Tiptoe, Tully and I .

collections, Mother and Child, Philosophy, Relationships

Last night as I stood at the sink washing up, I finally got an idea about my writing this week. Every six or seven weeks I go to the homeopath and initially it was for my eczema but it has helped unravel a whole lot more. Yesterday’s session peeled back another layer of the onion. The problem is, what ever ideas were flowing to me whilst I bathed the dishes in washing up liquid they are not quite streaming to me this morning as I write. I knew I should stop and write them down but the boys were bashing each other upstairs and I needed to get the pots cleared up so I could go and sort them out. The sculptor was at the studio, if you were wondering.

At bedtime, sometimes the sculptor (from a culture with a history and background of oratory) and also with his imagination tells stories from his head but more often that not it is I who reads to them every night. Except this week, I have used the consequence of their brotherly squabbles turning into tears, as a reason for them going to bed early. Which actually last night, I pondered is probably slightly counter productive, as I  think reading to them calms them down before bed. “I think left, I think right” (Dr Seuss). However, we have all been slightly under the weather so the thought of sitting in-between two snotty coughing boys was not so enticing.

This cheeky sculpture is now in Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer which opens May 12th.

tiptoe outdoors

Tiptoe, looking like a Dr Seuss creature exploring in the woods.

It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss character ‘Cat in the hat’ with the red and white stripes. I have loved reading his books to the boys and as much as they haven’t grown out of picture books, poetry and reading time, the boys put them in the pile to give away. It is hard passing on books but when you have limited space there are only so many books you can keep. I am trying not to discourage them  as they always put the strangest things on the discard pile and keep the little odd plastic bits! In our house this week it has felt a little bit like a Dr Seuss book. We have all got into the habit of speaking in rhyme the biggest culprit, well guess! Honestly it is a mad house. I think living with an artist it is bound to be.

Over the last two weeks I keep seeing the trailer for the movie Tully. It immediately resonated with me, as it will probably do for most mothers. But I also really felt, from the brief snippet of the film, that it portrayed my life over the last ten years. I hadn’t realised at the time but when our eldest was one years old we opened our own business and so my husband had to pour into that. So I guess I was home with the baby ( or in Egypt where I spent 2 months of my maternity leave).  This year marks our ten-year business-owning anniversary. Within that time though, we had two boys and I stopped any paid work, so my role has been one of pouring into them. Often, when we are within something we can’t see what is happening and I very easily forgot to re-fill myself. I have been learning about self-care over the last 18 months, a bit like when you are on an aeroplane, they tell you to put your own mask on first before your children. You can’t pour from an empty vessel. I have often looked at other mothers and wondered how they had so much energy and attention. My sleep deprivation definitely had an effect on all areas of my life. Even with the power of knowledge and hindsight ten years later, sleep deprive me for a night and I am not fit for much.

From what I gleaned from the trailer of the movie, a woman called Tully comes to care for the mother in the film, played by Charlize Theron, who still looks pretty good despite gaining 50 pounds for the role. I guess everyone needs a Tully to come and care for them. I think this is what we lack in the west now as we live and bring up our families in isolation. Perhaps, the African proverb , ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ has underlying wisdom. So, this past year I have sourced a kind-of care from several woman globally and I feel I am slowly coming back to the woman I was. The woman I am. Not the Sam I am (that’s the sculptor and Dr Seuss talking again).

We tiptoe around motherhood in so many ways. Although we may not be able to get a Tully in our lives ( I will have to see the film and probably should have before writing this post) but if you can then do. More importantly you can affect your own life with the story you are telling yourself. Stay positive, words are powerful and find your own inner Tully.

dr seuss

Links for woman needing any help rejuvenate themselves!

May 13-19thwoman’s health 

For un uncluttered life, become unstuck with Allie

Mother like a boss with Kendra

Get fit with Zehra at The Fit nest or Yoga with Adriene

If you are local and looking for a homeopath :

Emma Colley

or

https://wwwfindahomepath.org

Challenges: Nanowrimo, Solo exhibition & Surrey sculpture Society talk all in one month!

Egyptian, Philosophy, Relationships

At the beginning of the year I started a 30 day yoga challenge which I did successfully and have repeated it throughout this year. At the beginning of September I gave myself the challenge of compiling a book of my own poems and pictures of my husband’s sculptures as a gift for my Father who had been suggesting it for a while.

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I was really pleased with the finish of it though it felt quite thin and made me understand the word ‘volume’ a little bit more. I have come to realise that challenge for me needs to have some external pressure.

