Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Monday, 23 September 2013
At about the time I posted the last post, which was admittedly a slightly perfunctory effort at keeping a hand in, I was going through something of a life crisis. I'm going to call it a Quarter Life Crisis as with hindsight that is possibly what it was.
Don't get me wrong; it wasn't dramatic, traumatic or any other kind of -atic. It just was. Work was busy and stressful; Husband had moved into my flat and crikey, marriage is quite difficult isn't it and apparently more so when you have to live with each other; my lovely home became full of two sets of things, so it was harder and harder to keep the clutter under control; and we were trying to buy a home together and think about moving so there was little point trying to move his stuff out of storage or some of mine into it. I was trying to make things but never with the time or space to really get stuck into anything creative - just lots and lots of ideas and no real way of recording them or putting them into action. Everything felt a bit as if it was trying to get all my attention leaving very little in there that was just about me. The peaceful milling about that had signified my life before wasn't really possible as Husband has a way of doing things and it involves doing things constantly - the contrast between my view that sometimes doing nothing is of equal value to doing something and his view that every minute not spent running around is wasted caused some tension. Shifting my working days down to three instead of five bought me some space but in the end I had a list of jobs to do on those days off and I never really got the concentrated time I wanted just to bobble around and be myself.
And all of a sudden it became blindingly obvious that 95% of what I was doing, I didn't want to be doing. Not in a forever sort of way but just not right now. It dawned on me that it was now or never to do some things that I haven't had the chance to do before, for lots of reasons some of which were within and some without my control. I've never lived outside London for example. I've never studied (after A'levels) full-time; I've never really done anything that was all about me actually. There's always been a sidelong look to make sure other people weren't upset by it, or didn't feel threatened by it and then I've pulled back.
So suddenly here I am. I find myself on a career break (for which I am eternally grateful to my very supportive and understanding employer) and living for four days a week in Glasgow, studying for a masters in art history - it is textile related and pretty niche (I did at least consider whether I could do it from London - I can't) and I had my first lecture today.
The funny thing is that, aside from a few butterflies when I landed here a couple of weeks ago so that Husband could help me orientate (without some fairly hefty navigational support I am a flightless bird with no sense of north) I feel pretty fine. I am someone perennially beset by doubt, able to forensically identify all the possible pitfalls and then to worry myself into inertia by them. Contrastingly, or perhaps because of that, I am also capable of incredible spontaneity and honestly I think sometimes the lack of thinking time when making big decisions helps me not to be a completely fixed point. But this morning, as I navigated my way to my first lecture clutching my trusty A to Z (I still can't work my smart phone) I felt nothing but Monday morning sleepiness and a hearty dose of anticipation for what was to come. The thought that ran through my mind was "this is just what I am doing now." There was no need for nerves or wobbles of any sort. It was very pleasing.
The first lecture was really interesting and afterwards, I meandered round the city before heading back to Halls to do some reading. There is a lot of work to do and of course I do wonder if I'm up to it; I certainly hope so but only the next twelve months and lots of work will really be able to tell. But it's part of the experiment just to see what on earth will happen. I was reading Tilly & the Buttons blog the other day and she has also recently left her job and it occurred to me that perhaps it's a sign of the times, or perhaps it's a community of bloggers who are all roughly the same age and therefore are reading each others words on the web as well as going through similar experiences, but change has seemed to be in the air for a while and things simply couldn't carry on as they had.
Of course, the reality is that I haven't left my job and I am grateful to know that it is there to go back to. There were moments over the weekend when the reality set in and I was upset. The team I work with are fun, really fun. My panicky thought was "who will I have fun with now." I suspect in 18 months time, things will feel very much as they did before - although I'm sure some of the faces at work will be different, some change is inevitable after all - but I can't help feeling now that I have the most amazing opportunity at my fingertips and it is absolutely imperative that I don't let it pass me by. Just because the balance feels precarious doesn't mean that it is - those seals who balance beach balls on their nose make it look very easy but I imagine it's pretty tricky to do. One of the concerns that has always held me back, even when I was very small, was the fear of "what happens if I try really hard and am still not able to succeed" - it always seemed much easier therefore not to try too hard, just in case. This is something I am very conscious of and perhaps that is enough to overcome those funny little voices we all have holding us back from things.
There are still making projects in the offing - for example, I made a pair of curtains for the bathroom the other day. I am not going to show a photograph for several reasons. Firstly, the fabric is a lovely mushroom colour with white spots. It photographs a municipal institutional colour, like a curtain pulled round a sick bed; it looks horrible. Secondly, the curtains were fine but very basic and what would have been the point really, a photograph may actually have been more boring than no photographs. When we moved into the house, the previous owners appear to have taken everything - half of the lightbulbs had gone, all of the pelmets (which were ugly but was it necessary to detach them from the walls with small explosives, same with the wall lights) and the curtain rails. The house will be lovely in a few years and lots of work time, but at the moment, I am left frequently marvelling at how people live. How can a couple live happily with giant Rococo style fireplaces but have no work spaces in the kitchen (seriously, none - not even a top to perch a cup of tea on); or install the most enormous bath with the feet of a lion, but have a sink the size of a tea cup contrastingly serviced by firehose water pressure ensuring a thorough drenching every time one has to wash ones hands. It is a funny thing, how other people live.
