All Work And No Play…

It’s been quite some time since I sat and blogged, and what a jam packed month or so it has been.  Light Box has been extremely busy with planning and preparing for the launch of October workshops, and I have let the time I set aside for creative pottering somewhat slide.  I must admit, after the overwhelming reception and success of the Arts Trail I made a bit of a U-Turn and battened down the hatches for a while.  “How can I match that?!”  I began to think… “Where do I go from here?  How can I develop?  What’s the next step…? It better be good…”.  This flurry of thought and anxiety soon led to me putting making to one side and stifled the love for exploration, collecting and noticing the small details in day-to-day life that inspired the previous 6 months of making.  Fear.  Creative block.  That is all… and with seemingly no time around other commitments to revisit this, and dwindling energy resources I firmly closed the lid.  But there is no getting away from this inner child that needs to play and make… and wow has she been getting louder!  So, with a weeks holiday from work booked (begrudgingly, initially, as I gazed at my to do list) I have come back to Pembrokeshire for 5 days of unwinding and adventuring.  I returned last Thursday and I am heading back to Bristol later on today.  Armed with my note pad and poetry books I was set to make some headway with my writing… but this did not appeal.  When had everything become so serious?!  So, after a bit of self flagellation for not sticking to the “plan” to use my time as a writer’s retreat, I ditched the books and hit the charity shops.  Ahhh, that’s better.  Wow, do  I love searching for hidden gems, and with the prospect of moving into a new and unfurnished home with the fella before Christmas, all the more reason to start preparing now.

This beautiful old leather chair I found in a cancer charity’s warehouse (i’m not telling you all which one, as this a real gem for finds!) for £25!  Nothing a little polish won’t spruce up.

6 Staffordshire Pottery mugs in autumnal hues to go with recently acquired Ode Denby Ware  from Ma John’s side of the family. A handknitted blanket for £3 from Tenovus in Pembroke.  Also purchased were an olive green Welsh wool blanket, a bright old suitcase (for storing linen) and a bright red teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl and water  jug.  Superb!

Also commandeered from Casa Del John was this old biscuit tin , formerly used to house rusty nails, and this electric sign from a helicopter.  Pa John once closely missed going up in flames in a helicopter crash, while working out in the Middle East.  This sign is what he salvaged from the wreckage.  I do love the story behind an interesting object..

Having thoroughly enjoyed the chazza rummaging, and after having a word with myself due to the amount of autumnal shaded bits I was purchasing, I spent the the weekend on the beach.  The beach plastic pieces displayed at the Arts Trail were a real talking point, and I had thought about making a collection of pieces for display.  Yet the thought of just churning out pieces didn’t quite feel right.  Purely going to a place to source the material to make the pieces to sell them on… well it became a bit of a production line in my mind.  It wasn’t until I had spent a couple of days unwinding and exploring did I feel that I wanted to get back to Coppet Hall beach and see what the sea had to offer me.  As the tides are pretty low this time of year, there was quite a build of debris in the seaweed.  Thank goodness for rainy mornings on Sunday and Monday that meant I could have the beach pretty much to myself away from the holidaying masses, to rummage around in the piles without too many funny looks.

Here are some of the interesting bits I found.  So interesting I may have just let out a squeal when I came across these bits among the bottle tops and plastic shards.  One person who came along to the Arts Trail mentioned he had collected Smartie Lids off beaches for years and had the whole alphabet.  Brilliant!

I also picked up a few more plastic men yesterday, a small lego sword and a Monopoly hotel!  I challenge anyone to not take on this noticing and collecting and not get mildly obsessed and excited about it!

With the rest of the week off in Bristol I look forward to some time in the studio playing with the finds and getting back to the books over cups of tea.  The lovely and talented Rebecca Parfitt is currently supporting me with the poetry writing development.  It is just the beginning and it is rather nerve-racking, but I am  really happy to be moving this side of my practice forward.  Thank you Rebecca!

So there  you have it!  A jam packed update that has been inspired by a long weekend of winding down, peace and quiet and reconnecting with myself and my roots.  Key lesson learned:  DON’T FORGET TO PLAY because ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES KATHRYN RATHER HIGHLY STRUNG!!

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