|The original inspiration for Disney's Tinkabell|
|Many knees on each leg|
It is worth mentioning that I was not thin, nor light, nor fey. I was fat, loved food and pretty things in a very solid, uncomplicated and hefty way. I was one hell of a fairy.
I drew all the time. I made things, I painted things and lived in a wonderful magical world. And though life got in the way many times as I grew up, I found great solace in accessing this fairy place where I could express myself and surround myself with colour and beauty. Even in the times as a young mother when life was very hard and I was lost to myself, I painted pictures in my kitchen and kept little corners of my life for art. As with all these things, there were times when I could not create, when left with small children after a divorce, and they were the hardest times of all. It is when we lose something so fundamental to who we are, that we learn its value.
However, we all know that I came through those times. What always helped when life was not easy was this creative place which thrived on beauty, magic, colour, shape, stories, patterns and my own inner world. It is as if I have one foot in the real world, and the other in a world of my own making. Much of my life has been learning how to honour both worlds, and to bring them harmoniously together so that I can live in both, access both, and use both to be the best that I can. The hardest for me was to find my way in the real world. It was too easy to escape to the other, but life has shown me that in order to be or do anything, I have to be here on this earth, and love it. Not always easy, or successful, but so valuable when it works.
Here we are then, in a lock down in a global pandemic, all of us, living a new version of our lives in our homes. Some of us have more time than ever, some do not. Each of us has to find resources from deep inside to find our ways through these days. I do not know how you are managing, I hope you are finding ways to cope. I have good days and bad days here, and find that it is my mind that creates how time feels. It has taken a while for me to accept that my days are mostly restricted to whatever I decide to do in them. It really is up to me. The house and garden do not change and time is neutral. There are days I want to escape, there are days I feel ready to achieve great things and there are days when I feel I might as well put one foot in front of the other so to speak, and see where the days lead. All of these days are valuable, all of them make a bigger picture, and all of them give me insights into where my mind is on that particular day.
I knew at the beginning of this time of isolation, that I could indulge in play. But it is hard to play when one has been so worthy and all one does is so very deep and meaningful. What a thing to realise. All that I do is fine, it is what I do, but the notion that play would be indulgent and that I ought to be able to do it now that I have some time, is a little telling. It is a mindset that say, Play! Now! You have time and you must honour it! Be creative and spontaneous!
|Painted plant pots|
I watch my grandchildren play. They are totally in the moment and they have no self doubt. They have something to do, and they do it. There is no judgement in their play, and when they are playing, which they do all day long, they simply give it all their attention and focus. This is play. For me to decide to play, I have to put down my Shoulds and Oughts, I have to make a pact with myself, that the world will not end if I do not do this worthy thing here, or if I do not read up on that worthy self improving thing there. I have to change my mind and say, it does not matter about these other things! It does not matter if what you do when playing is any good, or finished, or even recognisable, it simply matters that you go into your creative space, have a look around, and play.
|My new friends, the plants and flowers.|
changing and moving on of these plants. I became friends with my garden, I felt part of the growing. There are many flowers and plants in my garden. It is a free for all with what is in there, and hollyhocks have self seeded everywhere. And fox gloves, and honesty, and even wisteria. I have honeysuckle, peonies, roses, fuchsia and ferns. I have daisies and dandelions, and sweet peas. And now, thanks to friends at Arun Exact, I have beetroot, cauliflower, sprouts, herbs, tomatoes and
beans. My lodgers Mark and Kate have made a kitchen garden with them, and we are all as proud as new parents with our teeny sprouting vegetables. Arun Exact is a peer led relapse prevention service, working with clients in huge greenhouses learning how to grow food and make things from it. They are doing good work, and are to be admired and supported in every way. I am joining them as an artist when the world lets us out again.
My studio, everything from
a paper guillotine to pink
feathers and glitter
During this lock down I can and do work on the exhibition, from time to time. But there is no deadline for it any more, and there is space for other things.
I began by painting my bedside cabinets blue. That was fun, just blue, no decorations. The blue is perfect, and I painted them in the sunshine in the garden and when they were varnished and complete, I put them into my bedroom where every time to go in, I admire them. Then the beads on green flip flops given to me by my dear friend Bette, had all come off. I had them by the door for a year thinking that one day I will do something about them. Last week, I did. I sat in my studio, removed the old beads and glued more sequins and stones from my hoard onto the flip flops and now, they are mended. Fab. They catch the sunlight when I wear them, they are the real thing. I had forgotten the feeling that today, now, later, I can paint a flower pot. Or sand another table and decorate it. Or draw, write and post some stories to the grandbabies George aged four and Arthur aged two, all of which I have now done.
|A green bee and ladybird table|
Disney's Tinkerbell, the fairy in the film Peter Pan, scatters fairy dust when she moves. This is how I feel when I am happy in my world. I am not always happy in my world, and I am not tiny, yellow and able to fly. But the freedom to simply live in the moment with paints, colours, ideas and
motivation to see where it all goes and what happens, that is the fairy dust. That is where Tinkerbell and I are alike. When I am not happy in my world, which, being a human like the rest of us, is often, the fairy dust is still there, I just cannot see it.
|Detail of the table now in my bathroom|
But the gift of this time, for me, in amongst all the hard things of life, is the reminder that my creative world, my fairy dust other world that is so fundamental to anything I decide to do, does not go away and in all the madness of the lives we all live, is only a sprinkle of fairy dust away.