Tuesday, 15 October 2019

U is for Unity

In our Living Your Word of the Year group we are using a fortnightly (bi-weekly) A-Z challenge throughout the year to help us focus on our word and live it out.

Because of the way I have made my journal it's a case of going with the flow of what background the pages have when I turn to them.

Sadly, I was feeling totally devoid of any creative inspiration for these pages.  The quotes I had found were rather long so I decided against cutting them up into strips.

I added some washi tape and the word unity.

Both pages together.

Thanks for joining me today.
Bernice


Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Join Mary Brack, Valerie Sjodin and I in our Facebook group where we are giving participants the opportunity to live out an A-Z of their own word throughout 2019.  Mary explains what we are doing in her blog post.  We don't like a lot of rules, so we will have suggestions and options to spark creativity, and to help in recording and exploring our word’s meaning in visual and fun ways. We will each blog about our experiences and our art.

Hashtags on Instagram:  #livingyourword2019

Check out the other blogs:
Mary: www.foundonbrighton.com
Valerie: www.valeriesjodin.com/blog

To ensure you get updates from Valerie, Mary & I why not subscribe to our blogs.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Mental Health Awareness

This week has been Mental Health Awareness week with World Mental Health Day on Thursday.  The week started with a video: Every Mind Matters.


I have written about mental health and in particular my struggles with depression before - in a post Time to Talk Day and a follow up post More Talk.

This week I have felt better than I have felt for months.  The previous week in particular was a really down time. I am reluctant to share with people if I am in need because the ladies I trust to ‘have my back’ either have really busy lives or have problems they are dealing with. But by the Friday I was in the deepest hole ever and felt I was not only going to hit rock bottom but disappear into the sludge beneath the rock. Not that I told anyone that. I did however message four friends to ask for prayer. They sent me lovely messages of support.

On the way to church I was thinking about life in general and the verse ‘without vision the people perish’. I was wondering why I do art and textiles, why I bother to run the Jubilee Studio, what was the point of getting up in the morning etc.   During the preach, our guest speaker talked about living with a greater sense of our value, dignity and purpose.

During the meeting I was able to talk to people about the depression and lack of refreshing sleep - often getting up more tired than the night before.  People prayed with me. During the coffee time afterwards a friend gave me a card and a present.


What timing!  She hadn't known anything about my struggles.

If you are a Believer, don't doubt how important your prayers, chats and encouragement is.

If you are not a Believer, don't doubt how important your chats and encouragement are.

Either way, send cards, give gifts, smile, listen.

World Mental Health Day saw the release of this video.


Keep talking.  Keep listening.

Thanks for joining me today.
Bernice


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Gum Arabic

This October I think I may be living part time at Littleheath Barn.  Between workshops, studio days and the Art Textile Group I seem to be there once or twice a week for the whole month.  So to start, I went to a Sue Brown workshop on Gum Arabic Transfer Printing.

I love tutors who are organised and Sue is extremely organised and led us expertly through her techniques.  We started by practising on paper.  Here I have printed the one on the right and laid down the next print ready to burnish.

 I added a further print of the moths.

I also tried printing directly into a sketchbook

Sue gave us some calico and a box of bits to rummage through to make two collages.

As you see we tacked them before printing on them.


Then I used the photocopies Sue provided to print on the fabrics.

 I'm not sure about the orange blots, but I could stitch to make them look like flowers.

 Here's my 'show and tell'.

I have to confess that I signed up for this workshop rather late, took Sue at her word about not needing to take anything with me, didn't feel particularly well and had no idea what the workshop was about before I got there, so I am pleased with the results I got.

I think using someone else's photocopies and fabrics meant I wasn't emotionally attached to anything and was able to play freely.  It was quite a nice feeling.

Sue is back next year at Littleheath or you can find her at the yard:ARTspace in Cheltenham.

Thanks for joining me today.
Bernice


Saturday, 5 October 2019

This makes me happy

Our photography group theme for September was 'This makes me happy'.   Obviously these are only a few of things that make me happy.

I love taking photos - as you probably know if you regularly follow my blog.  In particular I like to take close up photos of flowers.  Raindrops add that little extra.

I really enjoy visiting National Trust properties.  I am very fortunate that my parents bought me a Life Membership for my 50th birthday, so I have enjoyed visiting for free for 20 years.

I love processes.  In particular I love breakdown printing.  Actually I love printing on cloth with any process.  And stroking the fabrics afterwards makes me happy.  Of course making something with the fabrics would be a good thing!

I do make things but perhaps not as often as I should.  And finishing a piece definitely makes me happy.

I used to not like long walks and avoided them at all costs.  But since 2012 I have really enjoyed them, particularly those we take alongside canals.  And especially if they include a pub lunch.

What makes you happy?

Thanks for joining me today
Bernice
 

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

T is for Trust

In our Living Your Word of the Year group we are using a fortnightly (bi-weekly) A-Z challenge throughout the year to help us focus on our word and live it out.

Because of the way I have made my journal it's a case of going with the flow of what background the pages have when I turn to them.

 I decided to add washi tape onto my page to add a little colour.  I love these two washi tapes I have with feathers.

I printed out some verse about trust, cut them up and stuck them down.  I thought they would get a bit lost if I put them straight so I put them at a bit of an angle.

I'm not particularly enjoying using a junk journal for this project.  However I have only 6 letters left in the alphabet to do.  My word is commit/commitment and I will stick it out to the end.

