December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas . . .

Merry Christmas to each & every one,
may your days be filled with Precious Things

November 23, 2011

Time well spent . . .

Moments in time.  Where do they go those seconds, minutes, hours & days?
I lift my eyes & see that they have tiptoed past whilst i was busy elsewhere.
Rainy August slid into September, a richly hued October fell into November
Like old friends, the seasons pass by, say hello and then go on their way again.
I seemed to miss so much, spending hours tired & frustrated, running in circles.
Too much to do, too little time.  Knowing something was missing, but what?
Then in mid September, oh lovely synchronicity . . .(do you ever experience it?)
 . . .  one day, I chanced upon two intriguing e-courses that just called out to me.
Essence of Wild’s Barefoot breathingrun by Jackie Stewart & Jason Smalley
and the Relation-shipscourse run by the lovely Jackie Walker.
I knew I had to sign up for both, feeling excited & hopeful & nervous
 unsure of what I would unearth, but instinct telling me to give it a try.
I made a decision & took 6 weeks out, to emerse myself in all I found!
 I’m so glad I did, with such inspirational words & guidance, I have learnt so much!  
I slowly unravelled myself, found better understanding, new direction & purpose.
I was taught to re-connect with myself & Mother Nature, for I had forgotten how.
I learnt to build calmness & balance into my days, the very things I saw I had lost.
The courses were such a wonderful gift &  I feel I look at the world with fresh eyes.
I can’t say a big enough thank you to the wonderful folk who guided me on this path!

  After I finished the courses I set out to find ways to keep this new found balance.
Being a Virgo I loved doing this, designing a personalised monthly, weekly & daily planner.
Making slots in my day for the important things; home, family, business, creative & me time.
I sorted & organised & tidied my life, my head, my studio, my computer, our home and us!
 Then I found  Julia Cameron's "The Artists way" & am working through her course now!
I write morning pages (as Julia suggests), loving the flow of words, finding answers & insight. 
 I am learning new habits to ensure I don’t “forget” the lessons I have learnt.
Meditation brings me peace & calm and I am back to yoga, after years away.
I write down my "5 precious things" a day, remembering to be thankful.
Make time for 100 deep breathes in nature, soaking up the beauty of it all.  
I spied a weasel playing under a bramble, a delicate deer in the early morning
 and i woke extra early to watch the pink hues of a sunrise light up the world.
I am now so much more aware of the passing of the season & the days.
 I am looking forward & planning, with lots of new projects in the pipeline.
   An idea that in the future I hope to share, creating ways & means to enable folk 
to find the time to fulfill  “all” the parts of themselves as much as possible.
We are getting ready for long winters evenings snuggling by the fire and Christmas too!
I have a kitchen to finish decorating, mood boards to make for our garden & living room . 
Bulbs to plant, an art doll to start & . . . . oh but time enough to share these things another day.
And there was me thinking i hadn't been up to so very much lol!

Just remember my lovelies,
take time out to slow down & notice the small precious things every once in a while
x x x

Time is a brisk wind,  for each hour it brings something new... 
but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design?  

September 06, 2011

Folklore, Corrimony Cairn & Munlochy Clootie well

I hunted down treasures whilst away up North
One day I found wondrous snippets of folklore in Inverness museum
top left - a medieval spindle worn to protect against the evil eye,
centre, elf's arrow pendant made from a pre-historic flint, protection against faeries,
folk once believed these were made by faeries who weren't able to use metals.
The ladle, used to remove the evil eye would contain a piece of silver, 
a person suffering bad luck would drink from this standing under a bridge. 
The tiny charms, bottom right were sewn into the clothes or the bedding
of children protecting them from the faeries & changeling babes.
these also caught my eye, medieval ring brooches, the Achavrail armlet
and treasure found in 1875 by a lass in a field in Croy.
Another day I crawled down the ancient entrance tunnel into Corrimony Cairn
a chambered tomb or passage grave, built four thousand years ago
I felt its ancientness seep into my very bones as I looked out
at the silent stones standing guard in a circle .  
Most moving,  the Munlochy clootie  well, an amazing sight, a myriad of "cloots"  
left by visitors  who have visited this place wishing for healing for a poorly loved one.  
So many wishes! To make a wish you walk sunrise around the well three times, 
splash water from the well onto the ground and say the wish. (Cloot means cloth).
The wells use possibly derives from "the power of water in Celtic tradition"
*      *      * 
I am ever fascinated by these folk who's customs & beliefs I have seen 
who lived in a world filled with wonder & fear and feel even more that
these are the stories I want to keep alive, want to work into my paintings.

