Collaboration 2021

Collaboration.
Something we need more of.
It’s keeping the human world together in a time of significant isolation.
Finding ways to collaborate during lockdowns has kept some people from breaking down.

Whether it’s co-hosting a family quiz, art swapping via post, virtual group exhibitions, online choirs, garden walking to raise money for charity, clapping in your doorways or any of the other brilliant ways that society has found to collaborate and be together in an extremely trying, sad and distanced year.

Collaboration.
It’s kept us going, kept us connected and challenged our creativity.
Constantly finding new ways to work together.

Collaboration is the way forward….

Absence 2021

Sometimes something is missing.

It’s empty or gone.

Something that should be, simply, isn’t.

There’s an absence in its place.

An emptiness.

Muir 2020

This was Zinnia’s last piece with us.  She has moved on now, but will always be remembered through her art.

This piece represents the sea.  

The Muir.

The colours and the ever changing surface.

The depths.

The unknown.

We were finally allowed to gather for my Uncles goodbye.  It has been months since we lost him, but lockdown stopped us being together.

So we gathered, at last, as a clan and we said a proper goodbye.

We sprinkled his ashes in the sea.

The sea he lived by.

The sea we all grew up by and spent most of our lives swimming in.

It’s a huge part of who we are as a family.

As his ashes met the Muir, the water turned the most stunning turquoise.

Brighter than I have ever seen it in this country.

I feel like that was his last goodbye to us.

We drank and sang and remembered him.

A true Muir people send off.

I was raised of the sea.

It’s part of me.

Orenda 2020

Orenda – A force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world.

This painting is titled so because of the symbol that emerged from it.

I have been working on my own, symbolic language, using the glyphs I find within the snails writing.

The symbol I found in this piece I have used to represent ‘inner strength’ and thus this piece of work has been titled Orenda.

You may be currently feeling drained, lost, exhausted and like you simply don’t know how this will all turn out.

Maybe you lost someone, lost a job, lost a home, lost your faith.

Whatever happened to you, remember you are strong.

You have a strength in you that is far greater than anyone around you can ever imagine.

It doesn’t matter how others see you.

It matters how you see yourself.

Stand in front of your mirror.

Take a sharpie.

Write all the nice things you would say to someone else in your position and then draw arrows that point to you.

Don’t wipe this off.

Keep this.

Remember this.

You have an inner strength that will get you through.

Believe in yourself.

Hiraeth 2020

Hiraeth – a homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was…

Do you ever feel this way?

I think we probably all feel a little like this right now.

A homesickness for the ‘before’.

Is your ‘before’ just based around the pandemic?

Or is there a deeper, longer time frame that causes you to feel this way?

Sometimes I can’t quite believe how much has changed in my life over the past 10 years.  Some of it truly wonderful, some of it heart-breakingly sad and some of it a mixture of all the emotions.

Since 2020 started, we have been locked down, socially isolated from our families, we lost two uncles in my family and have two new baby announcements (both due in April 2021), we’ve lost jobs and loved ones and genuinely not known what will be around the corner for us.

It’s easy to be reminded that you are not in this alone and that this is a global situation, but on a day to day basis you live your own life and the effects of our ‘new norm’ on your life is JUST as important as it is on everyone else around you.

It is OK to feel lost, confused, sad, angry, hurt, happy, excited… whatever you are feeling is valid and is yours.  Please don’t let anyone make you feel awful for the way you feel as that will not help your well-being.

Some good things will have come out of this time of change.

You may have found a positive.

I’m going to be a Great Auntie – which is beautiful news and definitely a good thing to have happened.

Have no shame if you have happy things to come out of this year.

But you may also have sad things.

And it’s OK to grieve and rest and put yourself first.

Time heals.  There’s so much truth in that.

Society will bounce back from this eventually.

I walked out of my work last week, it was late and dark and the streetlights were a soft, orange glow, and the air smelt like bonfires.

And I burst in to tears.

When I got home, I cried and told my husband how much I miss the ‘out’.

I miss my family (who live a few hours away in a different county), I miss dinners and bars and dancing, I miss going out for a day and stopping for tea and cake in a cute tea shop.

It’s all things that will return eventually. 

I could do some of these now, but I am too worried at the Covid risk to tempt it.

One day this will all be normal again.

