There is something about old suitcases…These are three I own. I have recently acquired another – it’s large, very dark brown leather, complete with thick leather straps and buckles, but that is not photographed here.
My suitcases serve no real travel purpose, I use them to store odd bits of paper, letters, notes, postcards, wrapping papers, and scraps of card/tissue/twine. But I love them. The smallest one was actually my first school bag, complete with its early 70’s stickers peeling away on the inside and the holes where my fingers dug in when it was heavy on my long walk home from school. The others have found there way to me over the years. A reminder of travel I have done and places I hope to be one day…
In the meantime, they are damn good storage facilities for miscellaneous papers, and frequently a fairy costume and pirate sword or two, find there way in their too.
A little thought in the spirit of Valentines Day…hope you had a good one.
A big part of my art/writing is about finding beauty in everyday and ordinary places and noticing what I call “the small stuff”. There is nowhere more unassuming than a cutlery drawer in an old house where I uncovered an odd collection of old silver forks, knives and spoons casually mixed up with a mish-mash of stainless steel and plastic handled cutlery. I grabbed the old silver, and no, I did not run, but rather, I set about photographing it, in such a way as too showcase it’s inherent beauty. I love that it is used on a daily basis and not stored away; that it is beaten, tarnished and the once legible initials have nearly worn off. Such beauty.
I was given a large number of old preserving jars recently and was wondering what to do with them, when inspiration hit…add a large collection of shells, one empty shelf and suddenly my random pile of collected beach shells looks interesting, ecclectic, and maybe even stylish. Not a bad effort for a rainy afternoon at the beach.
The best Christmas gifts are not found under the tree. Whether they are close by, living far away, or sometimes only dwelling in our hearts; it is our family and our friends that give us the best gifts of all, love and a sense of belonging to something bigger than just ourselves.
Three F words for Christmas…Family. Friends. Forever.
B is for Believing. Believing is an important, crucial part of the spirit of Christmas. Believing that there is hope for a better, kinder world, with more love and more peace is, for me, a key part of what Christmas means to me.
Christmas is also about Bells, Baubles, Bubbly champagne, and here in New Zealand, it is also about Beaches and summer Barbeques. But above all, B is for Believing in the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas at the beach will not be quite right without something to set the scene. We have a disused fireplace with a mantle piece at our place at the beach, so that was the obvious site for the “tree” I had planned. I was determined to use what I could find around our place, and sure enough, amongst my random collection of driftwood, stones, and shells, I found enough bits of driftwood collected from the beach, to assemble my version of a driftwood Christmas tree. I did “decorate” it with various shells and found beach items, but, in hindsight, I prefer the simpleness and texture of the bare tree, as photographed. Sometimes understated and simple is best.
It was wet and cold on Sunday, so after a visit to our local tertiary institute to check out the recent photography/art/design graduates final exhibition, I filled our dining table with various papers and creative tools. This included old Christmas cards, used wrapping papers, various paper bags, old postcards, ink stamps, pages from old books, stickers, pens, ribbon and string. The children all got busy making their own special things and while they were so busy, I starting making some of my own Christmas decorations using a shape I have had for ages of a dove/angel. I layered lots of assorted found papers, glued them, cut out my angel/dove shape, then finished them off with words I found or made about Christmas.
As I don’t have a tree yet, I strung mine with an old bead necklace that had fallen apart, and attached them to my vintage lamp stand. It turned out rather well, I thought. They move gently with the breeze so you can see both sides, and the light in the evening makes them look especially pretty. They are not perfect. But they are made from the heart and with love, with things from my home. The children’s decorations are equally as charming, although saved for pride of place on the christmas tree!
She was a trial of something new, an attempt to transfer an image onto industrial tape for reasons I can no longer quite remember. Something happened along the way and my image came out quite different to what I had imagined.
I considered throwing it out at the time, but every time I look at it, I just can’t bring myself too. For three reasons; firstly because we learn more when we make mistakes, because that means we tried something new and took a risk. Secondly, because although her image is transformed into something almost unrecognisable, it feels full of movement, colour and passion. And thirdly, simply because she is dancing. And who wouldn’t want a bit more dancing in their life?
Its all well and good to be surrounded by things you love and that inspire you, but when that starts to feel overwhelmingly like clutter, it can have the opposite effect, weighing you down instead of uplifting you and inspiring creativity. I had got to the point where I hated going in to my studio as it really was looking quite chaotic. There was stuff everywhere, paints, papers, books, glues, brushes, scraps, rags, piles and piles of “stuff” I had collected along the way for “just in case”.
So I pulled everything off my three inspiration boards. Every single item (and it was pretty crammed with bits of paper/notes/pages from books and magazines/business cards, postcards, photos, cards, found ephemera, etc…) and I only put back several images that really spoke to me. Everything else was either sorted into “keep” (for another project), or “rubbish pile”…fortunately most were kept, but are now in one of my treasured suitcases of collected papers.
I also had two frames that I loved stored away, as they both were missing glass and backing…so I out them on the wall and two small bits of art found there way into them. A nice effect I think – a bit quirky.
It looks much barer than before, but in a strange way it feels calmer and more inspiring by being less cluttered. Like a welcoming place to think, do, reflect, create and make art.