Friday, 18 December 2015

End of Term

When you're self employed you have to make your own end of term fun. This year I took myself off to Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a dose of creative loveliness with my friend and mentor Fiona Pattison. She's helped me find my centre this year and reawakened my dreams.

I really enjoyed the Jonny Hannah exhibition. Part of the St.Judes collective who always inspire. It's well worth a visit if you need a destination over the Christmas holidays. Combined with a winter walk and a bucket of handcut chips. Just what I needed!

I've also had the Tom Frost exhibition at Stafford's Shire Hall Gallery recommended and the room of unimagined treasures that Mark Hearld has curated at York Art Gallery. Let me know if there's an exhibition that you are heading off to see.

Have a warm and creative Christmas, Helen.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Looking forward, looking back.

It strikes me that wherever we are on our life's path, sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other can be the hardest thing. You (I) can build an empire (ok, a small one) but if there's a break in the flow, it's hard to move forward.

Looking back at 2015 it has been a strange year. At the end of 2014 my health took a nose dive and so I started the year feeling very run down. Winter is a reflective time, but the time I spent with myself was full of negativity and I knew I needed to make some changes. I felt lost and blocked; creatively and spiritually. There's that balancing act in life of the relationship with yourself, and the outer relationship with family, friends and the bigger picture of the world.

I started working with a mentor, someone who could be a sounding board for a head full of conflicting ideas; someone who put me at the centre of the picture who would help me shape my life according to my dreams. And so started a journey towards more self awareness.

In connecting to myself again, I learnt to prioritise myself and to care for myself. I started to write and to use positive affirmations to fuel my heart. I took my life and looked at each and every part and I came to a renewed understanding of being me. I went back to my centre. And in that space I was able to see clearly. From that place I was able to write about who I am creatively, my inspirations, and about how I connect to life. I found a resilience and a determination to use the gift of my creativity. With the encouragement of my mentor, I wrote from my heart about my connection to nature as my life force. I need my garden, my chickens, the sunshine, the landscape. So many of us suffer from nature deficit disorder and seasonal adjustment disorder because we are so disconnected from the energy of the land. So my journey became a project to express my needs, to express where my art comes from.

Listen to an extract here.

The CD that arrived as a result of these writings surprised me! It wasn't what I was expecting! I feel vulnerable sharing it with the world, saying 'Hello, this is me; this is what life feels like for me.' And yet, I hope there is inspiration in my words for re-connecting with nature, both to our own inner nature, and to the miraculous beauty of the world. In committing my response to the seasons into writing, and then as recorded spoken word, I found a new respect for myself, my creativity and the power of nature to heal. If we could all spend time with nature, spend time creating from our hearts, honouring our humanity I really believe the world would be a better place. Taking the time to honour my own needs has certainly made me better.

I invite you to share my journey this year in the form of the spoken word CD that was born from my reflections. On the CD I talk about each season. I notice the small details of my world, I talk of colour and the footsteps towards becoming inspired to create my art. I invite you to visualise the seasons, to dream and to imagine. And then there are some simple tasks for engaging with the outdoors - walking, collecting, noticing. In calling the CD 'I am Nature' I wanted to remind myself, and others of our own uniqueness, and the need to honour that creative voice.

So, looking forward to 2016, I am focusing my workshops on nature as source and running a series of seasonal workshops called 'Inspiration from Nature'. My workshops invite you, at any stage of your creative journey to come and put a foot forward, to have a beginners mind, to empower yourself that you can, to reconnect with your creative spirit and nurture yourself. They can be bought singly or as a series of four that will share the building blocks of my mixed media art. I will also be running an art holiday in the Derbyshire/Staffordshire borders on the 9/10/11 of July. Called 'Back to Nature', there are three days of walking, sketching and mixed media collage workshops. There'll be a supportive, creative, beautiful environment, including an outdoor hot tub experience in the shadow of the dynamic hills that surround the farm. It's going to be fun, creative and utterly restorative!

I'm ending this year on a high. I'm rested and reinvigorated and ready for all that 2016 has to offer.  I hope you can join me at one of my events or exhibitions.

Wishing you a warm and creative festive season.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Harley Gallery Christmas Art Market 2015

It was a breezy weekend in a marquee at the Harley Gallery Art Market in Nottinghamshire. Run alongside Open Studios and an artisan food market and the usual gallery and garden centre on the Welbeck estate it's an established event that draws in large numbers of people even when it's blowing a gail! I was in fine company with fellow exhibitors such as  printmaker James Green, designer Eloise Renouf, jewellers Milly Moore, Helen Shere and Alys Power, textile artists Dionne Swift and Viv at Hen's Teeth amongst other talents!

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