I can do it!

Thanks for joining me today.
Bernice




Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Join Mary Brack, Valerie Sjodin and I in our Facebook group where we are giving participants the opportunity to live out an A-Z of their own word throughout 2019.  Mary explains what we are doing in her blog post.  We don't like a lot of rules, so we will have suggestions and options to spark creativity, and to help in recording and exploring our word’s meaning in visual and fun ways. We will each blog about our experiences and our art.

Hashtags on Instagram:  #livingyourword2019

Check out the other blogs:
Mary: www.foundonbrighton.com
Valerie: www.valeriesjodin.com/blog

To ensure you get updates from Valerie, Mary & I why not subscribe to our blogs.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

More Travelling

My last post covered Monday to Thursday.  So this post will start with Friday in Galway City.


We travelled through the little roads and byways of Connemara.




We stopped off in a little town - just to take photos of course.  Sorry I've no idea what the place was called.


The next day was rather dull.  We had stayed the night in Clifden and  started the day by visiting Kylemore Abbey.



It has an amazing walled garden that's a mile away from the house.


By the time we got to Keel on Achill Island the mist had come down and it was raining.    Sadly it covered what would have been an amazing view from our B&B bedroom window.

Next day was still miserable.  However it clear up a little bit near lunchtime as we arrived at Ceide Fields.

The coast line was really interesting geologically.

We drove to Downpatrick Head and walked up to the cliff edge to look at this stack.
 

A quick stop in Killala


I didn't take any photos during Monday as we were driving from the West Coast to Dublin Port to get the ferry.  We had booked overnight accommodation on Anglesey.  The Seaside Shanty was recommended to us as a place to eat and it had the most intriguing interior design.

A clock made of wood.

And the final day of our holiday started with a walk on the beach 


A beach with views over to Snowdonia.

We travelled back through north Wales and home


We had a fabulous time. 9 days, 1540 miles and 510 photos.

Thanks for joining me today.
Bernice



Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Contemplating friendship

Last Friday was one of those glorious late summer/early Autumn days with baby blue skies and sunshine.  The views were clear and we could see for miles as we drove through the Cotswolds.  The light was beautiful on the yellow stone of the buildings.  I couldn't take photos as I was doing the driving but I did manage to take one when we arrived at our destination.

We were on our way to a funeral.  I don't think I've read a blog post about a funeral and I have certainly never written one before.  It was David's funeral - a lovely man who we had only met twice.  Once for dinner in a pub near Lacock and once for a curry in Redditch.

However, I have been friends with his wife Helen since January 2014 when I sat next to her at the first session of Hilary Beattie's Make It Personal at The Bramble Patch.  In the five and a half years we've been friends, we have met at various workshops and occasional meet ups for coffee.  Considering we live 90+ miles apart I think we've done pretty well.

As I drove it gave me plenty of time to think about friendship, social media and technology.   Social media tends to get a bad press, but I find that if I block nastiness then it stops appearing.  My contact with the Hopper Juniors is very much based on technology - WhatsApp, Instagram and FaceTime.  With Helen most of our conversations have been via Messenger, with the occasional email.  It has been a great way to keep in touch especially this year as David's health deteriorated.

So back to the funeral and why I am writing about it.  David had been involved with Morris Dancing for many years, and as is their wont the Morris Men came out in force - both dancers and musicians.  They danced the hearse to the chapel.




This gave such a lightness of touch to what became a great celebration of David's life.  At the end of the time in the chapel the Morris Men danced.

The dancing continued outside the chapel.

And then we all moved to the pub by the side of the river.


There was food, drinks and a gallery of photos of David with his family and friends.  There was a lot of reminising amongst the dancing friends.  They also entertained us with more music and dancing.

A very touching moment was when Steve danced a solo in honour of David, in front of Helen. The jig is Princess Royal and was one of David's favourites. Steve was David's best friend and visited him every week both times he was in hospital and every week since, to play music with David to begin with and for him, once David slipped into unconsciousness.


Which brings me back to the subject of friendship.

Friendship is so important.  The support of our friends sustains us and encourages us.  We may not meet up 'in the flesh' very often but the occasional phone call, text, or other techy message is all it needs.  We do not know sometimes what that sign of being remembered means to the recipient.

And yes I know it's difficult when someone is caring for another with a terminal illness.  I found that when Helen told me about the latest sad report and I had no words, I would say just that.  'I have no words, but you know where I am if you need to talk.'  I didn't want to say things just for the sake of saying them.

We are living in times of division and unpleasantness but we don't have to dwell in it.  I have tried not to watch the television news for a while now, and I don't read much of the daily newspaper.  My Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of art, photographs and textiles.

Family, friends and strangers need our smiles, our encouragement, our respect.  When I was growing up one of the characters in the children's story The Water Babies was Mrs. Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By.  And a troll was a character living under a bridge in the 3 Billy Goats Gruff story.  I was also brought up with the mantra 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'.  This is what we need right now.

Friendship and kindness.

This is what I saw amply displayed on Friday.  Of course you don't have to dance if you don't want to.  Smile at strangers! As you drive, let someone in to the line in front of you!  Help with directions for someone who looks lost!  Send a text to someone to tell them how much you appreciate them!

Above all, change the atmosphere around yourself.  Let's change the world, one kind act at a time.

And to finish.  The final dance at the pub was a repeat of Bonny Green that the dancers had performed in the chapel.


Thank you for joining me today.
Bernice