Lost words

 

Last week I got back into my writing and wrote a long post, ‘Less is more’, saved it to come back to in an attempt to re read and edit what I am writing and be a little more conscientious. I occasionally do this (not that often) and the saving system works fine. However, this time it has cleverly morphed the post I wrote the last week with one I had not ‘published’ yet written 6 months ago that was quietly sitting in the ‘draft’ file. I am not even sure how this has happened but the bulk of what I have written is lost into a virtual ether that I feel my brain can’t get back.

I sit here feeling frustrated about all the quotes I had sourced and the links to other things, it had the making of being a really good entry, I was sure. Lost. Made me think about something my husband had put up on one of his social media a few weeks ago. Ironically, someone commented that they wondered what Mrs Shendi thought. I was puzzled as to what they meant. Why were they interested in my opinion about what my husband does with his work?

I know the sculptor can grab a bit of clay at anytime and sculpt it into a head, so easily that it makes you think anyone can do it. With words, perhaps it should be as easy, to re-write something that has already been written. Will it be better rewriting it? At this moment it feels irretrievable, gone. Evaporated. Do writers create as easily as sculptors or is moulding words into a coherent piece of writing a different process?

The mindful meditation that I have been trying to work on this year reassures me that yes everything happens for a reason. There is a purpose as to why that piece of writing is not to be ‘published’. As I quietly, calmly sit here with the ‘serenity’ I am pursuing, a little cartoon image of me stopping like a 2-year-old and having a tantrum, going bright red with anger and frustration pops up in my mind’s eye. But it’s just not me. The only thing that seems to anger me at the moment is my boys not listening to me, and I am working on that because I think we all have selective hearing once in a while, especially when we are asked to do something menial like pick up a sock! So to take heed of my husband’s lesson. I can do it again.

clay-head-3“Since the time of the University until now, I have created so many portraits. Yet I always break them after I finish and recycle the clay. The same piece of clay that I used in this portrait has been recycled since 2008. I think I have made about 8 different portraits and somehow I stop and then the only thing I want to do is break it, instead of casting it. It feels as though if I were to cast it and have it around me in the studio, it would be as though everything I made afterwards would look like it. These days I could stay 2 years without creating one portrait. I just get a feeling that my hands need to create a portrait. The more I let my hands decide to create the sculpture, the quicker and the easier it comes. The point is, I was never frightened to break it after the hard work because I always say to myself I can do it again.”clay-head-1

Advertisements

Practice and the art of freeing ourselves from possessions

sculpture 9

Many people I spoke to in March had a miserable month. With the change of the clocks, lighter evenings and daffodils and lambs appearing perhaps April will bring a solution, a peace and a resolve. Listening to the radio the other day, the broadcaster said she had observed as she got older she was acutely more aware of the seasonal change. Perhaps there is truth in that, as we grow older we become more in-tune with natures cycles and the awareness that everything perishes and then there is life. I can’t fully remember what and why I was telling the boys the other day, that sometimes we have tests or difficulties and then we meet people who are having greater tests and we are reminded and humbled into realising our own blessings.

I feel that too at the moment. I feel March was a testing month. I am constantly being reminded that I need to develop greater patience and calm. I think part of my personal turbulence has been to do with sorting out boxes from the attic in an attempt to de-clutter and make more space. It is a strange process and looking back at letters in boxes from as far back as 1986 re-lives a little of your own personal history and also reading others stories from past. I have come to realise with my husband’s wisdom; that the past is the past and no need to be relived. Inspired by an American guy who has just totally reduced his possessions to 111 that he is carrying on his back. I am determined to reduce the amount of ‘just stuff’ I have. Although, I am still unsure how to get rid of much of my memorabilia. How much do our possessions take over us?

sculpture 5 sculpture 6 sculpture 8

 

 

 

 

 

I usually only post images of finished works, yet sometimes I think it is good to see the process. This also is such a different technique but shows the skill of my husband’s hands. When I first saw this piece I said, it reminds me of William Tell. Who is William Tell, my husband asked. I couldn’t remember just the story of the boy with the apples on his head. So I did a little research. He was the archer and the boy his son. He was asked to bow down to the leader of the area and he refused. So he was asked to shoot one of his arrows through an apple positioned on top of his son’s head. He successfully shot the apple. The leader noticing a second arrow asked what it was for. Tell, said if he had missed and killed his son the second arrow was for the leader. The swiss fable became a story of liberty and freedom.

Sculpture 3As I try to free myself from my attachment to letters and souvenirs, I wonder how much possessions actually weighs us down, literally and metaphorically, some how. In general as  a society we seem to attach more sentimentality to our things now more than some people do to other people.

My husband generally purchases more than I do but he never gets attached to it. Even his work. This masterful sculpture looks like it should be cast in bronze or marble. He started talking about colouring it in ways that match his current work. For example, the entire piece gloss black with just the top of the apple in red, or different coloured sections on the head…..

However, these images are not only the process but now the memory. The piece no longer exists. ‘How could you do that,?’ I asked my husband, as he showed me images of the head looking like a claw had swiped through it. ‘It only took me a couple of hours to make, it’s a practice. Not something to remain’. He is also a bit wary of making realistic portraits. It looks like days, months of work but it isn’t for my husband. He is fast and precise. Making something ‘real’ looking isn’t what his current practise is about. This was just to keep his hands in clay, just a process. Practising.