At University I spent most of my time rowing and would rise to the early morning alarm to train which happened 7 days a week. When I think of the 2k and 5k races we would compete in off the blocks we had adrenaline and excitement to fule the first few strokes and then we would hit a wall, pain in the legs, pain in the chest and we would row through it. Aided and assisted by words like ‘Dig deep’ ‘Pull harder’ which our cox would yell at us, we would dig deep and we would keep going beyond the lactic acid build up. We would pull past other boats competing against them and drive ourselves forward. Perhaps this competition took all competitiveness out of me but since then I haven’t quite given myself the same kind of challenges. My little daily yoga or writing challenges have been small by comparrison.

However on Sunday I started a new challenge which though not physical like rowing seems a huge challenge at the moment amogst everything else which is going on, which I will get to. I have started the Nanowrimo challenge (National novel writing month) where you aim to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I just happened to see an advert in a magazine for it and started to wonder if I was ready. I need this motivation but totally unplanned and unprepared I sat down on Sunday and wrote, thrilled I thought this was going to be easy but this was the adreneline and excitment out of the box. Second day I stalled. Conincidently, after being out of touch for a while my rowing cox, I discovered she is also doing this challenge and through the modern connectivity of technology is coxing me by email words of encouragement. So from a distance we are tapping away at the keyboards, scribbling out the words and so I prepare you for perhaps a more visual blog this month whilst my words get counted elsewhere.

poster solo

The sculptor meanwhile on his own set of challenges, set by himself, in a very different way from my own, is preparing for his first solo exhibition this month in Munich. So we are busy getting lot of sculptures, paintings and words ready for this. So, if that wasn’t enough on our plate, to add something else to the pile of things to do in November and more immediately he is going down to Surrey tomorrow to deliver a talk. It has come around quicker than we expected having been in the diary for months. He is ready but yesterday I joked that I felt he was in denial about it. I always like using the word denial to the Egyptian, as I remember a friend making the pun about de’ Nile. Anyway, enough laughing we we’d better get ready, I am blatantly distracting myself from the novel and any preparation needed for tomorrow.

TALK poster

A whole lot of Greek going on

Colour, History, Philosophy, Soul searching

The symbolism and history of Troy is immense, the Trojan horse, not only as great tactic of war and deception but a pivotal moment in ethics of morality. Simon Armitage considers “how we are locked in the same cycles of conflict and revenge, of east versus west, and the same mixture of pride, lies and self-deception that fed the Trojan War”. In the moral world of the Greeks, revenge was the way to go and there was great honour in that. Now in modern or perhaps western understanding there is a shift because of the way society is organised and social needs , the way we think of ourselves as human has changed. Perhaps we believe that the shift from vengeance to justice and forgiveness much greater in the moral compass. In many ways we fool ourselves into a deception of thinking how we would react, if a situation would arise that provoked us would be vengeful?

I felt I needed to research a little bit before writing about this piece but consequently it is harder to finish. It has taken a bit more working out. Having studied Classics at A level, the subject is not too foreign however, my memory appalling. In its own twist of fate I happened to listen to a ‘Start the Week’ episode on Radio 4 about Greek Tragedy and it would appear that with the memorial of world war one this year there is a harbouring back to the past about war and tragedy. Perhaps I am scrambling up all that was discussed in the programme and not coming out with much sense but it highlighted to me again the idea of the subconscious interconnection of ideas between artists. In this case there is definately a lot focus on Greek history this month. So in a good arts and culture plug: The Last Days of Troy is on at the Royal Exchange, Manchester from 8 May – 7 June and then at Shakespeare’s Globe, London from 10 – 28 June. Thebans, with words by Frank McGuinness and composed by Julian Anderson, is at the London Coliseum until 3 June. The writer Kenan Malik’s book ‘The Quest for a Moral compass’ is also out this month and in discussion at the Hay Festival this weekend (30 th May).

In a more rural setting, in a small village a sculpture stands in a studio. This epic piece took its own journey of making ( as you can see from the images in the entry ‘Space to play, place to work’) From a block of polystyrene the craftmanship of this is paramount to those Greek and Roman sculptors of past.

'Troy'

‘Troy’

'Troy'

‘Troy’

It is a contemporary recreation of an idea that fascinates my husband. The horse itself as an animal a majestic creature and the idea that sculptors, craftsmen, creators have been making things for centuries. This work may seem very different in style from recent works which have been more minimal more geometric such as the ‘Souls’ pieces.

