Although I haven’t got to every class, I have learnt a lot and definitely achieved my personal goal of revitalizing my art practice while recuperating from the horrible fall I had in August. Remembering that I started the course in September with my hands in splints makes a good benchmark for my recovery: yes my hands still hurt, particularly now it’s cold, or if I do too much, but I can bend them and manage most tasks to the level of my fibromyalgia that day…in some way I can’t quite identify, I have moved to a place of confidence in planning to make short animations, particularly linked to the yarntagging and 5senses walks/derives. I have increased my blogposts, in regularity and scope, and have acquired a lot more followers ( welcome, y’all! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) so I have received a lot more than a certificate…thanks Chris, Sima and Nottingham Contemporary! And Pat for being a particularly supportive fellow member of the course.

On Friday we had a choice of task: make a garden to nurture our creativity (yelps of joy from me!) or a map of our process through the course. We had an hour to make these, then a group walk through, then a further task, to add a block to the garden or a development/goal to the map. Another walk round and finally a response to the block/a way to ease the goal…

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So, here is my garden, extending out into the world (very significant for an agoraphobic) with walks and yarntagging, filling my eyes with good things and then making things in response to that, with the safe nest of birds sing artblog and singingbird art films supporting me…the block is health issues, the way fatigue can overwhelm creativity and the fibromyalgia can literally cloud your eyesight, not just with depression, but because your eye is a muscle and some days, my right eye drops slightly in its socket, so I see out of focus, grrr.. the scissors are the cut to my energy levels and stamina…

I could sense a slight panic that this is an issue it would be impossible to address, but us fibromyalgics and trauma survivors do the impossible as standard ๐Ÿ˜‰ As a process artist I make a commitment to always work from where I am, with what I have available, and that includes my inner resources. So I used the scissors to cut a shifu strip from the translucent tracing paper and made it part of the freeform crochet waterfalls of making…meaning that on a bad day, I will work with ideas and inspiration and towards staying open to the possibility of making. Which is why I came on the course in the first place, so a nice beginning/ending echo there.

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Pat is part of a new community gallery project in a park in the Meadows, a fairly deprived area of Nottingham and she came on the course to increase her confidence in curating. Her garden has various projects within the gallery she has to nurture and the block is the drain this can be on her own health, see all the flu remedies she was using to stay with us that day! But she is very self aware and using vitamins and sunshine to take care of herself…a metaphor for how she approaches life ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Vesse made a map of the journeys she has made because of the course, and how she has to juggle this with being a mother in a country far away from her family of origin. Including time for her own creativity is a challenge, but as she put it, to “continue her creative journey despite and because…” is to make the time for herself that anyone needs as a caregiver.

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Mary made a lovely walled garden, with greenery making its way through the walls, a gate that keeps the garden for her till she is ready to share it, full of wildness and flowers and the freedom to experiment. Her potential block could be being shut out of this space by part-time work for her old employer, a good thing/bad thing where switching between two ways of thinking and being means both might suffer. Her response to this was to move her tools to the gate to remind her of her efficacy and ability to keep things in the constellation that works for her (cheers from us!)

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Apologies for blur… John is a very good photographer and has given me some tips on filming (thanks!) His garden reflected the hard work he puts in (the spade!) with the fear that the golden thread of energy and family might cut into his creativity, which he remedied by simplifying.

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Eric’s map reflects how he had to make an effort to stretch during the course, to include as art work he previously dismissed. The white ring is his halo and the aura of acceptance he now confers on that work! Much lol! He also chose simplifying his life to realise goals of making and accepting more art.

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Hilary made a very striking piece, a map of the weekly events of the course, with a personal goal of writing an article for a journal she reads. Simply speaking this aloud and hearing our admiration of her style and assumption that she could do this, seemed to unlock some confidence, that making the submission would be worth it, regardless ofย  publication. We all wish her luck in this!

We all expressed appreciation of what the course has brought us, and Chris said we were an interesting and dedicated group, and Pat thanked him on our behalf for all his good work. Lovely Vesse has organised a post course meet-up, so more may come of this ๐Ÿ˜‰

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