one crafty photographer's stumble through life :)

Monday, 3 February 2014

Giving myself permission

Christmas is now a blur, right?! I had photos to prove it did actually happen and that an awful lot of our Christmas decorations were handmade but, absolute eejit that I am, I deleted them all a few days ago. Clever, huh? I feel like such a muppet.

January was so full of hankies and phlegm and sore throats! I was doing battle with a cold and lost, it became a three week long flu instead. It doesn't feel like it's gone completely, hence my rather zombie-like look of late...luckily without the craving for human flesh though :)

On top of all that my mental health is terribly poor (to be brutally honest) and my ability to craft has been taken from me, right when I needed it most. Turns out what I need is rest and a heck of a lot of it. 

I am not one for idleness and much prefer the idea that I can do anything, everything; or at least I feel I ought to be able to. So it's come as a shock to find myself disregarding the plans and 'should does' and instead having the grace to know when to shut down for a while. I thought, I desperately thought, that I was going to be in a better place by now but I'm not. Even this very morning I have been fighting back the tears and desire to give up. I still put the pressure on everyday and I. am. exhausted.

The idea was... January + Rest = February + so much productivity :)

Thus January has been incredibly quiet and yes, my flu has gone but my depression and other mental health difficulties remain. Feeling a bit battered and bruised, fragile and nervous, I am slowly returning to Cherry Blossom Tattoo activities.....

*  birds to simply finish off, a few to make *
*  new plans for photography to embark on *
*  more animals and flowers to add to my felty goodness selection *
*  the fab art postcard swap I am involved in under Kat *
*  there's a load of felt upstairs and a room to paint, in 'sweet dreams' by Dulux *

All in good time, right?...The world is just unfolding as it should. I am not stronger than time, than fate, than providence. And life ought to feel better for the knowing of that but I still I sit here feeling mocked.

Friday, 20 December 2013

My ADF adventure

* Part One

A while back I got an email from the lovely Leo at the Arts and Disability Forum in Belfast, he wondered if I would like to take part in the Christmas art exhibition as I have done it once before. That last time I was in full photography mode and took up 3 large prints but they just didn't sell and I this year I was determined to make a mark. I was determined to make money for the ADF! 20% of everything sold at the exhibition (created by people with various disabilities or who are deaf) goes into the events and programmes that the Forum organizes and supports throughout the year.

Here is my little box of goodies... 9 Robins and 5 or 6 Holly brooches. There was also an artist's statement and all my links but I've just realised that none of these were on show last night.

I was nervous handing them over but there was nought to worry about - Leo and Chris were both there when I arrived and were so lovely and supportive. It was Chris that made me think I could go to the big night......

*Part 2 (AKA the big night)*

The drive up was one in which I think I remembered to breathe maybe 5 times? I was so stiff and these wee shoulders were up round my ears. Why was I so scared? It's part of my illness I guess but I was also knowingly going into a lovely tight knit group of artists and I had seen glimpses of their work and was a little intimidated....

Thank goodness I was handed this as I wondered in....a beautiful hot port with clove spiked orange slices = instant relaxation! (I adored this birdy art too).

 There's the hubby xx

I love love love this cyanotype photography I think it was by Alice Burns but in my giddiness I was remiss and forgot to take down the artist's names. I am sorry. The same goes for these beautiful textile pieces - I'm well known to be scared of my sewing machine so this really impresses me!

Here is the gorgeous, and I mean fantabulous Chris Ledger C.E.O. of the ADF in Northern Ireland don't you know! She bought one of my robins and a holly brooch - so sweet of her - I think it was so funny that she wanted to have a robin in the photo - I couldn't stop giggling. See it's the most friendly comfortable place...

This table was full of smaller goodies then the lovely hanging art...jewellery, chocolates, ceramics, glass, my stuff etc.... I had to buy, I just had too - you'll see later....

