Here’s To Nina Simone, Michael Buble and New Begininngs
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
So Sang Nina Simone and Michael Buble (not together as far as I know!). The sentiment is completely appropriate to the way I am feeling right now. All the horrors of the last 9 months – from diagnosis with breast cancer through the operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are now behind me. I am now firmly facing forwards and looking at the future again, and it sure feels good to me!
Thank you, every single one of you, for every single comment, message, card, present, heart, kiss, hug, wish, angel and bubble that you sent me. You carried me through the pretty dreadful times that treatment brings, I am sending you all those hugs, wishes, angels and bubbles right back at you in gratitude. However, I am keeping the cards and presents for myself if you don’t mind!
The pile of cards is high, and I intend to make a little book of them all. Many of them are hand made especially for me, and every one of them will remind me that there are so many very lovely people out there.
I am beginning to get creative again, and the ideas are starting to flow. However I don’t want to just jump right back in to where I left off, it somehow does not feel right: it is not the new beginning I crave. Neither do I want to reject everything that went before. I just need to find a new path to explore, to see where it leads me, what new avenues open up, and whether they are lined with wonderful ideas or not. Part of the journey is to discover what things are not important to me right now, not that they can’t become important in the future, but they are just not for me right here, right now.
With so many possibilities for creativity available, it seems a bit overwhelming. However, I have to begin somewhere, so I chose to go back to paper, paint, pens and pencils. Most of my creative life with Friendly Plastic has been done directly in that medium, only sometimes did I design on paper first. Filling a blank page with marks and colour seemed daunting. My drawing skills are limited, and it was very difficult to begin. But then I discovered a book called No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina Armfield and I suddenly had my route round the fear of failure and creative blocks. She sets you up to do a tiny thing every day, and I mean tiny; it could be just a couple of centimetres square with a quick squiggle in it, or it could be something that fills a page if you want to. There are daily exercises and weekly ones too. You can adapt it in any way you choose.
Below are the first two pages of my first ever Art Journal.
I began after chemotherapy ended and have been doing it almost every day through radiotherapy and beyond. It is now the end of August and I have run out of pages for the month and there is a limit to how many extra ones I can stick in. I can’t wait to start on September!
July’s daily drawings. This is an A5 book so you can see that the entries are really very small indeed, and not very beautiful, but it was fun to record little things from my days. And if you are wondering, no it was not me camping, it was my son!
I used a simple leaf as the basis for the Daily Design exercise.
Gina suggests that you do a weekly drawing / painting the size of a playing card. These are two of my attempts. Some days I appear to have more skill than others, but heck, it doesn’t matter, they are only for me really. I am showing them to you in the vague hope it might inspire any jaded creative minds to have a go for themselves.
My theme for the Daily Designs for August was “Blue”. I drew anything around me that was blue. You can see the 4 blank shapes left to be filled in for the remaining days of August. The bracelet in the bottom right box was made for me by the very lovely Hannah Osborne, a Guest Designer for Jewellery Maker TV.
I have absolutely no idea where this journey is going to take me, it certainly won’t stay just on paper, but I am having so much fun finding out. I do feel very mixed up and excited about all the new things I am learning, and I feel as though I am running in all directions trying out something, putting it down, trying another, and then moving on to the next. The trouble is, I want to do it all, and I want to do it now! That crazy approach makes for a very confused head. Below is my latest page in the journal which depicts exactly how I am feeling – incredibly excited, but very mixed up!
Please don’t think for a minute that I am giving up on jewellery making, modelling mediums, textiles or anything else, I just need to find a new way of exploring the artist / crafter / jewellery maker within me; I want a fresh approach. After all, this is my New Dawn.