With household budgets getting squeezed more and more, I fear that hobbies and interests may become the ‘luxuries’ that some people will have to go without. Such a shame as I know that our hobbies and crafts are far more essential to our wellbeing and happiness than mere ‘luxuries’.
So, this month, I wanted to feature the wonderful – and very cost-effective – Powertex MDF shapes.
The craving for figurative workshops is not abating – I’ve helped several people with various animal and other sculptures lately – from a tiger to a bird of paradise. Thank goodness for Stone Art I say!
Stone Art really comes into its own for this type of creation and it can be used in different ways. So, here’s a reminder of how special and versatile Stone Art is:
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, that’s a given. It’s how you cope with the changes and make the best of them that indicates whether you stay successful or not.
Just lately, I’ve had to be more flexible and it’s not something that has always come easy to me. I used to get quite stressed when I had to deviate from my schedule, but since the pandemic, when we’ve all had to embrace a whole new level of flexibility, I think I’m more accepting that change will happen and it’s not always a bad thing. After all, the only certainty is uncertainty!
I’ve recently spent a lovely few days at Valley View, my Cornish Artistic ReTreat in Lamorna and with a bit of Spring sunshine coming through, I was able to get out and about and enjoy the fabulous countryside.
As the earth seems to be waking up from Winter, with the first signs of new growth and colour from Spring flowers, it’s also a time for new beginnings and a new focus on goals for the year. On my Cornish walks I learnt more about the legends and myths of the area and how art plays such an important role in Cornwall’s heritage.
Over the past couple of years, lots of people have taken stock of their work life during and post-pandemic and are considering ‘going it alone’. I would highly recommend it!
After a challenging end to January (see my February newsletter), I’m very lucky to be able to take some time in February to get back on my feet, take stock and spend time with my family. I feel very fortunate to have the flexibility to step away from my business for emergencies and shift my priorities for a short while.
I’m so grateful to have built up Artistic ReTreats with the support of wonderful, understanding clients. For the first time since opening my own business eight years ago, I had to cancel a workshop for personal reasons. The flexibility that I now have has developed over the years of being my own boss and adapting my business to suit my family life.
I’m not a fan of big New Year’s Resolutions. I think they put too much pressure on ourselves and are difficult to maintain, a huge percentage of resolutions are abandoned before the end of January.
However, I do believe in the benefit of making small changes that can improve our outlook and lifestyle. So for this January 2022 I'm changing 'just one thing', by revisiting the ‘Miracle Morning’ way of starting my day. I tried this last summer with some success but with the pandemic and other challenges, I didn’t manage to keep it up. I definitely felt the benefit last year so I’m giving it another go!
Looking back on another challenging year, I’m thankful that we’ve made it through, despite the reduced business, school difficulties and cancelled holidays. Whilst 2020 felt like a year of survival and trying to keep an even footing on ever-shifting sand, we experienced more freedom in 2021 but there’s a sense of uncertainty looming as we reach the end of the year and begin 2022.
One thing I’m so appreciative of this festive season is friends and family and as workshops and business tasks wind down for the holiday period, I’m looking forward to spending time with as many of my special people as I can. This year has really showed us what’s important and for me that’s my nearest and dearest.
As the COP 26 Climate Conference comes to a close, it can be daunting to try and work out what we can do as individuals to actually make a difference. I’ve been thinking a lot about the small changes we can make to be more sustainable and create a more positive future for our children.
As I found on my recent four-day course at the Newlyn School of Art, you never stop learning with art! I’ve never formally studied art or art history, having spent 26 years as an Engineer before changing career 10 years ago. I can certainly say that my learning curve has been steep and challenging at times but so rewarding and enjoyable too!
As the children go back to school, my mind turns to the last quarter of the year – what I’d still like to achieve in 2021 and looking ahead to how 2022 might pan out.
Some say that September is the new January and I really feel like it’s a time of new beginnings – especially this year as we’re able to be with more people we may not have seen for a long time. With just a quarter of the year left, it concentrates the mind into thinking of what’s really important to achieve now and what will be good to plan into 2022.
Having been mostly shut away from social contact for more than a year, I was surprised recently by how much I enjoyed meeting up with friends and family around my birthday and neighbours at village events.
Like many of us, I’d been a tortoise and retracted into my shell with very few gatherings, holidays and coffee catch-ups to look forward to. As an extrovert, I take energy from being around other people and enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas, so I should have known that I couldn’t take the tortoise approach for much longer!
For those of us that have had big birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and special holidays postponed during the pandemic, it’s time to catch up on the fun!
I planned a whole year of new experiences for my 50th birthday in 2020 and we’re coming to the end of that year but there are so many new art experiences that I didn’t manage to complete. So I’m extending my ‘50th year of new experiences’ past my 51st birthday (and maybe beyond)!
My family know me well and are happy for me to suggest art experiences that will thrill and challenge me. There’s not much material ‘stuff’ I need now so I definitely think that experience gifts are the way to go. And here’s why:
I was contacted recently by a lovely felt crafter who had purchased a bottle of Powertex at the NEC some time ago, but hadn’t managed to work out what to do with it yet! It’s a common trait of crafters, isn’t it? We all think, ‘that’s a good idea, I’d love to give that a try sometime...’, buy all the kit & then never get around to having a go!
Now the world is opening up more – hugging, socialising, visiting – it’s time to treat yourself to a bit of ‘me time’. Or as life coach, Jackie Meek puts it ‘essential maintenance’! As we try to fit more and more into our lives now, the stresses and anxiety of the past year can become difficult to put behind us.
Essential Maintenance helps us to build our resilience and be the best person we can be. After such a testing time, it’s important to recharge our batteries, boost our self-esteem and spread our wings a little. That can be a bit daunting though, can’t it? But if we don’t love ourselves, who will?! It’s the little pleasures and essential maintenance that helps to get us through the daily grind.
Like many people, we’ve missed out on a few holidays abroad in the last year and nobody can say for certain that we will be able to seek out sunnier climes this summer either.
We are lucky to have our Cornish Artistic ReTreat, Valley View but that’s (thankfully) all booked up with visitors through the spring and summer 2021 so we won’t be able to enjoy any time there ourselves until later in the year.
Our enforced ‘staycations’ in the UK have made me really appreciate the fantastic country we live in and whether it’s countryside or coast, we are trying to make the most of what is on our doorstep.
As artists, we are constantly looking for inspiration in our surroundings and travel gives us the opportunity to experience a whole different view of cultures and surroundings. For some, the sense of wanderlust, the strong desire to travel, cannot be suppressed for much longer! With this in mind, I’ve been searching the Powertex supplies for an amazing selection of travel themed items.
So where do you want to go first?!