Monday, June 8, 2009

Don't let the quiet fool you ...

Glimpses of John Pule's ink sketches
the Pacific Island section of Te Papa museum and gallery,
Wellington city, New Zealand.
It's free peoples!

Regularly I think about writing a new entry here on my blog. Like almost daily when I check my emails and facebook and fave blogs and surf the creative stuff. I just can't seem to get to it though.

My hours and minutes, mornings and afternoons are speckled with mere moments to myself between baby feeds, changes and sleeps, dropping children off to school and then picking them up again after, thinking about eating and usually grabbing the quickest thing I can find when I can't ignore the hunger pains any longer.

I am not organised or motivated enough to do anything about it. I am kinda organic and intuitive. As in when I wake and peruse the skyline for clues to the day's climate (which changes at the drop of a hat anyway!), I check the baby and my bank account, my petrol gauge and my best friends comings and goings. Then I decide what I will do that day. It is never the washing or the dishes or cooking. No, they are only done when they can no longer be avoided. Once I get a feeling of what I would like to do, I sit for awhile working on my latest projects and then usually get stuck right here on my couch because honestly, what's better than making stuff. And sometimes, I just don't have the mental energy required to get up and get going. So I sit quietly and make stuff by myself.

My art work has been on hold but after lots of heartfelt making over the past year and a bit, there's a glimmer of something in me. I get glimpses of ideas and feel that excitement. I see something meaningful and desire to create deep rich pieces.

Friend Cleo and I spent time with good friend India. She's so bloody inspiring. She's right up there for me. Looks like a big gorgeous wraithe who's emerged from sleeping in the forest. I wish I'd taken my camera. Doh. But then I don't think I could've captured the playful, loving atmosphere we three shared in a picture anyway.

So now I'm wanting to dabble with a sketchbook, just to play. And Cleo and I have made a promise to start on our own personal handmade clothing. It was a good excuse to visit a local secondhand clothing warehouse where I found a silk dress, t-shirt, felted wool jacket and old nightie for repurposing!!! Total cost: $30 which is kinda steep until one thinks about how much one-off handmade handstitched clothing would retail at. They're all too small of course but after hanging with India and seeing how she remakes clothes (it's really is quite magical) , I'm hankering to get going. Just wish we all weren't so far apart. I need that more.

I sat hunkered down on the floor of her hotel room buried in her giant beautiful slow cloths, dyed, handstitched, felted - and I melted. I could feel myself getting all emotional. I had to breathe slowly and found myself kinda speechless. I'd had a difficult week and found being with my good friends and surrounded by beautiful handmade objects just the kind of healing I needed.

Don't get me wrong, I love my life in spite of it's ups and downs. I have so many blessings and am grateful for how rich my life is. But it's no walk in the park either. I try to live my life intentionally (despite not being organised) but it occurred to me last week that I am responsible for the wellbeing of FIVE people intimately as well as supporting extended family and friends. No wonder I buckle sometimes. That's life.

I recalled being single. My possessions were ALWAYS organised. My skin, hair and nails groomed. My wardrobe tidy and I liked what was in it. If I wanted something, I could have it. My diary went everywhere with me and helped me keep track of my busy social life and career. Everything had a place and I governed what was in my life. I had direction, goals and was driven to achieve as much as I could.

And just being with my friends on Friday night was reminiscent of that. Just a small piece of the self-care-pie for me. Not having to think about someone else first. Not having to wait for others. Being able to finish a hot drink while it was still hot. Being able to talk about things I love. Being with people I 'click' with. Playing with shell buttons and knowing others 'got' it. I'm grateful my husband understands my need for these times and pushes me to pursue my passion. It all reminds me of my own little strengths and abilities outside of being a mum and wife and friend.

A whole day can pass rather unremarkably at home these days. I remember this from when my other two sons were small. I am aware it is only a short season (although in the midst of it, it can seem achingly long). And thank God children are loveable, well at least mine are! But after a week of conflict and illness, I was ready for some me time.
It's the reminder that I am more than a caretaker of people. That it isn't a petty thing that I love to create. It's vitally important my love of exploring and playing. I love to be around 'heart' people who are excited about the same things as I. Who see the world with different eyes. Who wish to make a positive difference and a meaningful contribution.