There is the link of colour but there is also the link of ‘Soul’. For me ‘Troy’ is not just the idea of a tactic of war and of armies or military power. It is the shift from the outward reality to the internal.  The human condition internalized. We may not personally seek vengeance on the gods as in Greek history but we analyse and over analyse our behaviour our minds. However, like the horse on the outside, impressive, beautiful and an object of admiration, inside destruction is about to manifest. So, today are we, on the individual level, all about making an external impression, beautifying ourself and showing off our achievements.  Objectifing and materializing. We forget our integrity and what is hiding within. Our own internal beauty gets lost and so where is our ‘Soul’.

 

Challenges, Changes and Chocolate

Beautiful Bronze, Mother and Child
mother and child

‘Mother and Child’

Short and sweet today as this ‘Mother and Child’ piece has been written about before but it was one of the pieces damaged in the fire. It’s been highly polished to giving a golden shine. Sometimes things happen for the better even after something which isn’t so good. For some reason it makes me think of liquid chocolate. Maybe because it’s gold? Maybe more like golden syrup.I have totally over done the sugar today. Something to do with Pancakes and making a chocolate cake. My boy who doesn’t eat chocolate cake suggested we make one like the one in ‘Matilda’!. Great Treat though for my husband’s birthday which is today. I know many creative people born at this time of year. I wonder why that is?

I had started this entry a few weeks ago, but the challenge of writing and the challenge of running this year has not quite yet taken off. I blame the snow! The snow stage is hopefully  ending and spring will soon approach us. It so easy to blame something or someone else but the challenge is to master ourselves. The child in this sculpture is still a babe in arms and I am starting to feel this stage of motherhood is ending. It is sad, but change is inevitable. I love the baby stage but I see the next as giving me a little more time to master the challenge I set for myself. The motherhood challenge, well that is never-ending and answer to that is chocolate!

mother and c

‘Mother and Child’ restored (left side)

Sam Shendi and Aleatoric Art in the 21st Century

Publications

I will be honest, I had to look up Aleatoric. I can’t even pronounce it properly.

Aleatoricism is the incorporation of chance into the process of creation, especially the creation of art or media. The word derives from the Latin word alea, the rolling of dice. Isn’t that all creation though that there will be a bit of chance that it works out alright?

Ray Cabarga writes, “Sam Shendi is an Egyptian sculptor, educated at Cairo University, his work has been exhibited in numerous countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. Sam’s modern approach to his Dadaist influences demonstrates an old-school philosopy with a futuristic feel. In a recent interview, Shendi reminds us to keep in mind that Dadaism spawned in the time of war and war still exists in our time, adding how this has had an impact on his work.” I think some of my husbands conceptual pieces are in tune with this but I am not so sure about the geometric, minimalistic human figures. 

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‘The words’

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‘Patience’

” A small group of international artists have formed a group called MAMA or the Movement of Aleatoric Modern Artists, a worldwide collaboration of chance-based artists who promote the principles and techniques of aleatoric methods in the execution of contemporary art in modern times.

The movement pays tribute to the DADAists of the early 20th century among the many other artists throughout history who have bravely chosen to relinquish partial control of their creative processes to the hands of fate, the laws of physics and the continuum of perpetual chaos which prevails over our universe by design. By learning to value and preserve that which we can never own, to respond and yield to that which we can never predict and to respect and trust that which we can never control, the aleatoric artist inherits the divine principle of acceptance, the creative process becomes a cooperative collaboration with the forces that govern the universe, and thus the aleatoric artist transcends the limitations of the mind
and body to reach artistic plateaus previously unattainable.”

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The book itself is impressive in volume, size and collection of artists, to look at the book click here. Whilst I am proud of my husband’s inclusion I feel it is a bit misplaced. His methods aren’t aleatoric, he isn’t rolling paint and seeing what happens. To see him in the creative process I am not sure that his work is a product of chance and that “they appear to be accidental by products of some elaborate process undertaken to produce a thing wholly unrelated to the art he is presenting”. Sounds great but in some ways the opposite is true. It is not such an elaborate process it is almost quite industrial and highly precise with the finished result exactly what he was aiming for , perhaps some will be “compelled to ask ‘what is it’?” however, I may be biased but I think they are very obvious. “Sam Shendi makes an audacious statement” simply put is, I think more accurate. After all, as I have written before nothing in the Shendi’s life is chance. It all has meaning. It is ‘Maktub’.