August 31, 2011

Abriachan Forest & tiny houses . . .

Such a magical place we discovered 
tiny wooden houses tucked amongst the trees
( child sized & perfect) 
a loo with a heather covered roof!  
 a rainbow of patterned bird boxes & wooden hangings 
made in the forest school classroom
Gruffalo houses for tiny folk
(I so wanted to crawl in)
and my favourite the round house, 
a Celtic bronze age dwelling made from stone, hazel & reeds
(i just had to sit inside & let my imagination fly) 

"In 1998 the community purchased 534 hectares of forest and open hill ground from Forest Enterprise.  Since then, as a social enterprise, the Abriachan Forest Trust has managed this land to  create local employment, improve the environment and encourage it's enjoyment by the public through  a network of spectacular paths, family suited mountain bike trails and innovative education  opportunities." 

 A wonderful project with such exciting teaching and learning opportunities for all.

It took me back to remembering. . .
childhood hours playing in the forest near grandma's house
the smell of damp earth, the feel of raindrops through the trees
and the memory of all things foresty x

August 23, 2011

Into the highlands and a path unseen . . .

Where have we been . . . 
in the hills in a tucked amongst the trees tiny log cabin 
venturing out and exploring the wild & beautiful Scottish highlands  
discovering the sights of Drumnadrochit & Abriachan forest, 
the faerietale places of Glen Affrick and of course Loch Ness.  
 Under incredible skies, both sun tinted and stormy. 
Such feasting for our eyes, so peaceful and unspoilt.
We have walked & talked, been rested & invigorated,
felt ourselves connecting back to nature & things that matter most.
Precious and much needed time out, the why is told below. 
I noticed a recurring item on Facebook recently that intrigued me, folk posting "Depression is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long.  Put this on your status if you know someone who has or has had depression. . .” as I read more I was moved to see so many eloquent responses on this so misunderstood subject. 

I used to think my "blues" (depression) was a huge sign of weakness, didn’t want a soul to know fearing I would be judged.  I didn’t remember the stresses in my life that had pushed me into that dark place; I should have given myself a pat on the back but no, I though “weak” and fought hard against it, making things so very much worse.  

Many years later, I have slowly learnt to stop fighting, and months can pass when I completely forget my "blueness”.  It still creeps up on me from time to time, I land with a bump and realise I forgot to be on the lookout, hadn't noticed I was pushing myself to hard, the growing lethargy, disconnection, disinterest. 

 I am learning that this “blueness” makes me who I am. When I have a patch of "hyper" it is amazing!  I overflow with inspiration, ideas & energy, my eyes are wide open, I am in a good place, the world shines.

I have learnt that when the bump happens I have to step aside, be quiet, still & small & slowly make my shape again, hence my "time out" such as the post above.  I have learnt to recognise the things that keep me afloat; walking in nature, meditation, my “5 precious things a day”, writing and re-pacing myself.  Remembering & accepting again my own boundaries, ( though this is frustrating at times for a stubborn soul like me) I always emerge finally, blinking into the sunlight , knowing that each step makes me stronger, as I re-assess & start to love life all over again.

In all its shapes & forms, depression is very real (though I have met many who would disagree), it is scary and it can be debilitating. I have written this post for all those out there who recognise this place,  we need to remember we are not alone, not insane, just a little crazy at times.  Hold your head up high and say this is me.

A bit of a serious post this, but a subject very near to my heart.  I see and hear of so many friends & family who have found themselves at some time in this place.  It affects 1 in 4 of us at some time, yet it is still so misunderstood. I am fighting the cause ;-)

ps: Whilst we were away "5 blog" passed its 3rd birthday . . . already!  Wherever does time fly to!  Thank you to all, it has truly been a wonderful, moving, unexpected journey and sharing it with such lovely folks as yourselves makes it even more precious. x x x

July 22, 2011

Kirkcudbright art & Crafts trail . . .

