Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Moving in!

For those of you who have followed the progress of my studio (The Garden Room) well...
as the walls are now painted, and I spend a few days varnishing the paneling, and painting of the window frame, I felt it was time to move in. I simply couldn't wait any longer! 
Some jobs remain to be done to finish the studio for real, but... I'm in!

The table, which I had planned to go by the window, simply looked 'out of place' there. 
Excitedly, I rang Jane to share the idea that had formulated in my brain... a window seat... made from an existing shelf unit. She brought it in; it looked promising, but needed a wider seat.... The following day we used floorboards-offcuts to do just that, and glued a layer of foam on top of it.
On Sunday, I made a few covers. The colourful one is tacked onto the seat and is allowed to get dirty with clay- paint- or whatever else will be used in the studio. 
The seat will double as a seat to work from and...
... a seat to relax on. The views of my garden are inspiring and restful.
After I finished making the covers, I rested on my new window seat, listened to music and felt HAPPY.

Robert is not quite sure about this new space.
He's not that great with change...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Inspiring Doll Artists

Who rules the moon and the stars © Marlaine Verhelst             
To continue, what looks like to be a series-in-the-making, I would like to share with you the work by two Doll Artists- Marlaine Verhelst and Hennie Koffrie, both Dutch, who greatly inspire me to continue to create and to be as imaginative as one can be with design and the use of materials.

I have worked with Marlaine on a three occasions, twice during a workshop in France and once in her home studio. I very much admire her work. Marlaine teaches all over the world. If you like to read  more, please visit  Marlaine Verhelst's blog. or here for a bio
To me, her fantasy figures are beyond imagination.
"Fly like a Bird" © Marlaine Verhelst  

Hennie Koffrie is a friend and colleague of Marlaine. They travel together to various Doll Events all over the world. I haven't yet had the pleasure to meet Hennie, but someone/something did in my place (see below).
Hennie's work is wonderful. Looking at her images gives me the freedom to create whatever is in my head- to use whatever materials will come my way; to tell a story. I can't wait to get started.
(Studio nearly ready!)

"Last Mile" © Hennie Koffrie
Years ago, when 'travelling' to my bathroom or kitchen was an event in itself, I sent a tiny stuffed penguin out into the world beyond- she became my alter ego. MEme (M.E.- me) travelled by post to many many countries and visited friends and family, but she was also introduced to people I've never met, and places I've never been.
MEme's carers wrote in her diary and took photos of the adventures. When the diaries came back to me, I really DID feel I had been away on a break. They have given me hours and years of comfort, laughter and gratitude.
During the time MEme spend with Marlaine ('02) she was brought along to a Doll Event in Washington. MEme shared a room with Marlaine and Hennie. I have this wonderful photo of MEme getting a kiss from Hennie! When I looked for a web-link to Hennie's work I couldn't stop laughing when I saw MEme in the hands of Hennie! 
Hennie with MEme- my alter ergo
I keep meaning to scan the pages of MEme's diaries and put them up on my website- so you can all enjoy the adventures and funny images.... but it is such a big job. Anybody offering their services to do this....? 
I can ask, can't I :-)

For some of my own Artist Dolls of the past see here

Monday, September 19, 2011

Portraits to get me going

 Richard at age five, Alice Neel

Reading about the Dublin Contemporary 2011 Exhibition in Dublin I came across this image by Alice Neel: "Richard at age five". It is on show at the Douglas Hide Gallery  and I truly hope I get to see it "in the flesh" so to speak.

I love its simplicity, the image draws me in.
As paintings go, and sculpture actually, I am drawn to portraits, yet I've never (?) tried to paint one. 
Who knows, the new studio-to-be and the images below might just change all that?
Other artist that I love are, among many others...
The lather two are Dutch... there is hope for me yet? :-)

Woman in Black Hat, Kees van Dongen

Self Portrait, Charlie Toorop

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Healing mandalas

For more than a decade I've had the desire to attend college. Something I was in the process of doing just before becoming ill thirteen years ago. Every summer I researched courses, both in terms of study- (social science) and creative courses. Every September I had to acknowledge (what I already knew) that I was not able to attend a class for more than an hour at the time (an absolute maximum)... and they are rather hard to come by :-)
So I gave up in a sense, but to fulfill my wish to study in some way, I followed a few correspondence courses through the Open College of the Arts. I studied Understanding Western Art and Starting to Write. The first course took me over 2 years, in stead of the recommended 7 months, but I did it! ... (and have forgotten pretty much all I've learned...) 
Correspondence course are great, but it is solitary.

