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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: November 2009

Glittering Shards

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Handmade Christmas

There is burgeoning 'handmade movement' promoting stuff lovingly and carefully made by local artist and crafters. At this time of year a lot of us our out and about showing our wares at Christmas fairs. So, if you are looking for unique gifts, consider doing the art and craft trail instead of (or in addition to) visiting the big chain stores.

I will be at :
The Brix  Christmas Art and Craft Fair in the centre of Brixton Friday eve 5-9pm and Saturday 10 - 5pm and at St Anselm's Christmas Fair, in the Crypt at St. Anselm's Church, right next to Tooting Bec tube on Friday 4th December, 7.30 - 10pm.  If you are nearby, come and say hello as this is my first time on the art fair trail and your smiling face will do me lots of good ;)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What pulls you?

aOne of my pieces for the art fair this weekend has sold! This is very wonderful but I have to get my skates on and keep making as I am now one piece down and want to make sure I have enough beauties to sell (here's hoping!).

Sister Sun

What really interested me about selling Sister Sun was that my friend saw it and instantly fell in love with it. She has seen my stuff before but said it was the first piece that really pulled at her. Her reaction on seeing the piece was so fast and from the gut that it really fascinated me - how people can have such a wide range of reactions,from dislike to disinterest to mild like to an instant pull, all towards the same piece. I have had this before with my work, famously a dear friend who fell in love with my Owl (you can see this on my website) and said he had never wanted to own a piece of art before but something about it really touched him. Owl wasn't for sale and my friend went as far as to write a poem about wanting Owl which he posted in the visitors book on my web site and still sits there for posterity!

I suppose our wildly differing response to art is no surprise as we are all different but it does remind me, as a maker, not to get too hung up on how people respond and to keep making stuff that I like and that challenges me to grow and develop.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A life well lived?

The mosaic making fest continues and I have popped in for lunch - one of my favourite meals of nice cheese and crackers (crumbs all over the keyboard...). Here's one of the latest pieces.

My dear husband has toddled off to Manchester this morning for his annual children's lawyer conference - I miss him a lot when he goes away (which thankfully is not often) and am very grateful for living in an amazing, community-spirited street with many wonderful neighbours close at hand. Many of us have young children and the level of mutual support is a total lifeline and very enriching. Our own urban tribe?

This morning a friend told me the saddest story of a lady she knew. This woman lived in a stunning home, had an expensive car and had retired from a successful career. She was dying of cancer and found herself alone, without family or many friends. She told my friend "I think I have wasted my life". A few weeks later she died. Her haunting words have been circling round my head. I have always been the kind of person that grasps life tenaciously. I am very determined and focussed. I wonder if she was the same, but realised too late that she had pursued the wrong things? How will we look back and evaluate our lives so that we can say "I have not wasted my life - it was a life well lived"?  I think top of my list will be loving relationships, community, beauty, creativity and plain old human kindness.

A quote I heard about 20 years ago has stayed with me as a good plumbline:  "The glory of God is a human being fully alive". That is what I want to be - fully alive and sparking life around me. I guess that will be a life well lived.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mirror, mirror on the wall

There's a stream of work coming in preperation for the art fair at the Brix in Brixton. Here are two mirrors I have just finished. Their origins go back over 4 years ago, before my children were born.

I began the bubbles mirror and nearly finished it before Isabella arrived but its destiny was to sit incomplete and very dusty until last week - all things have their time. I'm not sure how differently I would have done this if I had conceived and started this piece now, but there was only a little corner left to do so its blueprint was set. Still, I like it a lot. I use white grout quite rarely but I do think it works well against all mirror mosaics. It is hard enough photographing mirror, but a mosaic of a mirror mosaiced with mirror! I shall have to try again to get a better shot.

The second mirror was one that I thought about doing 5 years ago and finally the idea became reality. It is made of driftwood mirror from Selsey beach, collected over years by my good friend, Kate. It is interspersed with some pieces from a huge pile of broken jewellery thanks to my enthusiastic little boy who has a thing about grabbing my necklaces with the inevitable consequences - annoying from a fashion point of view but useful for my life in mosaics!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Hands that make stuff

One of the downsides of what I do is that my hands look pretty rough - tiny cuts from handling glass, skin dry from grouting. Today I was showing Isabella how to do finger knitting and it just struck me how different my fingers looked in comparison to her tender little ones. I'm not big on nail varnish on my hands (toes are another matter!) as it only lasts 5 minutes but I do wish my hands were a little more ladylike. I guess the state of your hands reflects your personality. My mum's hands are the same and I have inherited those aspects of her personality like not being able to sit still for long and her creative spirit that could take something and just make with it. She once made a kite with us - from a plastic bag and dry spaghetti!  Well, these ole hands have been busy this week making stuff...two more mosaics, two mirrors and more mosaic stones. I will photograph them tomorrow and post pics. In the meantime, here's a picture of my hands holding Isabella's one week old feet - can you believe this little one will soon be four?


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I spent a lovely evening with some of the other BAMM South London members a couple of nights ago and, yet again, I was struck by just how non-competitive, open and inclusive I have always found the mosaic community to be. We chewed over the perrenial issue of how to price our work and I really appreciated the down to earth and realistic approach of these friends. I still haven't totally settled the issue in my mind but I feel pretty sure of the motivation and values from which I create my work and am determined for this to be the foundation. As we discussed some of our fears, it struck me again how vulnerable art making is and I felt very grateful for the lovely encouragment and feedback from this evening. Thank you ;)


Friday, November 06, 2009

New workshop, new work

Here's a new piece - my obsession with sun and moon continues! This is a small, ungrouted mosaic, 20cm x 14 cm, made of vitreous and ceramic tiles, stained glass, iridized tiles and beads and it is for sale.

I actually spent my first full day (well, 11am to 5pm!) in the new studio yesterday and it was a very calming, serene experience. I love that I can reach things really easily now, rather than having to clamber over and remove lots of things to get to the material I am reaching for. I cannot tell you how much difference it has made to have white walls - the reflection of light us amazing and more so because one whole side of the room has windows. I feel very blessed to have this wonderful space and am looking forward to resuming the mosaic workshops.

Being in the studio, especially in the evening, has introduced me to a whole strata of wildlife activity that I never knew existed in my back garden. The amount of traffic on the roof is quite astounding - I think we are a local freeway! I am learning to tell the difference between the thud of the foxes, the scuttle of the squirrels and the sauntering of the neighbourhood cats. I think some of them are getting used to me too now, as they sit on the fence and look in at me. The odd fox and cat has also come in and had a look around (maybe they are interested in joining a mosaic class!)


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Creative learning

I have been doing an e-course run by the lovely Marisa at Creative Thursday, which came to an end as I sat in bed, convalescing and listening to the last week of pod casts.

Marisa's spirit has been just lovely:  enabling, empowering and full of integrity. Her words have propelled me to continue down the path of creating art from the heart (sorry about the cliché but it’s so true). Art that is connected to and sourced from a core part of me that seeks beauty and seeks to beautify. 

The course has also, fundamentally, helped me nail unhealthy comparison on the head and accept, rather gladly, that I am where I am in my journey with creating (which I cannot really separate from my journey as a spiritual and social person) and that there is enough time to do this journey with integrity and with respect to the process. Put bluntly, to stop comparing myself negatively when I look at others amazing work and where they are on their journey. The core of this has been a realisation that my art is an extension of me and only I can be "me" so really there is no point comparing! 

Another precious thing I take away from this course is connections to many wonderful women makers and artists all on a similar path. I value these connections very much and am looking forward to getting to know some of my classmates more as the months go by.

Thank you Marisa and thank you fishies!