In the nearby town of  Kirkcudbrigh from Friday 29th July - Monday1st August
there is to be held the 8th annual Art & Crafts Trail. 
Started by two very dedicated ladies Pauline Saul and Vivien Dania 
 it is an event to show the works of many  local artists & makers.
( My "Carrick Mermaid" was chosen to grace the trails map. ) 
I am exited to say that this time next week both Mom & I
shall be sat amidst our paintings, prints, cards & crafty things
in the lovely space we have been allocated on the trail. . .

in the newly re-furbished, light & airy basement of
"Rhubarb",  run by Daughter & Mum, Carolynne & Brenda 
situated at 1a Castle Street, opposite McLellans castle.
*         *         * 
Do come along, it would be lovely to meet friends old & new alike. 
See here for trail info & here to see a sample of Moms paintings.

and finally, as promised, some of my inspiration from my travels in Turkey 
A glimpse inside my sketchbook, at my fondness for pattern & symmetry 
Above are the final designs, now printed up as cards.
I found so much more information for my work at this amazing site
Well, really i have far to much to be doing to be sitting here lol
so i shall off until next time, but before i disappear i must just tell you
a couple of weeks ago I took another big step on this my creative journey
I gave up my day job completely & am now a fully fledged, full time, self-employed artist!

July 18, 2011

folklore feature, film & museum

 Vogue has done a spot in its July issue on
British folklore,
with quirky photography by Tim Walker
using real folksies for the shoot
read more here . . .
(image by Tim Walker) 
A wonderful film due for release next year
the first of a series 
filmed just around the corner
in Whithorn is bringing
Scottish folklore to the big screen.
Cast members include
Margaret Bennet, regarded as Scotlands best folklorist,
Sheila Stewart, acclaimed storyteller and ballad singer. 
(Image from the Ruadhan the Bard site) 
and for another taste of the same
visit the ever growing
setup by set & costume designer
A fascinating & much needed project.

July 04, 2011

entranced & distracted . . .

 I have been entranced & distracted
by such visions still dancing in my head!
For i have whiled away days in a quiet corner of Turkey 
with my dearest mom, lovely sister & little nephew, 
discovering such days of rest, stillness & quiet.
The smell of sweet scented pines & the sound of chirping crickets  
the vibrant colours of the flowers & the warmth of the local folk.
So many lasting memories, so many extraordinary sights we saw.  
 The ghost town of Kayakoy left me wanting to know so much more,  
with its elegant, crumbling church & ruins of homes  
a reminder of the saddest of times not so long past.
( i read "birds without wings" soon after,
alternately laughing & weeping through this tragic tale)
At the ruins of Kaunos we walked the steps of ancient Romans,
and gazed on mighty rock-hewn tombs far above our heads . 
 The hours ticked so much more slowly, or so it seemed to us,
time to re-discover old favorites & unearth new ones.
 Slowing down & catching up. 
the biggest thank you to my precious sister for so many cherished moments
 for the wonderful time away that then allowed me to remember afresh 
why i love coming home to these greenest of Scottish hills 
x x x 
the results of these distractions i shall share very soon  . . .

May 17, 2011

gothic splendor, times past & present. . .

On travels to see my lovely eldest lass in Bristol
there was time to visit awe inspiring Gothic splendor
St Mary Redcliffe church, Bristol
with its intricate lace like patterns, carved in stone so long ago
We found glowing stained glass, the sun streaming through
throwing jewel colours onto stone floors, worn by many feet.
How many generations past have gazed at these windows
trying to conjure the ancient tales they may tell?
Green men & gargoyles were tucked away
waiting, silently, to be found again.
Unrecognisable beasts curled ever in waiting
guarding the entrance against long forgotten evils.
Tortured souls gazing sightlessly from their broken columns
for how many moons have they looked down upon the throngs?
and waiting to inspire; bright, medieval colours & patterns
in painted panels, vaulted ceilings & mosaic floors.
I pondered the lives of the folk who created these so long ago.
Inspired i was indeed, by the intricacy, the brightness, the detail.
Inspired enough to finish, at last, my stained glass inspired foxy painting.
Thinking on the passing of time, as i dipped my brush in deepest blues.
Remembering those treasures folk have left behind, shrouded in mystery.
As i added golden stars to my midnight skies, i gave thanks.
Thanks that we have these treasures still,  linking back to the past,
to our ancestors, their skills, their imagination, their patience.
* * *
I am fleeing away far overseas, for a wee while to visit my precious niece,
Taking time out, my sister & I,  to holiday together with our lovely Mom,
The last time we all were together like this i would have been 16/17?!
How time does fly!!
When i return my foxes shall be sitting in my shop.
Wishing you all happiness & peace x x

April 26, 2011

away & back again & a hare here & there . . .

