I don’t feel I’ve had for a long time and am trying not to feel guilty. I’ve absolutely loved being able to spend time with my daughter something I struggled to do with my son between working, volunteering and studying.

I expected to have a good solid plan of what I shall be doing in this time but actually because of indecision and a seemingly endless amount of possibilities, I’ve not settled on any fixed thing. The vague plan was to pick up some volunteering in a school and prepare for teacher training. I have semi arranged at least one batch of volunteer work but need to get back on it with communication in September to confirm. I also need to make sure I’m getting some money coming in, I am hoping that being available for more invigilating and able to keep up the set design work will help this but as usual I’m bracing myself for a juggle. Nursery hours are only so long and I need some energy to feed my children and be some kind of half decent Mum at the end of the day.

I’m trying to keep calm and still practice/make time for self-care – yesterday this was forced by a headache on my first day back home and this morning, I can feel the tension across my shoulders. I’m thinking of the many things I could or should be doing but trying to catch and steady myself as I do this. Often, when I plan or intend to do too much I end up having a crash which takes some time to recover from. This leads to a downward spiral of depressive thoughts  and my mind gangs up on itself for being useless. I’m aiming for less of that. (“You hear me brain?”)

I wanted to compile a book. I still do. I wanted to make more art and attempt to sell some of it at craft stalls. I need energy, time and a tad more confidence to pull that one off. I want to read more, learn more and wise up. I’m constantly on the lookout for useful courses but trying not to get overwhelmed. If I’m going to begin teacher training I need to prepare – there’s no chance I’ll be passing any professional skills test unless I begin the process of working my arse off. Which is an odd phrase. It didn’t occur to me that the sacrifice for becoming a teacher would need to be loosing my bottom…

I really don’t know what the future holds, who does? Usually this uncertainty would worry me, and it does a bit but I’m trying to embrace the idea of change and make those changes positive. I do want to get to a stage where I am more self-sufficient. Where I can better provide for my family’s needs  and contribute, give back to the local and wider community. To get here involves transitions and hard work.

Hard work is okay. I just need to organize and use my time wisely.

Exciting times lay ahead.

A trip back in time

Clay and home made dye and ink are mediums I find inspiring. I always mean to master the use of such materials. When I was at university I created 25 ceramic wings, many of which I have since let erode back into the earth in my own back garden.  I was never brave or sure enough to spend a long time in the ceramics workshop getting to know my material but I have been fascinated by the work that can be made from the earthy substance. If you scroll down on my various blog posts you will see the original project to inspire my posts was one involving natural pigment and dye.

With this in mind, I can now tell you that I was genuinely excited to see The 17th Century Kiln Firing Day advertised in ‘Primary Times’ magazine. 

Little Woodham: A 17th Century village

We ended up missing the kiln firing day but visited instead, the following weekend: Rural Craft Day.

It can take alot for us to manage a family day out and on this one, we were not disapointed. Set in The Alver Valley, The 17th Century replica buildings are delight to wonder into. The volunteers in their period costume and their eagerness to answer questions and share knowledge make the experience educational as well as fun. 

From previous visits I recall the acting skills of the folk in the village made for an authentic atmosphere. So authentic infact, that one of my early childhood memories involves a family visit to the Village where the believable fear and passion in some of the villagers’ anti witchcraft talk had me in tears. This however was craft day – everyone was very friendly, I was no longer 5 and had somewhat of a clearer understanding of what it was all about.

We were able to admire the fired wares of the kiln- a kiln which boasts to be the only replica 17th century kiln of its kind. We spoke to the potter who was happy to demonstrate & share his skills. I was a happy lass and may even get the chance to go back for a turn on the wheel myself. 

We spoke to a young man tuning 17th Century style stringed instruments. My son got a nice helping of ‘Horrible Histories’ upon learning about catgut strings. (Not actual cat gut, silly. But not any nicer than that really either – I dare you to look it up!) 

My partner was excited to learn some history of long bow archery from the archer who had small audiences fully engaged in learning, and able to handle some of the weapons and armour. 

I don’t do the place justice, as I know there will be trades people that I will have left out. There were some we were not able to talk to between toilet runs and chasing after our two year old, who was excited about the village and playing in the surrounding woodland, in equal measure. To name a few there was a seamstress, some weavers, a sawyer and blacksmiths. On a visit prior to this one, we met the village scribe who told of the method of ink making. Although he was not in character this time round we managed to meet him out of character, by chance and he imparted his knowledge once more. 

On this particular visit I ended up accidentally networking too. (Networking- a term I still struggle to use without feeling pretentiously pompous and a bit silly. I’m trying to go with it.) The artist Di Alexander was in one of the cottages painting some beautiful work from purposefully blurry photographs. (“Photographs in the 17th Century?” I hear you cry! This lady was not part of the village as such but was still invol ed in the craft day and painting work that portrayed an essence of the time.) We swapped details and chatted briefly until toddler chasing became priority.

I’m not sure what it is that excites me about traditional craft. It might be the idea that things don’t have to be made en masse with contemporary materials and there is an awesomeness in the craftsmanship. It might be the sense of satisfaction from the texture and natural appearance of clay and wood. Or perhaps it is a misplaced nostalgia from the sepia tones I associate from old dye and ink. Whatever it is, an occasional visit to Little Woodham is a welcome temporary escape from moden life. Now, instead of tears, I find myself smiling and content as I wonder round.