There have been a lot of sudden changes since last writing, family members leaving, others returning, new situations. The upheavals have been positive but it is the speed at which they happened that put me in a spin, it has taken about 6 weeks to find my equilibrium and adapt. Feelings associated with chaos in early life have been released, grieving has taken place, there has been negotiation and listening to others and self to smooth the transition.

I live in a very quiet tiny hamlet in a hidden valley, the house next door has been empty for a year but 6 weeks ago I was awoken one morning by crashing, banging and the loudness of men’s voices.  The builders had come to renovate the property.  The influx of shouting, radios blaring, banging, hammering, drilling and sawing shattered the silence.  There was no escape in the house as the builders were at the front, the back and on the roof. The windows were open in the heat and my sanctuary where I would normally find peace to process feelings no longer existed. It also made it impossible to work in the studio. There was only one thing for it: to get out of the house and walk.

My other escape was to attend Festival at the Edge at Aldeberg Lake near Whitchurch in Shropshire, I first went to the festival about 8 years ago when I was well and working as a community artist, learning how to be a storyteller and incorporating it into literacy work in schools and participatory art projects. Returning after so long was therapeutic, the site was beautiful, the festival was calm and quiet, the stories poignant and funny. It was like a homecoming, I had forgotten how much I loved listening to stories and how welcoming the storytelling community is. So, the builders did bring me a gift because without them I wouldn’t have gone. The stories enabled me to drop down into a deeper part of myself that I normally access through making, a way through the portal into the imaginary world. On the strength of this, I am off to Oxford Storytelling Festival in late August.

Meanwhile, just before all the chaos of family shifts and builders ensued I was working on the next quilt for Todmorden Open Studios. It was one of those seredipity quilts, an unplanned gem that took shape all on its own.  I had been trying to mix fabric paint for printing, I had made stencils from the burnt out caravan and as I mixed the paint I used a piece of cloth to wipe my mixing brush. Here is an image of the cloth before I added more paint

This is how it ended up after I had added machine and hand stitch and some binding. It is about A3 size.

Here is a close up of the quilt.

These are images of print experiments:

Now that it is quiet again, its time to get back into the studio at last!

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