Pantone 4545

Apologies for the radio silence. I'm in a bit of a slump; too worn out to write. Too worn out to do much of anything; I have lots of ideas but no energy to put them into practice.

Luckily it's only thirteen days until I'm off to Scandinavia for what feels like a very necessary holiday (the number of days to count down feels most portentous!)

I have been able to do a little cutting and sticking in my visual diary, however; the cheat's route to creativity. There are some old drawings of mine (the first two pages) and some new ones by my friend Kat which she illustrated my birthday present wrappings with (the last two pages).

"Broken but happy" was the result I was given from one of those silly Facebook analyser/fortune teller apps which supposedly compromise your online security. It feels apt; I am a relentlessly optimistic depressive, at least, if an exhausted one. The Pantone postcard which is its neighbour, with its fetching shade of vomit blancmange, encapsulates depression for me; all is acrid and beige, the tumble weeds roll past your window, we're in Kansas forever more Toto, and there will never be any colour.

That being said, as an optimist, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am seeing a very kind and incisive CBT therapist and trying to get on with things as best I can. I think I need a big yet reachable goal to work towards to give me a sense of purpose/calling. My big goal for 2016 was to have a solo exhibition, but that feels almost unimaginable at present. Perhaps a few months down the line things will be looking a bit brighter. Here's hoping!





Cadbury Purple Mantra Potion

This week, as a reward for getting through a particularly dreaded day, I promised myself a small reward; a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk. 

It was my childhood favourite chocolate bar, and hence there is something deeply comforting about that familiar sweet, rich and creamy flavour and texture. And the colour; Willy Wonka purple;  could anything be more nostalgic?
 


So (small amounts of) chocolate (like glitter) are a coping mechanism. My visual diary has been a help, too; every day this week I have been scribbling the mantra "It will be ok" in it in a hypnotising array of colours, behind which the ghost of a potion sketch from the previous page looms. However bad I feel when I start writing this phrase, by the time I have finished I invariably feel better. The simple act of choosing which colour to use next is calming and gently stimulating. The phrase itself, like Dairy Milk, is deeply comforting. It may not be wonderful; it may not be spectacular; but it will be ok.


 I combined the two in this week's Apotheké #secretsofselfpreservation potion. Cadbury purple ribbon is the backdrop to a ragged, battered, yet cheerfully coloured cross stitched "It will be ok" and accompanied in its equally bright bottle by two tiny bars of Dairy Milk, in case of emergencies.









Remember you can get involved too, via the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation, by writing about a simple way you plan to, or already do, take care of yourself. Alternatively, you can create your own embroidered (or written on paper) potion - just remember to include the hashtag #secretsofselfpreservation along with your snaps of it.

Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness


Now that I've started at the Royal School of Needlework, I'm always on the look-out for visual inspiration. I'm particularly drawn to natural forms, and so I took the opportunity to go on an early autumn walk with my family.

This star moss had intense green tendrils and was springy underfoot, buoyed up with the rain

Autumn is my favourite season, visually (if one discounts truly wintry days); mist and dew descends over the landscape, brightly lacquered leaves line the earth, and nature's harvest swells.

These incredibly sculptural bracket fungi were almost as large as chairs


I got the idea that I would stitch a wild mushroom for my silk shading (essentially photo-realistic painting with threads) module, and so I got out my camera and scanned the forest for interesting fungi.

This little cep mushroom was the specimen I felt most inclined to stitch


There had been a heavy rain just prior to our walk, and water droplets hung from all the plants, and polished the mushrooms.

Sumptuous beefsteak fungus

The tannins and reflections in the leaves below turned these water droplets caught in a spider's web into liquid gold and bronze

As autumn continues and turns into winter, I must make the time to take these walks, observing, recording, and enjoying the season...