Beginning. How to begin. Making, drawing, playing are crucial for my survival. I attempt to chisel a nook in each day, a tiny capsule cave to crawl inside of and play. To be without a space for expression, for even a week creates a blockage. A toxic sewage build up that implodes in various guises unrelated. If too much time passes without visiting that cave, going back there is scary. Picking up a brush, a tool, an instrument is no longer natural and freeing, but brimful of pressure and fear. A friend shared this and it is a helpful mantra in moments of creative vulnerability.
I was saved by super printer and all round good egg Mr Phil Chrisp of EE Chrisp Printers very recently. It happened to be the 114th Birthday of the business on the particular day I visited, and I am most grateful for the wonderful results his Heidelberg Platten press consistently provides. The pressure, precision and beauty the letterpress gave the work lifted my heavy heart after a fruitless morning trying to pull a print from a proofing press. I have worked with Phil since I wondered into his print workshop back in Castlefield in 2005, and he has printed all of my larger editions of letterpress work. He was one of the first friends I met when I moved to Manchester and he's a tip top fella. Barney the pup is also a sweetheart. x
I can't remember ever having so many pans of opportunity simmering, yet I know that this is not new territory for me. There are times when as much as my head desires to plough on, to grasp all that is tempting, my body has the last word. I have to take stock, it says, you're running me into the ground, it threatens. I have to remember to take notice, to be mindful of what is important. To Love is important, and to be Loved. My head has decided to create a delay with my movement, around . 5 of a second behind, as if I'm travel sick. I am still today, without a choice in the matter.
A short time away to where there are no ways in for the outside to get me, to turn my head or disturb my flow. I say goodbye to technology that daily defeats my efforts at stillness. I have been drawing and making quietly and now it's time to write, deep in the woods with not a responsibility to anything but my pen. See you on the other side.
It's been an oddly busy few months since returning. The weeks have whooshed by in a flurry of work/flux/imbalance/impermanence. Days of restorative sewing of paper and typesetting are a blurred memory as are the many hours of planning and delivering workshops weekinweekout. Boxes of dearest possessions still lay untouched since September, now shrouded in a thick layer of dust from studio rest. Only now in these days of rest and finally some reflection can I see the way to move towards the next few months. I hope Easter provided a Spring clean of the mind too.
It's a little past January 1st, yet I always like to hold out on the new years wishes until I've fully survived 'Blue Monday' (statistically the darkest day of every year). So, as the sun reassuringly sets on the 3rd monday of January, may I say a NeW HaPpy YeAR to you.
For me the year of the Dragon brings/ standing in LoVe/ Godmother status (finally)/ a Book fair tour/ plenty more tap/ nights of long dark secret warmth/ letterpress printed editions/ lungfuls of sea air/slow H Van meandering/ new tiny lives/ stimulating collaborations/ NY ideas/ Brandy nightcaps/ poetic ambitions/ oh and a mane of red hair.
2012. The year of possibility.
My Tap dancing inspiration for the week, Ann Miller in Kiss me Kate 1953.
Appearing at a dancehouse near you very soon, a new routine for 4.
Practice for an hour each night from now until then.
Tele-tones, projector, nerve.
Desperate for a carpenter.
Too much of a good thing can make you want to consume something bad. I'm trying to only let the good things in. I'm struggling, floundering, paddling the battle of will and want.
A long armed embrace or promised eskimo kiss won't help this time. I need something more, to absorb into my weak red blood. It's turning cold in here and I haven't got a cardigan. Is there any cashmere out there.
A new year, or decade, is full of potential. Start yoga (again), go to tap dancing class, draw for half an hour a day, write two pages upon waking, cycle even in the rain. Instead of implementing new regimes this time around, I intend to rid myself of the old routines that hold me back. Holding on instead of letting go, fixing the unfixable, fierce self-reliance, never calling back. A relieved exit from 2010 in the snowy highs of Heriot Toun, with whiskey, whiskers and warmth, waking to a perfect new year breakfast full of hopeful perspective and eggy bread. Happy new you.