Sculpture 4

Love and other drugs.

Sunday saw the start of yet another bug in our household, a really nasty one that has my eldest and I still suffering on the sofa. So, it was nice to see this piece ‘Patience’ back home though restored after the fire and looking highly polished and reflective, looking very different to before. Patience, so needed when you are poorly. Especially as it was the start to the holidays and I had lots of things planned to do with the boys.

'Patience restored'
‘Patience restored’

This week’s illness has really taught me to be much more patient and gentle with my eldest soon who is ever so often fighting off illness. It has really taught me how to be a bit more ‘motherly’ in my care towards him. I am quite a believer in the body’s ability to naturally fight infection and also that it  is our bodies way of purifying. Not in a negligent way. I give the children calpol but when the doctor insist there isn’t anything stronger needed, I don’t really push for it. Although, I am starting to get a bit concerned about how frequently we get poorly in our household. When it come to being poorly I am all for the love and homeopathic approach. Perhaps also because it’s not long since that due to lengthy nursing and two pregnancies i couldn’t take strong medication. However, I have indulged in a Lemsip and a few adol (paracetamol) and that seems enough for me.

My sister-in-law in Egypt who is a pharmacist, really noticed the different approach when she was here in December sent me a message. She sent me  a message  asking how we all were, so I gave her our weeks account of our illnesses. She wrote to me, ” oh you poor girl, take one of the antibiotics’ I brought you and a pill for flu and an adol pill and you will be fine in an hour, you amaze me you English people with your patience about sickness!!! Move off the sofa and take meds now! I had to laugh I now understood my Husband’s lack of sympathy. He had told me to take medication. If there is a simple solution to a problem then that is the obvious solution. I can understand it, when you see your child particularly suffering you want to just get them better quick. In Egypt they can’t stand illness and suffering and pharmacies are a business where most sold items are medicines not cosmetics. My sister in Law thinks it will require 50 years or more till the medical system is one like here, “Souls are not yet so valuable”.

So I did a little research and here is why we don’t dish out drugs easily here….. “Studies from around the world have shown that between 40 and over 90% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. In many parts of Africa, where antibiotics are commonly available from unsanctioned providers, it will be worth educating the general populace about the consequences of irrational antibiotic resistance.” ‘Antibiotic Resistance in Africa’ (Iruka N. Okeke* and Anibal Sosa†)

The Department of Health in the UK advocates that;

  • Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate that is both alarming and irreversible – similar to global warming.
  • Urge patients and prescribers to think about the drugs they are requesting and dispensing.
  • Bacteria are adapting and finding ways to survive the effects of antibiotics, ultimately becoming resistant so they no longer work. And the more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.”
  • Antibiotic resistance is not new, but more action is needed now to tackle this global problem if we are to keep pace with its development.” (Professor Dame Sally Davies)
'Patience'
‘Patience’

The UK is leading the way in responding to EU calls for action, with the development of a new cross-Government Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action plan, which will be published by the Department of Health next year.
The strategy will champion responsible use of antibiotics, and build on ongoing work to:

  • slow down the development of antibiotic resistance
  • maintain the efficacy of existing antibiotics
  • develop new antibiotics and alternative treatments
  • investigate the link between antibiotic use in animals and the food chain, and the spread of resistance in people
  • minimise antibiotics entering the environment in other ways
'Paitence'
‘Patience’

So I do believe it has reason to exercise patience when poorly, strengthen our natural defences and immune systems but most importantly  in educating  and developing an understanding into the problems with using antibiotics. Sometimes the quick fix isn’t the best long-term solution. So despite the best laid plans for this weeks holiday and my initial frustration with having to stay put, I also learnt that some times laughter, lemsips and love are the best kind of drugs!

Face to Face

‘Black & White’
‘Mother & child’
‘The girl next door’

 There is something so much more wholesome about speaking to another face to face. I am the worst person for having a conversation with over the telephone, it involves speaking. One can’t rely on the subtleties of facial expression for the acknowledgement that you are listening. I am also not that great in a group, I find it difficult having snatched conversations and can get distracted by the fact that others are around. So face to face is definitely my preference. So what do I think of face time? I am not quite sure I have fully grasped what it is yet. I have used Skype on occasion but still I think I prefer in the flesh.

Having advocated all the social networking media for promoting yourself as an artist, we are finding that if my husband actually goes into a physical gallery in person, or meets a gallery owner at an opening in person then he is more successful. He has a presence that is hard to convey by the written word especially as it is translated twice before it gets anywhere!

I have also changed the face of this page, I am not too sure about it yet, I felt in need of the change but it is still not quite right. Work in progress. I have had the time to play around with the setting as my husband has been in London again this week. This time with some appointments at galleries. So things are moving forward, albeit slowly.

Tonight is the preview of Face to Face at Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green. An exhibition exploring portraiture and is on until October 2nd. I could go into more depth about each piece and portraiture but I’ve faced the computer enough these last two evenings.