Over the past few years, I've been muttering about ill health and ME, and taking time off (it's summarised here
). It has been an unpleasant journey, mostly, from bedridden to remission, back to bedridden via heart issues, and very little done in the way of art over what I realise is pretty much the last six or seven years. And I'm still living with it; I need a mobility scooter or wheelchair to go out, as I get unreasonably tired, unreasonably quickly. There is a blessing of sorts; the depression seems to have taken pity on me, and pretty much disappeared, though struggling with grief has been the theme for the past couple of years. I tell you this, not to make you feel sorry for me, but rather to explain where I am at the moment with life, the universe and this illness, which is unlikely to go away.
That said, my lovely husband and I did '
go away'; we decided to move from our home in Norfolk, back to Scotland, so that we could take a bigger part in family life up here. It was a very extended move, as we had to wait for a house to be built, and took roughly six months, in all, but we finally moved in early January of this year. We've slowly (emphasis on the slowly) got the house together, except for the garage, which still has a few boxes in it, and... yes, you've guessed it, my studio...which looks like this...whimper...
It was really difficult to find a house that had a separate dining room to serve as a workroom; I try only to use the stairs once a day, so needed a downstairs room for my stuff. It looks like I have a lot of stuff...but when I consider how much I used to have, this is an anthill, not a mountain... very little fabric, an incredible amount of thread, much of which is still in boxes in the garage, feathers galore, hat blocks, sketchbooks, paper, paint.... jings.
At the moment, I'm kinda stuck. Robin has hurt his back, and my son is busy, travelling the country for work, so the shelves that will hold all of this are everywhere but in this room. I'm hoping to go out tomorrow to get some boxes to hold it in, though, so that at least it will look organised. What has become apparent, though, is that even this reduced stash is too much for the space available...plus, I don't want to paint in this entirely new, pristine space, for lo! I have a talent for making a mess (surprising, huh?). So I suspect that a summerhouse for the back garden will be in order, so that I can keep the mess outside. It'll not be anything like the Little Green Shed (20ft by 10ft just won't go in this garden), but it'll be better than nothing, and given that I've cut down on the range of things I do, that's not unreasonable.
So...what will I do inside? Sewing, mainly, some drawing, dyeing if I can manage it, or if I can find someone to help me, felt making, ditto, hat making and some printing, probably just monoprinting, which is my favourite in any case. Painting goes outside. That sounds like a lot, but when I compare it against what I used to do, as taken from a bygone list of workshops... it doesn't seem so much.
Altered Art (books, shoes, boxes, bags, quilts ...you name it, we can alter it!)Artist's Trading CardsArtists Journals and SketchbooksBasic BatikBasic Book BindingBasic Hand Stitch (decorative)Book Covers (stitched)Cloth Dolls (Keyhole Kate)CollageColouring Paper and ClothFabric PostcardsFascinator FunFeltmaking (wet and dry)Finding InspirationFree Motion Stitching For TextureLinoprintingMixed Media PaintingMonoprinting Paper MakingPrinting with Natural MaterialsScreen PrintingSilk Paper Making.
So... now to edit my supplies accordingly. A couple of things that won't be going, though, are these:
This box is full of supplies for hat making, mostly sinamay. I thoroughly enjoy making hats, though it hasn't been something I've blogged about much at all, as I recall. It's ideal for someone with ME, I think, because it doesn't often require brute strength; rather, it involves lots of small, fiddly movements, and you can mostly pick it up and put it down again at will, so good for lots of little rests. At the front of the box, though, there are rolls of canvas and Evolon, the last remnants of the photographs printed on Big Bertha, who has gone to a new home. I will, however, finish them off as something to remember her by.
And then there's this little lot, emphasis on the little, barely a third of a box. Bits of hand printed or hand dyed fabric that I couldn't bring myself to throw out or give away, and which will doubtless combine in small pieces of work...but that's another blog post for another day. Meantime, I'll keep you posted on progress.