Now it’s safely arrived, I can show some more images of a book/box I made as a present for the lovely Soraya of  this blog http://sorayanulliah.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/everything-shapes-us.html

You know how you make something and as you make it, you figure out how you should have set about it? Uh, huh… I have plans for how to make more book/box/houses without needing three hands next time 😉  But for me the joy of making things as gifts for special people (and Soraya is a dear person, a brave woman, a beautiful soul) is I can take a lot of trouble over it and learn so much for me as I immerse in the making….

I had to get it through the post to America,  two postal services and customs, so I figured out how to send it flat, but easy to assemble…that’s where the three hands come in, cos I sewed it together from a template like a cross with extra wings, which was upcycled from the buffer lining a very posh tin of biscuits (ahem, bought on approved foods, of course 😉 ) and let me tell you…DON’T do it that way! Make each side and lace it together! When I say lace, I mean punch holes and put a ribbon or fancy machine cord through, like lacing shoes. I think it would look great with pelmet vilene as the base and free machine embroidery for script or decoration, but I know Soraya is a great fan of Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ and the late, great poet  Audre Lorde, so I started with that quote and built up the idea from there. There’s no way I could write all that on the machine in the space, maybe 10 x 12 cm on the biggest side (3 1/2″ by 4 1/2″) so out came the letraset and I had some beautiful aqua and gold brusho paper, and even so, it was touch and go fitting it in 😉

Virtue is definitely its own reward sometimes! I felt I really took in these quotes by having to focus on the letraset (dry transfer lettering) and I think I have been more daring recently, an assertive letter to a demanding in-law; sending my proposal for exhibiting Gaia’s Guardians in a county park/arts venue in spite of the department of wanton persecution (DWP) re-assessing my claim for disability benefits. (Part of the British Conservative  party make-over of the benefit system/ National Insurance Scheme, not a personal thing, but you are put through the wringer by the process and they could save 50 times the money by going after tax dodgers)

Chris Lewis-Jones, the tutor for the art class I go to at Nottingham Contemporary made a really astute comment about the DWP issue: “Artists are never really unemployed”. It’s true, because so much of what we do is unpaid/underpaid/made without any expectation of making a living from it, but we make it anyway, because otherwise we’d shrivel into husks of ourselves, all the pith and juicy bits gone, we CANNOT not make. There was a lot of focus and effort put into this gift, but it took me about 6 WEEKS from idea to posting, because I could do so little at a time, and I did a lot of change and change about, trading off easier and harder parts. I also traded off some spoons, living in the same clothes for 3 days at a time with wet wipe washes (TMI, sorry !!!) so that I could keep making. Because making is a lot more rewarding than having a shower, and it is snowing again here, so not much sweat happening 😉 But I really doubt that the powers-that-be can imagine that having a shower is harder/more tiring than crafting a beautiful thing, I expect some of you able-bodied readers are struggling with that too…but it’s true, having a shower takes me about an hour if you count getting out of bed to put the shower heater on through to back in bed to ‘recover’ and then be ready to do anything other than fall asleep…and then I’ve used up major spoons and forks (pain!!) out of my weekly ration…to think I would hop in the shower, in and out, un and redressed in 10 minutes after the allotment…fibromyalgia is such a life changer…

I feel I make the right choices FOR ME, and they would not be right for non-artists, and there are plenty of makers who couldn’t live without a daily shower/bath, even with chronic fatigue/pain, but for me, life is not what I make it, it is what I get to make, because then I am glad to be alive! And that links to the van Gogh quote “One must work and dare if one really wants to live”…

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