Portugal with Art Catto

collections, Colour, Galleries, Mother and Child

When I was younger, I think I had the illusion that if you find yourself a mate you would then happily sit in a nest together looking out at the world. However, that isn’t what I have found to be true and not what has worked for me. For us, we fly down different valleys and then return to the nest to share tales of what we have seen and heard. That way, we see more of the world and are able to share a nest as well.

When the sculptor goes gallivanting off to sunny shores for exhibitions I really don’t have any desire to go with him. Over the past few years he has been to South Africa, Germany, Belgium and several trips to London. Perhaps, once the boys are older and no longer have the same need for me, I might go but whilst they are still young I’d rather be with them as an anchor. I am not sure how honest this is. However, he is there to work not to holiday. Also, because we work together it is actually quite good to get a little break! Actually, I think I would like to go on my own solo holiday and I have been reading about how for some women this is really important. I do think I perhaps should have spent more time on self care when the boys were smaller. However, I think this has only become a really ‘buzz’ concept over the last couple of years.

When it comes to travelling my husband and I have very different approaches which doesn’t make it the most relaxing of experiences for me. At these exhibition openings he is there for a purpose. He needs to be able to mingle and chat and he does so apparently with ease but he gets so so nervous before hand. On this trip he met a variety of people from all walks of life and he tells me everything in such detail, he is full of stories on his return. It is quite amazing to think of a young boy from a small village in northern Egypt now taking his work from the UK to Portugal. This collection of work is from the ‘Only Human’ collection and is presented by Art Catto at the Conrad hotel, Algarve.

The colours of the sculpture look awesome against the blue sky and green foliage. A true picture of summer. Meanwhile, whilst the sculptor was there struggling in the heat. I was running the shop, which actually is relatively straight forward with the addition of two boys as it was half term holidays and zero sunshine. My youngest, very active boy kept himself busy using a display fake peach, from the fruit bowl, as a football and scuffing all the plinths needless to say I didn’t keep the shop open for long. Except for a day when my parents took them to York for the day I had peace and quiet in the shop. So we survived and the week went past quite quickly. Interestingly, I had a fleeting moment before he went that I wouldn’t be able to do it all. I quickly realised that this was ridiculous and that I was more than capable of being able to do it all. I have been reading and listening to various things recently that confirm that what you are thinking and believing has so much impact on what happens. On the flip side of that, I had lots of ideas of what I would do whilst I had the evenings to myself but none of them really happened and I missed the sculptor more than I would admit. He is back now and the next project is Liverpool plinth….exciting stuff!

 

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2019 Active and ready.

Colour, Connections, Egyptian, Public Art, Uncategorized

picture for 2019

‘The Bow’ by Sam Shendi. Photo: WeWork Devonshire Square. ARTIQ.

2019 is here and rolling and goodness, who knew how important having a holiday is?! I knew I needed one, as it had been eighteen months since a week in Scotland, and four years since a trip like this. However, it’s only on returning that I relish how divine it is to feel more relaxed and patient and how more easily available I am to take a deep breath. I am still in some hazy reality of not being ground down by the everyday shenanigans. I really want to try to remain and contain this slow pace and mellow state of moving and being.

We are warming up slowly to being back in the cold and cooler climates of Cowling (small village in Yorkshire, where we live) after spending  a good two weeks in glorious sunshine and azure skies, although there was strong wind, this only assisted in our catamaran trip and land sailing activities. The other amazing thing was not thinking about what to cook and meal planning, I am still struggling with this. I ate too much delicious food including fresh fish caught by the boys.

We returned to Egypt, despite looking at other destinations. As the sculptor is Egyptian, we felt the boys needed to soak up some of the Egyptian sun and see the sculptor’s sisters. It was glorious to have the sculptor around for seventeen days without distractions of shop or studio. I think this is where a trip of this kind differs from a week in Scotland for us, as we have our own business we are still fitting kitchens  throughout the year so the phone is almost certain to still be ringing. December allows us to completely close the shop.

(If you don’t already follow me on Instagram- thesculptorswife and you can see highlights of our trip away; lots of sea and sun).

So we started 2019 relaxed and ready. Last year my new year’s resolution was to set an intention. For 2018 it was ‘purpose’ which really helped me focus, regular blog writing, getting the house organised a bit better and planning out time more efficiently. All still work in progress but it enabled me to set goals and achieve.

This year’s word is ‘Active’. When my youngest son refused to race in a cross-country event, I had to dig deep and discover why I was so cross about it. I was the one that needed to move more. So this year I am determined to get back my love for being active. Although that focus is primarily about exercise it also encompasses being active here on this blog. It is nine years in the blogging coincidentally, I started ‘The Sculptor’s wife’ after a trip to Egypt with the purpose of writing about my husband’s art work whilst have two small children at home and pre-school. How quickly things change, the boys are so much bigger now and since I first started writing we now have the studio and have produced large-scale pieces of work which have been shipped worldwide.

I am also intending to be active about self-care and Yoga with adriene and the ‘Dedicate’ 30 day yoga journey has been a great start. Highly recommend! This image of the ‘Bow’ (above), to me is a great symbol of a balasana (child’s pose).

‘Active’ also means for me that we are active or proactive about getting the sculptures in exhibitions which is an area we need to develop and ultimately for my husband to be a full-time artist. That is the next big dream. I am not sure how that can happen this year but I read that when manifesting an idea you have to believe it is already so. Hence the image above which is a sculpture on location which is always so satisfying to see. So here we go.