One course that I kept hoping for to do "for real" was the Art and Design Course run by VTOS an adult education organisation. For years I enquired if it would be possible to do just one module. 
Until this year.
To spare you the details of struggle that I still had to overcome, I did get the opportunity to attend one class.
Weaving with Pascale De Coninck 
Tuesday was my first class.
I loved it!
Being creative in a group, meeting like minded people, learn a new skill, and to my delight I live to tell the tale, is all very positive indeed.

Waiting for my lift home, I sat outside and found this flower- a part of a brooch perhaps? I stuck it in my pocket. A reminder of my first day back to school.
The day after, I received a letter in the post from my 90-plus-year-old friend Wera Goldman Wera is a dance teacher- she still has a few students. This woman is a true inspiration. We only met recently via my puppeteer friend Bentsi in Israel, and we now communicate via post.
I love getting her letters, flamboyant writing, little snippets of life around her, and always something to take my breath away. In her latest letter she wrote about one of her new students who teaches mandala drawing. Wera drew a flower to illustrate... pretty much the same shape as the flower I had found the day before.
I was speechless.

Thank you Wera, and thank you to whomever is looking after me on my journey.

Wera's letter is just one of the synchronicities that are happening right now.
Being aware brings them all to my attention.

Lots of love and healing to you all.
Thanks for coming along on my journey.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

Plants wrapped up to
protect against the wood preservative being painted
on the wood.
A heavy shower of rain made the
newspaper wrapping open up to look like a dress...
Well it's been a while since I showed up at my own blog. To be honest my energy went to the completion of my studio "The Garden Room" but alas, I'm not in there yet. "All on good time", I keep telling myself. "Be in the moment" is another frequent thought, and "don't fret about it". Hard to do, I must admit.

My dream of a few months ago is making slow progress. But there is progress, and I know it will get done. I also know with absolute certainty that I will love it when I can sit in this gorgeous space and look out over my garden, be closer to it than from anywhere in my house. That I will enjoy the light streaming in, the warmth, and to have a creative space where I can leave my 'things' after a creative adventure and not have to clear the table every time.
I do count myself lucky to have my Garden Room to look forward to.

You know what I look forward to the most?
To share my creativity with others. That really is my biggest dream.
Years ago I used to give Doll and Puppet making classes, but obviously had to give that up when I became ill. Over the years I received letters from people who knew my work and asked if I was still teaching.
I will be! See  Classes for more.
Classes will be very much on a one to one basis, or possibly a group of up to 3 people, and not a whole day, or even more than 2 hours. But... but the fact that I can share my creativity with others again is something that fills my heart with warmth.

Sharing brings a smile to my face.

Sometimes sharing creativity comes in a different way.
Last week I received a message on Facebook from a young man in his early teens. He had read Flying on Little Wings and told me "that it was a great experience for him". This is wonderful to hear, of course.  What is even more wonderful is that it has inspired him to start writing his own book. He posted me a handwritten copy of the first chapter. The book is dedicated to me.
This fills me with gratitude, purely for the fact that my writing/creativity has sparked the confidence in a young lad to write. A bonus greater than money can buy.
Creative work can honestly take on it's own life and for that I am forever grateful.

I also look forward to work with children in my studio. Again on a very small scale. Guiding them to create their own story, either in words, images, sculptures, whatever is right for that child.

For now, I am in a kind of dress rehearsal time I suppose. Getting ready for the real thing! 
As I don't seem to be doing much writing, I thought I'll create some blank notebooks for other to fill!  

Dress rehearsal also in terms of healing. The being in the now and taking each moment as is it, good or more challenging, is a work in progress. I will write a separate post about this at a later stage.

For now, dress rehearsals continue, and so does the completion of my beloved Garden Room. (Work being done as I am writing!)

Further reading:
Further info about the Doll and Puppet making classes, see Classes.
To order your own copy of Flying on Little Wings see here
For more images of the Handmade notebooks and how to order see here
Healing thoughts and progress see here