Friday 21 October 2016

October 2016

Dartmoor - drifting clouds and blue skies, colours made brilliant every now and then. I took a selection of jewellery to The Church House in Widdecombe in the Moor. It's a fantastic drive across the moor and I have just got my car back after its M.O.T so had a good excuse for some time away from the studio and the town. Not that I mind the town at all - I have come to love Topsham over the past 12 months that I have lived in this lovely old house. Bella definitely loves being here but I knew that she would love a romp on the moor even more.
I first met Pam, who runs the gallery when I had my studio at Seale-Hayne - another lifetime. I have moved around quite a lot in recent years, whilst looking for the right place to live and work. Pam is one of those people who is always upbeat and gets things done. She approached me about selling my work in the new gallery when it was just an idea - the idea being to convert the room upstairs on the left of the building below into a gallery to represent artists and makers who live on and/or draw their inspiration from Dartmoor. 

Dartmoor is a place I continually go to to get back to the heart of me, for its deep, overwhelming peace and continually changing beauty and for the weather - Dartmoor has real weather and clear night skies - you can see the stars on Dartmoor.

The 16th century Church House was originally used for parish festivities
There was a market in the room on the right selling all sorts of things - one table just had deep dark green savoy cabbages, others - home made chocolates, honey, cheese, pasties - Devon not Cornish, beautiful photographs of Dartmoor and teas. I arrived without cash and naturally card payments were not an option. There is another market on November 10th - that will be a Christmas Market.
And carrying on from Septembers blog - people see their own life in colour and Pam and I discussed that all the colours in the earrings were equally at home on Dartmoor. Now they have a different set of references - Cranesbill, lichen, moss, heather, rowan, violet is still violet by the way. 

I mentioned that I had been thinking about a photo I took of a five bar metal farm gate on a frosty morning as the sun was rising and the frost beginning to melt and form drops of water that were suspended from the gate and reflecting all the different colours that I had in the jewellery - promising to try and find that photo as it would make a great image next to the work.
The Church House is owned now by the National Trust - I used to sell a lot of my jewellery to the N.T years ago so I think now is the time to approach them again. There are just eight places that have craft galleries attached to usual N.T shops I believe. Pam has given me the contact I need and ordered a full set of my new pieces, more papier-mache jewellery and some of the rather elegant pieces that look like white porcelain but are naturally made of paper - that being my 'thing' - sort of. Time to take Bella for her slow, sniff every sniff walk. I love walking with Bella as she is never in hurry. It gives me time to stand and stare.

Now to market - or marketing - a long way from Widdecombe Market - 21st-century marketing. I have organised my files and folders and started on the mountain of paperwork. I have contacted all my current galleries and today I am emailing all the galleries that I used to sell through. Monday is dedicated to contacting new galleries and shops. Life is very different now as I have changed my way of selling from s.o.r to wholesale/trade. Who will buy my work as opposed to who will take my work? I have done my best to make it all as attractive as I can - no minimum orders, postage included and one month on proforma, then 30 days with new galleries. We will see.

July and August 2016

I have neglected my blog, thought about it often, planned entries in my mind and then life moves on and time flies by. Such is summer.
My new home feels like home at last and that is a wonderful and a long sought for feeling. There have been lots of temporary stops on the way, many adventures and all sorts of encounters. I've developed the ability, as we often have to do, of being able to cope with inordinate amounts of stress by continually calling on the extraordinary innate drive that we all have and then searching for the silver lining in every situation, discovering much happiness, peace, contentment and a certain joie de vivre in unexpected places. Sometimes those silver linings are pure gold.
Settling in initially also held an extended period of total physical exhaustion. The search and the long journey over led to an unexpected enforced hibernation. Everything slowed down and a deep recovery began. It seemed as if I had run out of adrenaline and all of my vim. I could nothing other than sleep and rise once a day to make leek and potato soup. Perhaps if I were Jewish it would have been chicken. I craved salt and absolutely no sugar. My body dictated the rules. I have a deep respect for the intelligence of the body. Some people say that the body is our slave, if this is so then I've given my slave its freedom and we are now very good friends.
Spring and I emerged at much the same time and I set about bringing the old walled garden back into life. It had been neglected as a garden and simply used as storage for canoes and bicycles. It looked grey and dismal and I sympathised and did what all gardeners are compelled to do - looked on the bright side. 
There is a wonderful tree in the corner - an Ilex - that spreads across the shed roof, hangs over the garden wall and casts dappled sunlight in the garden. Potential.
 There is already a supply of electricity and water.
Another tree - a tall and wavering holly - that has developed two tones - one dark green and one variegated. 
And - pièce de résistance - a delicious black grape and two old lobster pots. There is also a besom - a witches broom, that is the most perfect of all brushes for gardeners.
 First step - begin to repaint the walls.
 An instant transformation but a long way to go.
The gate is painted with chalk paint and it is water proof. 
One simply cannot choose neighbours.
New gravel, appropriately Thames gravel - mud-larking connection plus flowers in pots and vases = a perfect place to work in dappled sunlight. Also, a place to hang out the washing!

It also transforms into a place to eat under dappled sunlight. Perfect.
This scented clematis will form an arch across the path next spring and summer, twinning around the bunting.

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