Spring storm, hares and a bit of good news.

As I write, there are sporadic storms passing over the cottage, driving in from nearby Herefordshire. It’s been muggy all weekend; not the overpowering heat of full summer, but a heavy, dense warmth that brings on slight headaches and sleepiness. Now the heat has been partially lifted by cool winds and intense, short downpours, and the thick grey clouds rumble and grumble with low thunder. I do love this weather - if only it could be forever May, with fickle, changing light, flurries of tiny, fresh flowers and all the greens popping with new life. 

Things are, to be perfectly honest, not easy. I have no idea what the rest of this year will bring, nor if I will be here the next. I’ve somehow managed to survive eleven years in this scruffy but very dear little home, first of all not knowing if I wanted to be here after losing Andy, then not knowing if I could, as I am almost totally reliant on my Etsy sales for survival. Mostly I take a stoical viewpoint and try to ignore the things in the past that I cannot change and the future, which is largely unknowable.  Not having anyone to discuss things with is so hard and I don’t have the mental resources to deal with what might happen. So, I carry on needle felting and try to drown out my subconscious fear of what may be. 

I’ve just finished a marathon of making two ‘show off’ pieces, which have taken a month or so to create. Usually I try to stick to more affordable, simple things, such as this batch of carrots, in my newer, realistic style - 

 - and for which I made little letterpresses labels, just for extra niceness. 

But sometimes I feel the need to flex myself and go large. Often I’ll make a sketch of something before I start, but these two were made up as I went along and I gradually added the little extras such as two lines of trimming to Carla’s skirt; French knots stitched with thick Perle thread. Then getting to almost the end and deciding she needed a special antique mother of pearl stud from my best button box to finish her off. 

Poor Charlie was started a couple of years ago and was taking so long that I abandoned him, finding him in a plastic moth-proof bag at the bottom of a basket earlier this year. He was very grateful to be rescued and even more relieved to be given ears and arms at last. I usually can’t afford to invest so much time into bigger pieces like these, but sometimes, as I said, I like to indulge in a bit of ‘showing off’. Wonderfully, Carla has just found a new home and so tonight I will sleep a little easier before packing her off on one of the lovely new gift boxes I’ve sourced, tied with a ribbon. 

Which leaves me with another piece of very good news - on the recommendation of my friend and miniaturist painter Valerie Greeley, I entered one of my imaginary toadstools, ‘Fog-in-the-Woods’ for the annual exhibition of the Royal Miniature Society, whose patron is King Charles. I almost didn’t, as it costs £18 per piece to submit, which is half of my weekly shopping budget, but I thought I’d give it a try; nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Needle felt - or needle sculpted wool, which is what it really is - is a non-traditional and fairly new media. I wasn’t optimistic that  it would be considered, especially as it’s been languishing in my shop, unsold, for a few years. 

However, I was thrilled to receive an email telling me that it has been chosen for pre-selection. This is the exhibition choosing stage and there is every chance it may be rejected. I don’t know if any of the selectors will have knowledge of needle felt, so it will probably be judged solely on its merits as a sculptural piece. 

If it gets in, the minimum selling price is £190, which puts it up there as a serious work of art and would make a huge difference to my profile as a selling artist. However, I am keeping a firm lid on my expectations and consider it an honour to have been chosen just for consideration. But wouldn’t it be wonderful…

If you’d like to buy one of my pieces before I enter the high-rolling international art market, do pop into my Etsy shop and pick up a bargain. (Said with tongue firmly in cheek). 


Granny Sue said...

I am pleading with the universe for your sweet mushroom to get into the show! What a boon that would be! Your work is so exquisite.

Lin said...

I'm sorry things are hard for you right now. And in the past. You've been through a lot and most I don't even know about...but I encourage you to keep on. I imagine being alone and the weather being heavy doesn't help your spirit. As I age, I find I do a lot more "thinking" and even though I have my husband here, I don't get answers to the deep questions. Maybe it is just the pondering phase of life? Sad to look back...scary to look forward. Do I quit work now? Or keep on going for something to do. Plus, with the economy, the money helps. But...I want to use that time for lighter, more fun things.

I hope you find peace in your quest. I find nature helps lift my spirit (if it isn't all hot and muggy and/or raining).

You are awesomely talented and your work is so lovely. I like all the little patches on the things you make as we all have broken parts of us that need a little mending. I really hope you find some sunshine in your day....today...and tomorrow...and the day after.

Granny Sue said...

And I took your advice, and ordered a lovely print! Thanks for the nudge!

Shrimpton and Perfect said...

All my fingers are crossed for you.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Oh my goodness this is so exciting! I have my fingers and toes crosses and will be praying that this toadstool gets into the competition! Congratulations on making it this far.
I an sorry that you are having a hard time, I will keep you in my prayers.

Twiglet said...

Fingers crossed that your lovely work is recognized and raises your profile. You certainly deserve a boost. I love your new characters.. xx Jo