My lockdown thoughts –
L ess distractions
O nline is where I’m to be found
C onnecting with artists, friends and family on social media
K indle – essential kit! Often words and stories inspire my ideas.
D raw and paint every day
O rganise my studio/pottery / kitchen/files/ seeds
W ake up early and make the most of the day
N o pressure
This is 4 weeks now, isolating, creating and reflecting.
Of course, I worry about my family and friends at home and in the UK, the recession ahead of us all, the tragedy of lives lost. Change came so shockingly and suddenly. Life seems so fragile, and yet outside, the natural world around us is carrying on in its beautiful complexity.
Before Covid, customers always ask how do I manage to do all the things I do.
Its not a problem – I have/had a fantastic team – in the office, in the shops, and in the café, that took on all the business side of my life and magically made my love of creating into a success.
Now, since restrictions and the pandemic, I have had to close my 3 shops, my gallery and café at home in Ahakista is closed, I have defaulted on our mortgage. Our financial future is looking bleak.
My team are still there, but now we speak on zoom. No one joins us for lunch in the kitchen, laughs in the pottery. That part of my life at the moment, I miss.
My husband Klaus has been tirelessly dedicated to working on our new website, in between my morning asks of him – could you strim/mow/paint / fix washing machine/dredge pond….. endless , but satisfying jobs around our extensive property.
Somehow, I am in a good space. I feel no pressure to work on certain things on certain days. There are no visitors around - always lovely to chat to, but still distractions.
When the sun shines, I can garden. The salads and herbs I usually grow for our café, I am bagging up and offering to anyone who passes our door.
Jobs outside are getting tackled that haven’t been sorted for years.
A new project, our fishing boat in the garden, has been completed and is flying the Barbados flag, reminding me of the small beautiful island where I grew up. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to return.
Our garden is 4 acres, and normally now, as it is on the West Cork Garden Trail, we would have a steady stream of visitors to the home gallery, garden and café. We are trying to maintain it and keep it beautiful , hoping visitors will be returning soon, almost feeling guilty enjoying the peace and quiet!
My days are full and rich.
I wake early, the sun on Rosskerig lights up the mountain with an orange glow. Our cherry tree is flowering - pink flowers against orange mountain. Exquisite.
We take Molly and Mikey around the block, checking the water for diving birds, otters, herons, swans, the tide, the wind….
If there is no wind, we can kayak in the bay, the water is turquoise and clear like in the Caribbean. Oystercatchers and herons are not so shy when you approach from the water.
I can spend a morning painting in the studio, a while watering, planting, weeding in the garden.
At the end of the day, the sea calls, and finally, I have managed to get properly in the water. Every day now it will get easier to swim. Sitting down at my favourite spot, I am so grateful and lucky to live near the sea in lovely West Cork.
I have always worked as an artist and I am used to self disciplining, but now I feel I have the time and the freedom to be less structured and organised and go with the creative flow. It is working!
I have produced and completed more work during these 4 weeks, than ever before. I have time to ‘play’ and experiment, to explore and discard.
I think this may be the same for many of my artist friends. We are used to self isolating – we need it.
I am happiest when I am creating and find that so many things inspire me. I find it hard to settle on a style of working as I am attracted to such a variety of concepts – simplicity, subtlety, pattern, graphic images, expressionism, figurative, abstract. So many strands. There is always that magic space when you are so completely in the creative zone, that creating becomes an all encompassing , meditative state of being.
Seeing my images on new surfaces and designing new products is fulfilling and exciting. Some of my raku fired ceramic designs are translated on to a new jewellery range. New series of paintings are printed on tablemats and coasters.
I have to acquire new skills, especially on the computer, to develop these ideas, but I have a determined streak, and enjoy the challenge.
Back to reality, I enjoy and need to make a living from my art – it’s the only thing I know how to do. I feel that I can share hope and cheer during these unprecedented times with my creations.
I am now solely dependent on our online shop – it’s a beautiful, exciting, new one and it’s all I have at the moment!