I have been away forever, for we have been a-settling into our newest wee home!    
 One  with wide open spaces & views, space to breathe & breathtaking big skies.   
Such a feeling of peace & quiet we have discovered here  away from it all.
The loveliness of it all still hasn't quite sunk in yet 
Surrounded by forest & the Galloway hills, the sea just a stones throw away,
 we have been watching the weather rolling in across the distant hills,
have been discovering faeries hidden in the woods, can you see above
 (whoever lived here before loved these wee folk too, they are dotted about).
 Deer greet us as we drive up the lane & a woodpecker feeds in the garden,
So many butterflies & bees already & a huge big hare who lives in the field .
Several new hares have entered into our home too
 i want to share the work of 2 artists whom i greatly admire.
My wooden hare (below) was made by the lovely Karen Davies,
who's work I 1st discovered in my early blogging days.
Her magical blog "Moonlight & Hares"
is filled with lovely images,  paintings & such soothing music.
A while ago, whilst looking for treasures for faerietale blog,   
I came across the amazing work of the "Hairy Growler". 
Lez lovingly fashions treasures from old silver coins & spoons, 
  it is re-cycling at its very best & so much to choose from!   
After much deciding I bought my Hare necklace (see above)  
 I love the added personal touches Lez includes,
 like Mr O & my initials engraved on the back of the hare.
There is so much more  I have to share, like . . .
all the new & exciting arty happenings but i shall save that till next time,
I leave you with this photo, Mom has a hare that visits here beautiful garden often
and now tucked away there, "almost" out of sight is this tiny leverette.
So lovely to be back x
(ps: I was finally brave enough to upgrade to new blogger
& now you can click on the images to view them larger)

February 28, 2011

Late to the table . . . or blogging

I am ever late to the table ;-) but picking up the threads, i have belatedly, followed a tapestry of comments woven across the web recently, about blogging, the need & the reason. A fascinating subject, i found myself nodding in agreement most vigorously.
Words very much worth dipping in and out of from such wonderful folk as Rima at the Hermitage”, Christina in her “mermaids attic” & Terri Windling at her “drawing board”. I am compelled to add my own voice, such an impact has it had. Blogging began for me as a way to record the journey of re-discovering my arty self.
I certainly did not expect to tumble, Alice like, right into the heart of a magical land.
A hitherto, hidden treasure, a web of creative folk, discussing, encouraging, sharing
Rima's blog being one of the very first i became spellbound by. This ethereal sharing is an altogether new & rewarding experience, a humbling thing;
it draws the world closer. As Christina says, it is difficult in this “crazy busy world” to have regular conversation with like minded folk. I find it scarily difficult in the "real" world to "sell" my ideas, my work. Yet here, within this community of bloggers from far flung corners of the world, most of whom have never met, i have made wonderful connections, shared many varied passions & inspirations & found such vast encouragement that i have begun at last to find courage.
Blogging i believe requires its own kind of self belief & bravery, and as Terry Windling says in her post here, we have to decide where to draw our own line, how much or little of ourselves do we share. Non blogger friends gasp in horror at the thought of opening up to strangers, but blogging is to me essentially about being yourself, staying true.
It has been said from reading my blog it seems I live “a wonderfully peaceful & perfect life”. Yet life is never as it seems & this comment set me a wondering, then i read Christina’s words on why we blog here & i remembered that i have draw my own line, why i share only the good bits & pieces, the smiley & precious thing in my life! As a lass whose muse at times dips her toes into the unexpected “blues”, i set myself ways to balance my days. This became the “5 precious things” I remember at the end of each day, in turn this became the name of my blog, a place for peace & calm & loveliness,
for myself as well as folks who find themselves here. For me blogging has become another creative way to express myself, as Rima says another “art form” and one which i hope to long continue in. Through blogging i have explored & discovered a deeper sense of self, and a feeling of fitting in; making so many connections. Now as i work away in my little studio, i am reminded through these connections that we are all delicate stitches in the rich, detailed tapestry of creativity that this "blogging" connects us to.