The Real Work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

(found on the super excellent a feast for eyes and mind!)

Sometimes making has huge momentum and everything runs like it’s on rails. Other times I have 6 projects out and feel out of sorts and grumpy and like I’m wasting time, but keep playing computer puzzles because I can’t see what comes next. I’ve just had to tidy up for the homehelp coming to clean, and it is sooo lovely to have a tidy space again. I have visitors tomorrow, so it will stay this way for 24 hours. 😉 And it will be interesting to see which project comes out!

The choices are:

Fixers banner: ‘Bring it’ section

Zero Waste: hula hoop rug

Quaker stitching: pulling fabric for social justice applique tablecloths and designing/tracing motifs

complex cloth: next sample, all hand sewing

cradle for stones: playing with raffia and bundles in ‘geodes’

whispering wall: continuing the freeform crochet/knitting lines and loops I’ve been working on

homemaking: making curtains for the small windows from the big chunks left after I extended the main curtains

dressmaking: finish the winter kaftan top I started ages ago

All of these are worth doing 😉 and some are exciting, but none totally grab me, though I was enjoying knitting as adventure and all the pretties gathered for whispering wall

I suspect the indecision is partly because we are due galeforce winds, and I hate high winds with a passion, I get like a spooked cat, all jittery and restless; but also because I am needing to process the new levels of friction in my life. I think the austerity in Britain is really getting people down and the blame-the-benefit scroungers propaganda has been really getting horrible. (0.2% lost spending as opposed to tax evaders 10- 14% lost revenue for the Government, but never let the truth get in the your way, Mr Duncan Smith.) I notice that the bus drivers always have to be asked to ‘drop’ the bus for my rollator now, at first I didn’t mind if sometimes they didn’t, but now I know the level of pain and damage to my shoulders and collarbone lifting the rollator up 3-12 inches (8- 30cm) and sometimes as much away from the curb/kerb does to me, I’m trying to be friendly but firm. And even when you ask they are making a big deal of it, like anyone with mobility issues is asking too much.

Yesterday I had to stand because an ablebodied, non-pregnant (as far as I could tell) young woman wouldn’t move OUT of the wheelchair bay to seats at the middle or back of the bus. In the end someone got off, so I sat opposite her and stared really hard at her, I felt sooo angry at her sense of entitlement, sitting with 5 large bags of fashion shopping ( judgement call, read FRIVOLOUS!) and using her brand new iPhone…and then I thought, well, she isn’t happy…and I don’t know whether she is in fact on her way home before chemotherapy starts and in fact, I should just get over myself, and be aware glowering at her is neither appropriate nor effective 😉


What is going on? I think everyone is feeling short-changed, people on benefits are committing suicide like never before (ATOS deaths are over 1300 I read somewhere, check Welfare News for stats); people at work but badly paid are relying on food banks; middle rate earners are worried about keeping their jobs and paying off their negative house equity; high rate earners can see that the Conservatives have lost the plot and when Labour get in there will be a reckoning for the tax evaders, meanwhile they try and stash as much as they can overseas etc., No one is happy at how the austerity is being handled, whether they think the markets are recovering or not. The bankers must know they missed being properly penalised and some day that will catch up with them, whether by reversion of assets or society descending further into misery and them all being obvious targets for crime…but whatever the position someone is in, no one gets to be really happy, because if you have a conscience, then so much upsetting stuff is happening and if you don’t, everyone else is so negative…


And this brings me back to what motivates me as an artist/maker: art is non-verbal philosophy advocating (in my case) positive change, a return to harmonious coexistence, to the acceptance of a shared planet and responsibilities. The two pieces I am working on are very much about surviving violence and emotional and sexual abuse. Thinking this through now, when I see so much financial abuse wrecking people’s experience of life, I feel I am making this too narrow. All abuse is really bad. To be honest, my parents’ choice to crush my determination to be an artist was just as damaging as being thrown down the stairs. I still get scared on stairs, I still get crushing fears to do with being an artist, but depriving me of my lodestone made me a lost person for years. Once I had art as my true north, nothing was ever as bad again. I am still in recovery from a lot of the abuse because that stuff is in your core self and damaged body parts become more troublesome as you get older. Against this, I have the strength of making, of knowing I am making my life work my way, with my skills in place, and at my service. I have a lot to share with all survivors, on the possibility of coming back and thriving. (Yes, I have it hard, I have fibromyalgia with a ton of pain and limited mobility and I have memories most people can’t survive, but I am here, I am making, I still find joy in the world around me, I share that joy and THAT is thriving when you come from my starting point.) So, when the biggest problem I see is that divide and rule is working so well for stopping people uniting against the awful mess the bankers and pigs-at-the-trough politicians have us in, perhaps I want to become a shade more abstract again and be clear I mean any and all survivors of abuse who are standing for a better world for all of us, and who really mean “we’re all in it together”. (Tory slogan used with withering irony, for friends across the sea!)


Because we are, the Tories just don’t realize that making the under classes so desperate is going to backfire, and it’s going to be a hard enough world with climate change and peak oil without social breakdown and the loss of the National Health Service etc. The current Government are going to be written down as such short sighted fools. We all need to WORK at MAKING IT WORK. So, the American Government can just start itself up and enact its duly passed laws (will the GOP just get over themselves please, they are NOT above the law) and the Brits can just dig down and remember this will pass and it will pass quicker and easier if the bootboys stop kicking people when they’re down.

Now how do I put that in an installation? And can I make it sing?