I managed to get a wee quick, sneaky photo with some people (most were understandably at the drinks and nibbles) all not looking at me! Haha...Camera shy peeps.

This guy was fantastic he's name is Jim and he was singing all the time we were there and changing hats every now and then, as you do - that my friends is part of the stage presence! Love his guitar but didn't manage to ask him if it was upcycled - he was singing after all..
Andrew and I were cheeky and just walked into our fave restaurant which was looking pretty darn full and asked if they could fit us in. They had 1 table = ours!! Whilst there we also made a reservation for Christmas lunch on Monday - doing it yourself is so last year, heehehe

Sorry but we shared the dessert and thus there wasn't a moment to lose; no photos were taken. It was amazing!!!!

My gifts from GIFT...*
Yes I am blowing my trumpet one more time with the official flyer baring my robin - eek!. Andrew bought me a really, truly adorable little dish for my earrings when I take them out at night. I bought the chocolate myself and am eating some of it now and wow! it is so chilli-y and simply one of the best bars I have had. That is saying something - I love my chocolate and make a point of tasting it in all countries I visit. Bravo 'Chocolate Memories'

After all that we had a book launch back in Carrickfergus for my Mum-in-Law to attend. She's a poet. Wow, no social events for ages and then 2 in the one night!!!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Film projector eyes

Its been quite a while since I wrote here, well anything other than a Sweet Etsy Goodness interview. There's a really good reason for that but I have been reluctant to try and talk about it, to try and put it into words without you all slowly backing away from the crazy lady and not looking her/me in the eye..

I don't think I'm real. I am so distressed by life and my poor mental health that I seem to have disengaged from the world. I see my life as though it were a film, a rather boring film. Even when I do things that I know are enjoyable I feel nothing the next minute. My life is one of filling it up with doing things, or watching my hands do things and wondering why. I'm also losing time, sitting, staring.

I'm not sleeping enough, by far. Constantly exhausted I crave sleep all the time. My hands ache with trying to sew, my eyes are stingy and uncoordinated with it but it seems to be the thing that is keeping me going. Maybe to the point of obsession.

I feel overwhelmed, filled to overflowing with anger and frustration. I can't get a handle on life and nothing seems to help. Deep inside are many stories, many days out and photographs to share, new sewing projects, new ideas to keep me busy. I have it all locked away in my mind and in my little camera, I want/need to get them out.

I guess what I am saying is; I'm sick, I'm sick and I'm scared. Its not normal to feel you are idly watching a film through your eyes of someone's life, to get a jolt when those hands that are doing stuff suddenly touch you and you have to concede - 'they're mine'.

This isn't working, I don't know what I'm saying, what I'm trying to say. Basically I'm extremely unhappy to the point where I am withdrawing from reality. I guess I am silently crying for help.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Sweet Etsy Goodness ~ BoBo Babushka

Want to see something really different? Welcome to the world of Irene Hwang and her 'nesting dolls with attitude'! These stopped me in my tracks one night when I was looking up all things Wes Anderson; not only are they superbly painted and completely original but they make me laugh too - all in all it's a heady mixture and I think they are fabulous and worth sharing with the world :) I do not know how Irene gets them to look so much like the people/characters they represent but she also does custom orders - like your own family or even wedding toppers! Talented lady.

** What is your name and where do you come from?
My name's Irene Hwang. I was born in Taiwan, raised and toiled in NYC, and am currently living in Australia with my kayaker husband.

** Shop names are so important and personal; how did you come up with yours?
That was easy! Mine was named after my bulldog Bo, whom I had to leave with my parents when I moved to Australia. He's the official mascot of BoBo Babushka!
I've had Eastern Europeans telling me that I really shouldn't refer matryoshka dolls as babushkas, but BoBo Matryoshka doesn't quite have the same zing.
Looks like Bo is giving the paint box a good looking at :)
I always bring my work with me when I visit my parents. This is Bo taking a little nap on my paintbox while waiting for me to take him out for a walk.