Blogging therefore will take a bit less of a makey turn and probably focus more on things I'm pondering for the course and things I'm pondering for the house. Saying that, I do plan to make myself a corduroy skirt, along the lines of the red one I made a few months ago but in a dark navy or aubergine corduroy, a Fair Isle tank top (just in case other students weren't sure I was the oldest person in Halls by a long margin) , this poncho (http://www.knitrowan.com/designs-and-patterns/patterns/comfort) because I hear it can get pretty chilly in Glasgow, and I'm also working my way though Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket pattern at the moment although I'm still on mail out three and it's currently on mail out nine of ten so best knit like the wind eh Margo.
Right, a very long and picture free post - I will change that next time; goodness knows Glasgow is a beautiful city so there are plenty of things to take snaps of. Just need to find the camera which is packed somewhere sensible and safe but unlocatable.
Toodleoo for now ...
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
I also hand quilted a bird on the wool felt side to add some detailing, although I only thought of it once I'd sewn the three layers (cotton fleece, batting and wool felt) together and it was a bit of a trial to do it that way. You do get a quite nice shadow effect though, which you can see on the second photograph, so I'm not entirely unhappy with it. It turned into a popular present too, but not for my niece who never got her paws on it as it was pinched by my sister instead.
Friday, 24 May 2013
|Nothing says glamour like an office shot|
As part of that, I will be planning to move my blog and will update with more details of that in due course. I’m determined to figure out taking proper photographs.
In the meantime, I’m beavering away on my knitwear design course, and have been using manhole covers – not very original I know – as a source of inspiration for my first module homework. If you’ve never looked at them much before, there is a plethora of different types of doorway into the world under the pavements and each company seems to have made an art form of them. From paving stones, utility company covers and manhole covers, someone somewhere wanted to make these mundane bits of the world beautiful and I found that very inspiring. No, I don't think I'm unique or original in thinking that; if anything I should be ashamed that it has taken me this long to think it. It's probably scuttled across my mind before, but taking the photographs has made me ponder on it properly. Here are a selection.
|Fleet Street maholes|
|To quote Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch "this is not my shoe" - someone scampered past quick as a flash while I was taking the picture (they looked perplexed about why I was taking the picture too)|
|Crossing bobbles - utilitarian and oddly lovely (sore on the feet though)|
|Commemorative and functional and older than me, hooray - not that I'm anxious about my birthday just gone and advancing years|
|Water - simple grid but striking|
|The South Bank - I loved the way the straight line pavement markers ran up to meet the grid of the cover|
|Clifford's Inn - a window to the basement|
|Old Inns of Court door|
|Is it the same Hope Foundry Co - formed in the 19th century and still adorning our streets|
|Cobblestone fans outside St Pauls Cathedral|
|The view from my bicycle|
This weekend I suspect I shall be dragged back out on the mean streets of SE London. I say dragged; it's great fun being out on the bicycle although people openly laugh at me with my SS tank commander cycle hat (albeit in Cranberry) and on the Pashley while Husband rides a perfectly sensible and modern bicycle. Mine weighs 3.5 stone or thereabouts, I can barely get the thing up and down the pavements without help and my pathetically low athleticism means that I spend quite a bit of time huffing and puffing up the hills while Husband bounds up, back down to meet me, up again, back down. You get the idea. Much like when we run together - he probably covers twice the distance as I bouncy walk along behind him. I'm not built for running - I've got a runners lean upper body, and the classic legs of the English pear. I feel sad for me too. It presents several challenges with dress making, and more of that in June too ...
I'm trying to work out a bit of image styling for a brand new, pimped out, vamped up blog and loved the colours of this Koigu merino. An introduction to photograph course starts soon at the City Lit and I am signed up - couldn't come soon enough as I've got to stop being frightened of the technological future, especially as the future I'm fearing is already the past and I'm on the verge of being obsolete.
|Bought from The Village Haberdashery, rubbish photograph by me|
Finally, I saw Kaffe Fassett at SOAS on Monday evening and this image (excuse the stair rail in the foreground - I was trying to snap quickly while Brandon Mably flew through the slides) really struck a chord. I love the colours and vibrancy and it got my already quite motivated self even more motivated to get working harder on the knit/stitch/sewn design side.
|Kaffe Fassett - photograph of slides at SOAS presentation 20 May 2013|
Thursday, 4 April 2013
I hope that all of you are having a very good 2013 so far. This is a picture of the Play-doh exploits of my nephews at New Year. As you can see, the year got off to a good and creative start. The squashed figure lying down is, apparently, Batman and the other thing is a tortoise. My niece wasn't keen on me having any to play with so the piglet in the background is what I could muster with the blob I was given. It's a bit pathetic I know but I did enjoy having a muck about with the stuff.
|Front of the quilt|
|The hand quilting on the back|