Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pantone 4545

Apologies for the radio silence. I'm in a bit of a slump; too worn out to write. Too worn out to do much of anything; I have lots of ideas but no energy to put them into practice.

Luckily it's only thirteen days until I'm off to Scandinavia for what feels like a very necessary holiday (the number of days to count down feels most portentous!)

I have been able to do a little cutting and sticking in my visual diary, however; the cheat's route to creativity. There are some old drawings of mine (the first two pages) and some new ones by my friend Kat which she illustrated my birthday present wrappings with (the last two pages).

"Broken but happy" was the result I was given from one of those silly Facebook analyser/fortune teller apps which supposedly compromise your online security. It feels apt; I am a relentlessly optimistic depressive, at least, if an exhausted one. The Pantone postcard which is its neighbour, with its fetching shade of vomit blancmange, encapsulates depression for me; all is acrid and beige, the tumble weeds roll past your window, we're in Kansas forever more Toto, and there will never be any colour.

That being said, as an optimist, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am seeing a very kind and incisive CBT therapist and trying to get on with things as best I can. I think I need a big yet reachable goal to work towards to give me a sense of purpose/calling. My big goal for 2016 was to have a solo exhibition, but that feels almost unimaginable at present. Perhaps a few months down the line things will be looking a bit brighter. Here's hoping!





Wednesday, 6 January 2016

"Hypnoid States"

My favourite quotation happens to be by one of my least favourite historical figures. Sigmund Freud wrote that "Hypnoid states often grow out of the day-dreams which are so common even in healthy people and to which needlework and similar occupations render women especially prone." I am a woman, a daydreamer, and an embroiderer; I must be more "prone" to "hypnoid states" than most!

"Hypnoid states", but of course, lead to symptoms of hysteria, that peculiarly female malady.

Compare Freud's quote with this one, by a contemporary female, the writer, editor and publisher Flora Klickmann; "And after the breakdown, when I couldn't bear the sight of books or the sound of music, I found myself actually doing needlework, and liking it too; and the fascination of it grew upon me very rapidly, till now - I really don't know what I should do if I hadn't needlework to fall back upon, as a recreation, when I get over-done with the wear and tear and strain of work in our great city.

I would tend to agree with Klickmann that the meditative, contemplative act of embroidery can help suture and sooth; we can stitch our shattered psyches back together again.

As an act of (hysterical) anti-patriarchal rebellion I am hand stitching a meticulous illustration of Freud's quote, using embroidery techniques which Flora Klickmann, and possibly even Freud would have been familiar with. Here is my progress so far.






































Sunday, 3 January 2016

RPM (Resolutions Per Minute)

Happy New Year! I hope it's been just lovely for you. As I said on social media channels, I had the best Christmas since I was a wee bairn and got a lolly bigger than my head, and it is with some reluctance that I prepare myself for work tomorrow.

One of the things which has been so lovely about having so much time off, with not even any commissions to work on, is the freedom to make for the sake of making. I have finally made a breakthrough with a project which has been languishing for months. I have also been doodling with different source material in my visual diary, the outcomes of which I present to you here, including my New Year's Resolutions (in image number four) which I am adamant I will stick to.






Sunday, 27 December 2015

To All A Good Night

It's the end of the 52nd week of the year. This means two things; this week heralds the final #secretsofselfpreservation potion this year (and indeed, ever, unless I do some more #secretsofselfpreservation workshops) and getting a large chunk of my Sunday back each week to make a wide variety of art or to do whatever I fancy, really. I have a new project brewing which leads on from #secretsofselfpreservation but goes off on much more tangents.

I feel like I have been floating around on a cloud of Christmas spirit the past few days. It could be having more than one day off work for the first time since April (ten whole days, I'm ecstatic!), it could be that I've spent time with all my favourite people, or it could be that, looking back on 2015, I am certain that it was one of my best yet. It may be something of a cliché to think that, but I feel I have much to be happy about; my first "proper job", taking commissions, workshops and talks, moving into a bigger room and furnishing it with fine frippery and feeling cosy and content there, four years with my sweetheart, even managing my mental health well so it doesn't interfere with my life too much. It's not been a half bad year, really, but I am also very much looking forward to all 2016 has to bring.

In this (Christmas) spirit, the final #secretsofselfpreservation potion reads "Be grateful and be proud". I have been offered so many breaks this year, and been surrounded by the most wonderful people. I am also beginning to like myself a little more, and acknowledge my achievements, and yes, I am proud of one or two of them. Which is awfully self congratulatory, but for someone who has as poor self esteem as I do it's kind of a big deal.

Pip's handwritten message on the wrapping paper of one of my Christmas presents accompanies the embroidery in the potion bottle. My year has been better for having him in it, and long may that continue.

Next stop is to get my Dad, talented amateur photographer, to shoot all the potions, and create collaged illustrative labels for each one. And then I think I may just try to exhibit them somewhere...



 Remember you can get (still!) involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Wrapping It Up Potion

With this week's potion complete, the Apotheké/#secretsofselfpreservation project has only one more week before its conclusion. That is one of the reasons why I have named this week's creation "Wrapping It Up" potion. The other is that this week has been marked by frantic gift buying and the dispersal of my work Secret Santa. So the ingredient to accompany the embroidered text is a message from a Christmas card, and the label the card's front. This week's text reads "Giving gifts is good for the soul." I love giving presents, and the only reason Christmas shopping this week has been rather frantic was because I was yet to give the perfect gift for several people, and I still haven't, so fingers crossed for the next few days!







Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Anticipotion

Last week's potion is belated, an all too common occurrence lately as the project approaches its conclusion.

On Friday, Pip and I booked our first holiday abroad since 2013. In February we are travelling to Gothenburg, Malmo and Copenhagen, hopefully in the snow! With that and the New Year in mind, for last week's potion I stitched, simply, "Look forward" on to the ribbon.



To accompany the words is a small coil of grey thread, which I am using in another, new project.


The other day Pip found some of this thread in his room and couldn't resist sending me this photograph, hence this potion is a combination of our plans together and my vocation.


Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.