I love the work of New Zealand artists: Colin McCahon and Ralph Hotere, and not surprisingly discover that India has found them inspiring. I also love John Pule's work. I love his mark-making / narrative storytelling styles. I love the influence of Hiapo in his works, Niuean barkcloth. I love Hiapo fullstop! Tribal cloths, handmade by women beating bark until it resembles cloth, then creating marks using naturally sourced inks. Much like what India does. Marking cloth with colour from natural sources. And in there ... 'somewhere' in there is where my 'click' lies.
It's no surprise either that I had a meaningful encounter with my sister-in-law Naomi. That she also loves the same artists and influences. I had a great afternoon in Hamilton at the local gallery viewing some of her work. I also got to see a piece of her hiapo-inspired work. Yep, another 'clicker' I am blessed to have in my life.
Funny, it won't be hurried. I tried to pick up some works earlier this year but put them away because it was forced and I was dissatisfied with the results. It seems everywhere, all the time, I'm being reminded to slow down, BREATHE and just be.
So ok, I sit here knitting baby hats (soooooooooo cute!) with no patterns, randomly and organically making little individual creations for other babies (Knuckles really only needs three hats). I will make my clothes (O God, that wool dress is haunting me India - Cleo and I have a wool blanket dressmaking day this Thursday). I will share with others the joy of knitting (Go Rachel, Shalom and Zoe).
Much like that baseball movie with Kevn Costner (?), "if you build it, they will come". Just gotta have faith and let go. The outcome will be what it will be. It's a trusting exercise for sure.
So don't let the quiet fool you. I am still here. Learning to let the quiet be my friend.
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall rise up on wings like the eagle. They shall walk and not grow weary. They will run and not faint."
Isaiah, Old Testament prophet.


Jeana Marie said...

hey, your posts are well worth the wait - i always leave them feeling encouraged in the Lord.

my baby is just over 2 now, and i still find it hard lots of days. i tend to live intuitively as well, although I have to admit i have had to make myself much more organised since having children for the sake of my sanity and my family - unlike you my single days were spent entirely intuitively with my diary and phone book in my brain and i have always been generally untidy ... but i know what your saying. i don't think i have anyone's # memorised now and if i don't write down a date it's pretty inevitable that i won't show ... so ... yeah. anyway, i am rambling here in your space!

such a great verse to remember for these days :) (and i 'get' shell buttons as well!)glad you had a good time out with friends ;)

Ahipara Girl said...

Thx JM, always lovely to hear your voice. Ur reply was quick. I just posted that. Having a wee look at what u've been up to lately. Lots of mum-goodness. bless. xox

india flint said...

it was so good to spend time with you both...did i mention brilliant book i'm reading?

'bird by bird' by Anne Lamott


ArtPropelled said...

Don't worry, I'm not letting the quiet fool me where you're concerned. I know the ideas are whirrrring in that creative head of yours. Your musings are always a joy to read. So many things I relate to. I think even though you may have slowed down in regard to your creations you will probably be surprised at just how much you do achieve in a few months. I presume you have an idea book that is filling while you sit quietly on that couch. Your time out with India must have been replenishing. The thing is to take more of these little slices of creative joy to balance the more mundane side of your life. ...Easier said than done:-)

Ahipara Girl said...

Funny India, I just ordered that book right now. And got a free book signing up to the local bookstore. And 50% off my next purchase which will of course be my "bird" book. Now to unearth my watercolours and charcoals and poodle around with some stitches and cloth. You are so good for me and to me, you have no idea. O, well, actually you all do, cause I can't stop going on about you. Like now, here ... sigh. Are you sure yall want to live over in the big dry? Come live in the wet, grey and windy, or the Coromandel which is delicious and very hippyish. You'll fit right in there.

Ahipara Girl said...

Robyn, you're the bomb. We're all kindred spirits. It's true. We all 'hum' over the same things. Like a vibration and when we connect, I hear it in you and you in me. I bet you'd love India too. She's amazing. Have a look at her link on my sidebar, knowing you, you've been there done that anyway. Nina, you, India and many others. I can imagine us all walking through the forest or along a shore, eyes down, laughing and delighting over each others finds cause we get it!