** Where do you find that you get your inspiration?
Just about everywhere, really. Nowadays my work doesn't allow me to leave the studio much so I watch a lot of TV and movies while I paint...which is why most of my dolls are based on characters from popular shows. I also listen to a ton of audio books. The more lyrical passages sometimes also resonate.

I'm personally a huge fan of Wes Anderson Films so these tickle me :)

** What motivates you?
The fear that if I don't succeed in what I do, I'll have to get a real job. Being self-employed is pretty hard, as you have to be tough on yourself to get things done. Luckily I'm a really mean boss.

** How does Art enhance your life?
 Art certainly plays a huge part in my daily life. Without it I might as well be a number cruncher, and that really shouldn't happen because I'm terrible with figures.

Harry Potter Dolls - with just a hint of the detail level!
** Are you a member of any teams on Etsy - does this help?
Teams? I should look into that one day, shouldn't I?

** List 5 Little Pleasures in your life
1. When neighborhood dogs pop in for a visit.
2. People dressed as food.
3. Splayed out on my couch with a book.
4. Netflix
5. Being confronted with a row of shiny pastries in shops.

So many great films and TV shows are immortalised but custom orders are taken too!
** What last made you smile when no one was looking?
Someone sent me a video of a duck snoring. That totally made my day.

Irene >>

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Friday, 22 November 2013

Sweet Etsy Goodness - Felting Dreams

You are going to be blown away.... you've been warned :)

The incredibly talented Johana Molina is only 24 years old and lives in Calera de Tango, a rural town in Santiago of Chile. She has lived here her whole life with her family and now her future husband too. Childhood was a heady mixture of plants and cakes, as Johana's father works as a gardener and her mom is artist and baker. It all sounds like perfection.

( English is not Johana's first language, as you would imagine so I have changed a few things in her writings but have basically tried to keep true to her every word.)

** Shop names are so important and personal; how did you come up with yours?
Since I was a child I had little friends in my mind, my forever dream has been to write storybooks for children and make toys too, but could not find a way to bring them to life. When I met with the needle felt technique they began to take life in my hands, (which by the way are quite holed); it was then that the name Felting Dreams magically came to me.

** Where do you find that you get your inspiration?
The friendless, love and nature inspire me in creating my work; in all things that I do I am inspired by the beautiful and simple details that surround me. Combining the exact colours and working with them is a pleasure which just can not be explained.

** What motivates you? 
Giving the best to my family and doing things which will help make my dreams become reality. Creating beautiful things and putting a smile on peoples' faces really motivates me and makes me happy too.

** How does Art enhance your life?
Art is like a vitamin for me; it renews me, refreshes me, and gives me energy to continue. My life does not work if there is no art!

** Are you a member of any teams on Etsy - does this help?
I’m not an active member of a team; I do not have time to be in front of a computer, I just connect to share my work. I would love to be able to be part of a team but have so little time.

** List 5 Little Pleasures in your life
- Being with my loved ones.
- That what I most love to do (art) is the sustenance of my life.
- Enjoying nature and the wind of different seasons on my face.
- Peace, tranquility.
- Appreciating the art of Nenufar Blanco of Rosa Grueso; this carries me to the place that has been in my dreams and mind all my life.

** What last made you smile when no one was looking?
All my life I wanted to have a house for my whole family where I can have a workshop to be my sanctuary, a place to read, a magical environment with elements that give me inspiration. This year, for about four months, the house has been being built in a beautiful place surrounded by trees and horses.The first dream of my life is coming true. When I see the building and no one is with me I smile from the soul, do not know why, even I can not believe that its true.

** Find Johana ~ 

Etsy Shop  ::  Twitter  ::  Facebook Page  ::  Tumblr  ::  Flickr


* For a  limited time only you can get a 13% discount in 'Felting Dreams' with the coupon code: SWEET *

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