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I am an artist

My attendance at the Handmade Market went really well! Not only did I sell tea cosies, cup cosies and reusable tea bags, but I was able to talk to so many interesting people over the weekend!  I think that the face to face interaction with customers is one of the absolute best things about selling at a market.  They get to hear your story and you get to hear theirs, and it fills up my creative soul to have this interaction!

Of course one of the lovely things about selling at a market is the delightful compliments that you get along the way.   I think my favourites were ‘You have made me smile’, and ‘I can’t help but be happy when I look at your stall’.   Wow – talk about hitting me right in the emotions!   What a privilege to be able to give people joy like that!

On the technical side of things I was pretty happy with my stall set up and display options (there is a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time when it comes to our local recycling centre – the shelves I bought for $10 could not have been made to fit any better!)

Post market is always a time for filling custom orders, some analysis, some housework, and some planning.  I added a bit more into the mix this time, as I have started in my new role as a Thermomix consultant so was also looking after customers, bookings and cooking.  Then along came a fantastic opportunity that threw a spanner in the works – well, slowed down all attempts to catch up on housework anyway!   I had a call from a friend who asked if I could make 30 tea cosies in a space of 8 days to be used at the launch of the High Tea service at Pialligo Estate.  They wanted some fabric, some woollen, and for me to be as creative as I wanted in their design.  What a dream brief!!   Of course I took it – and then sat down to assess what I could achieve in the time allowed.  The end result was 20 woollen cosies and 10 fabric dome-cosies.    The interesting thing was that my imagination and creativity didn’t diminish as I worked, but actually grew!  It was as if letting myself be free to create kept feeding the ability to create – it was so much fun!

I spent hours working out patterns for silly things like puffy hearts, macarons and amigurumi birds, which will never be reclaimed in financial terms but which were massive investments in terms of creativity.  My mother stepped in to help by creating knitted cosy bases that I then embellished, and my kids became very used to me saying ‘no – I have to keep working’ when they saw me sitting in front of the fire and TV with my hook in hand and thought that meant I was free to attend to their every need!   My Dad kept my wood box full, and drove my son to school.  Mum bought me groceries when I ran out of the basics, and I carried wool and a hook wherever I went.  And then I delivered them, on time, and with my fingers crossed that they would be liked.

Through this process I truly realised for the first time, despite being told by other people over time, that I am an artist.   I take ideas and create them from wool, through a complicated series of knots and twists with a hook, and they are unique, beautiful and works of art.    I had started to accept this in my subconscious but delivering my work to a room full of staff who were preparing for their High Tea service cemented it.  I am not a ‘crafter’, or a ‘hobbyist’, or even a ‘crocheter’.  I am an artist.  Talk about a rush of joy and self worth!  I highly recommend taking a commission that pushes you to your limits to really learn about who you are artistically and creatively!

I have always found it hard to accept praise and believe it, and have struggled with my own self worth for many years.  Taking this step of announcing to myself, and now to all of you, that I am an artist is empowering and freeing.  I have worn many labels over the course of my life, and continue to wear many now – mother having been the dominant one for the last few years. Adding ‘artist’ to the list is definitely about something that is just me, and I like it!

What next?   Well, I have another stall at the next Handmade Market on 28 and 29 July, some custom orders to fill, a Thermomix business to grow, and a creative force to release!  Ha – that sounds scary!   What I actually mean is that I have lots of creative ideas continuing to grow and gather in my head, so I need to get them out and into the world.  Stand by for more updates!

Precious cargo

Tonight I opened a box, sent from Tasmania by a dear friend.  It is full of fabric from three generations of her family, and she is entrusting it to me as someone who will make good use of it and appreciate where it has come from.  Talk about precious cargo!  I will be taking my time to examine each piece and really think about what to do with it.

Opening the box and thinking about precious cargo got me thinking about my last few days and other sorts of precious cargo I have encountered.

Yesterday was rather dramatic. I was sitting at the bench having a cup of tea and chatting to two friends when I heard our dog Dottie barking ferociously.  I stuck my head out the door to have a look and found her flinging a dark coloured snake with her mouth. The snake wasn’t running (slithering) away though – it was attacking her.  After calling her away I went to look for the shovel and told my friends what was happening. As we looked for the snake and watched the dog we realised that she wasn’t well, so a phone call to the local vet, a pile of towels wrapped around her and under her and with one of my friends holding her carefully, off we sped to the vet.

Dottie on a drip and receiving oxygen, still managed to be charming.

Dottie on a drip and receiving oxygen, still managed to be charming.

The good news is that we arrived safely, despite my rally driving over the mountain range that sits between us and the vet.  The vet rushed to meet us in the car park, and was able to treat her quickly, and she should make a full recovery.  The bad news is that the treatment is extremely expensive ($1500 just for the anti-venom medication alone).   The moment that our precious cargo stopped panting loudly and my friend thought she had stopped breathing will stay with me for a very long time.  Dottie is very precious to all of us, and to lose her would have been devastating, particularly while the children are away visiting their grandparents and having adventures with their father during our school holidays.

It has really shot home the need for us to be prepared for snake bites for humans as well.  Time for some first aid revision and reminders for the children and adults!!  (The snake was later located and dealt with by my parents who were digging out the garden bed it had disappeared into.  It was a juvenile tiger snake, so we are very lucky.  A grown tiger snake would have killed her.)

We are really experiencing the full extent of country life this week.  The day before Dad and I had to make the hard decision that it was time for two of our old hens to go.  We didn’t want to do it but knew that it had to be done.  I described it as ‘farmering up’ – taking responsibility for the hard bits of being an animal owner as well as the good bits.  They had been precious cargo – they had introduced us to being chicken owners, had provided wonderful eggs, and had taught us a lot about caring for our animals.  The responsibility to end their lives with respect was a heavy one.

On the flip side, our green hued eggs continue to be produced as precious cargo to be carried from the coop.

Green eggs|a little bird made me

In amongst all this drama and country life I have been cutting out patterns, matching fabrics, and dreaming big. Might be time to put the fabric with the machine and actually make something!  How novel!

I am also enjoying the beautiful roses from our garden in these lovely vases that a friend gave me as a house warming gift.  The sight and smell of them warms my heart.

Bud vases |a little bird made me

I hope that your precious cargo, whatever it may be, is safe and well tonight.  Give them an extra squeezy hug, just because you can.