But for now I feel hiraeth – for the time before Covid.

White Noise 2020

I don’t sleep very well.

It is partly due to anxiety, but also due to the fact that I am hyper-vigilant/sensitive.

My doctor explained this to me about 10 years ago and it means that I am forever in a state of fight or flight.

​This is a way of being that is very primal and unnecessary now as we are not at risk from being attacked and have safe houses to return to at night.

What it means is that I am always on edge and ready to react to danger.

​So sleep does not come easily to me.

Over lockdown this became much worse, until I decided to let go of some of my trauma.

It’s not an action that was easy and I essentially re-trained my brain during the lockdown experience and our ‘new normal’ since; encouraging my brain to finally let go of some of that pain and realise that things are the way they are and after 23 years I must accept that I can not change them.

​My new mantra from one of the most empowering dreams I had just a few weeks ago is – “I’m not the problem, you are”.

What a realisation my subconscious brain must have had that night.

Brain training alone was not easy and the thing I found that what really cinched this for me was white noise.

I downloaded a free app and each night when I am attempting sleep, I play the fan noise (I chose the fan because it was during that very hot weather that we started sleeping with the fan on and I noticed the effect it had on me.)

I won’t lie to you and say I am cured.

But I will say that there is a difference and I feel mentally more well.

I feel a little more rested than usual and I am able to cope with things that happen a little easier than before.

​White noise may help you too if you are struggling with similar issues.

Breathe 2020

2020 has been one of the strangest years of our lifetime. 

The one thing we have all needed to do more, is to breathe. 

To calm ourselves. 

To take a moment and try to focus on the good things. 

To try and find positives in all the negatives.  

Lockdown life has been bizarre and challenging for most.

It did give some of us time to focus on learning to slow down and practice mindfulness.

I know I am so used to being a busy bee, that being forced to be a slower snail caused me anxiety and then release as I settled in to a slower pace of life and learnt to let go of all the things a life based around work, stress and money caused.

I genuinely hope that we can retain some of these new behaviours we have learnt in 2020.

My snails had some little babies and we have 12 successful hatch-lings.  They are now big enough to begin creating art and have further enhanced the work, with their tiny, delicate, lace-like lines.

For this painting gentle shades of peach, blue and grey create the perfect reminder to take a moment to pause, breathe and relax.

We realised this would be a perfect piece to create wearable art from.

A limited amount of pendants and earrings that are made from actual pieces of this painting (each one is completely unique) can be purchased here: SHOP

Aureate 2020

There is a brilliance to these paintings.

A brilliance in the final outcome; the vibrancy of the organic pigments and the intrigue of the lines made.

But also, there is a brilliance in the process.

The synergy and harmony that not only exists between these tiny snail artists but also between them and me is a form of brilliance.

A form of aureation.

​I am an artist, a painter a maker of marks.

And alone, I can create work and be relatively happy with it.

But never surprised.

​By collaborating with my snail artists, I have heightened my practice and transformed it from my own language in to that of ‘our’ language. 

By combining my ideas and methods with the absolute freedom and fluidity of the snail trails, my work has aureated to a new place.

A place of calm, mindfulness, meditative creativity and a way of working that genuinely surprises me.

Something I have needed in my life for far too long.

Tactility 2020

Sometimes the snails stop working to enjoy a little kiss.
Remember, snails are hermaphrodites and therefore they don’t have a particular assigned gender. They are both capable of fertilising and carrying eggs.
They don’t see gender.
They don’t judge.
If they like each other…. they kiss.
Love is love.
One of my favourite teachers in infant school used to say “A little bit of love makes the world go round”.

​Other times they hitch a ride; usually the smaller snails will hop on the back of the larger snails.

These different interactions (stopping for kisses, climbing on to another’s shell, rolling about for a while) all produce a different outcome, reflected in the marks made.

Each decision they make, change of direction and interaction creates a different shape, texture and opacity to the organic pigments.

So while I may choose the colours and the starting points, these tiny shelled artists do all the work from there on.

A fellow artist pointed out today that it’s almost like I’m using one of those UV lamps or heat signature technology to show you what you wouldn’t usually see. I like this analogy.
Snails create these trails all day long and yet they go unnoticed. By adding my organic pigments, I’m revealing the art that’s being naturally created, but highlighting it in vibrant colours; expressing the snails creativity.