We start next week by having a piece at London Art Fair. More about that next week.

Sun, sea, sand sculptures ( and some ancient writing on the wall)

Egyptian

Years used to be punctuated in school holidays, more so because my parents were both teachers. Gradually this shifted in my 20’s to January being a month of heavy diary entries, promises to improve and a new way of seeing the world. Last year a list of three things. The first I achieved daily, the second a little in the last two weeks of the year and I can’t even remember what the third one was. Such is the way of resolutions.

2015 has begun in cocoon not even realising a sense of time or day. 18 days of sunshine, with sea air was the tonic to an intense and busy four years. I sat starting out at sea and wondered why we like to find peace in vast open nothingness. I heard somewhere that the sea is the world’s consciousness. Perhaps, we stare at the blank blue canvas which give us a mirror to our own conscious being. For the boys the days on the beach with the sculptor were playing and digging resulting in these:

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Now we have to dig in and start again or get back on the treadmill of reality. So I slowly uncurl after being spoilt with an amazing trip and focused family time. Having been in the sun and coming back to the cold is a little disorinatating and the new year seems meaningless. It has made me realise how arbitory time is. When we looked at the creations of the ancient Egyptians the mind blowing factor was just how long ago it was created and that it was all for the afterlife. The creativity of humanity with the drawings and the pigmentation within the desert showed their skill and precision and search for meaning.

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Each time I go to Egypt I learn something, somehow the country challenges your comfort zones. Perhaps this is more so because my husband is Egyptian and this time I realised more than ever that I am raising two Egyptian boys. They thrived in the heat, they learnt some arabic and displayed their social skills meeting family for the first time and making friends everywhere they went. I embrace this for them, the uniqueness of having two cultures so diverse and so contrasting and hope that they can use the best of both for themselves. I have lots of little anecdotes and stories but feel it would make this too long. We are back to the every day life of juggling work and art. The boys struggled last night knowing Baba was going away, even just for one night, having had such quality time with him. The Sculptor is already in London collecting the appropriately named; ‘The Family’ from it’s stay in Berkley square London and this last week has been busy packaging up ‘The Kiss’ which we say goodbye to and send to Panama on its new journey.

So we use the ancient writing on the wall to move forward, the sun’s energy to give us strength to get through a grey January and the thoughts of the sea to develop our consious awareness. It’s the start of a busy year for the sculptor and so for all of us on this journey of art and meaning.

Autumn Days when the sculptures went to London…

Awards, Exhibitions, Galleries

…and the sun was shinning in an almost cloudless sky.

Estelle White’s ‘Autumn Days’ hymn has been the soundtrack to the last few months for us and we occasionally sing it together in chorus. Our three-year old shouts out the song at every possible moment particularly in the car, much to the eldest son’s annoyance but today it is so fitting. It is a glorious autumn day. The sky is clear and I can see a silky cobweb float across the road in front of me as I sit and contemplate after a busy morning. I felt I was running internally, never mind to school, to take the car to be cleaned, to work. We mustn’t forget to be Thankful.

My husband and his friend had to get up at 3am and the alarm woke him in a sudden jerk. I heard the coffee machine and the careful movements around the house getting everything together. I couldn’t get back to sleep until I heard the front door shut and they slipped out quietly into the crisp early hours. So I too, also pushed the coffee button this morning which fuelled me to get a dozen jobs done before 9am but consequently making me very snappy with my boys and not staying calm enough to take the morning pace smoothly yet again. The winter moon calmly shining down on us which the boys spotted very visibly as they tumbled out the door and climbed on the wall whilst I shouted at them to get in the car before I counted to five! No, we mustn’t forget.

After hours, days and months of hard work  the finishing up was done and the wagon was filled last night successfully, with the sculptures fitting in like a jigsaw. Thanks to my husbands keen eye and good measurements. The rain stopped thankfully and a radiantly clear morning made for the drive to London. Last night I busily put together a stack of egg sandwiches for their journey, cupcakes for the school bake sale and the last few bits of preparation, getting the camera ready, and the last bits of paperwork  done. My husband said he knew he had got everything he needed, all the tools for any eventuality but he was still worried that there may be something he had forgotten.  What had he forgotten? Apparently they got all the sculptures in and then remembered thank goodness the bird on the windowsill. Though my immediate reaction was, at least we could take it on the train.  We mustn’t forget to be Thankful.

'polishing the platform'

‘polishing the platform’

sculptures wrapped

‘Sculptures wrapped like bodies ready to go’

getting ready

‘Wrapping up’

So whilst the ‘Evolution’ sculpture gets erected with the team helping my husband, and the pieces installed for the exhibition. I am looking after the business thankful for a few hours of quiet. Picking up the car gratefully cleaned, sparkling and smelling fresh before whatever was rotting inside gave us poisoning. Then collecting my preschooler to look after the shop together before the eldest child’s parents evening and swimming lesson. I am so thankful the sun is out giving us a dry day, for the installation of the exhibition and everything they need to do outside in London and then for their journey home.

 So as the song continues to echo in my mind, “Autumn days, when the clouds look like familiar faces…. the swallows curving in the sky, we mustn’t forget to say a big thank you.” No, we mustn’t forget.