Looking forward to a few things…

This photo was taken looking out from the viewpoint at the top of Benmore Gardens today, where we took a picnic today, along with some friends. It somehow made me think of the year to come; looking forward into 2012. It suddenly seemed so hopeful and exciting to look forward, rather than looking back…

I love to have things on the horizon – distant goals/projects/destinations that I can move towards, even if getting there involves some graft. I think this is always even more important to me in the dark months of the year. So I started to write a list.

Yesterday we worked hard in our cellar, to continue the process of converting the space down there to a working pottery. Michaela and Pauline’s Blue Sky Craft Workshops will be planning some sessions down there. Watch this space if you are interested. I’ll post some photos when I have managed to build some of the workbenches down there.

Talking of craft/art we have  been asked if we want to use the exhibition space in Benmore Gardens- to fill it up with carvings and craftings. This is a lovely challenge, as it is a big space, and so it will need some big pieces, possibly combining work from different members of our group. Time to get in the workshop, and tidy all the things that have come out of the cellar into some kind of order!

Then there is the distant Greenbelt festival- which has become increasingly important to me also. I have a few ideas for poetry/audio installations that I am gathering soundscapes and ideas for. Not sure if it will happen, but the creativity it sparks in me is grand.

In all this mix is lots of uncertainty. A job that has been under threat for two years but may be about to finally end. Other plans to downshift and start all sorts of other micro enterprises have been long in the planning, but this will be the year one way or another, when things will change.

Then there is the Wilderness Retreats that I am planning with my mates Simon, Nick and Paul. I am really looking forward to these. I hope some of you will join us.

Then there are all the activities of the community I am part of – Aoradh. We meet to eat and laugh and pray, and to plan creative ways to celebrate our faith. Next year we are already talking about collaborations with others, bench meditation spots, community gardens, labyrinths, prayer rooms.

And to mark progress towards the new season, today Will and I attended the first of the years indoor cricket net sessions. We spent a couple of hours bowling, being bowled at and facing a bowling machine. Magic. It is hard to imagine the warm days full of the sound of leather on willow, but this too will come.

As I look at this little (incomplete) list, I feel blessed, excited, hopeful, humble, grateful. And perhaps just a little overwhelmed.

May your horizons be full of good things too!


I have had a productive day.

This morning I wrote a piece for another website, for which I was paid £25. This afternoon I spent carving things out of wood. I have been selling about one or two pieces a month in a local art gallery- so this afternoon I might have made things to the value of say (for the purposes of a nice even number!) £75.

All of which set me thinking. How much money do we need? And how simple it seems to be able to link what we produce with this need in a direct way.

Regular readers of this blog will know that my current job- I am a social worker earning a reasonably high salary- is under threat. I was expecting to have a redundancy letter in the post by now, but this has now been delayed until at least next Spring.

One of the things about the kind of work I do now is that there is no easy link between what I produce (which is rather nebulous) and what I earn. Despite all the uncertainties of my future, I find myself craving this link more and more…

First outing for the crafty stuff…

Michaela, Pauline and Helen spent a day behind a stall today, selling crafts. Pauline is an old hand, but for the rest, it was a new thing.

We made all together around 250 quid, which ain’t half bad, considering two of the three crafty contributors where experimenting with prices and ideas.

I chickened out- reserving my energies for being the removal man.

It is hard work this commerce- up at 7, and I sat down again 12 hours later.

A good start though…



Preparing for commerce…

So- time to announce to the world the start of a new business!

You may recognise the photo- see here.

We have spent some time over the past few weeks gathering things we have made to display at a big Christmas craft fair in Dunoon next weekend. Yesterday, Michaela, Helen and Pauline set up a table in our lounge, with me running in an out making brackets and prop-ups and rails.

It is quite an involved process- my inclination was to pile the table high, but Pauline, who knows about this stuff, pointed out that the idea was to draw people to things they could actually see, rather than a tangle of stuff.

All this is another step towards our co-operative craft venture. It is exciting, because everything is new. ‘Sea Tree’ will be the name of my contribution to the whole- we still have not found a name for the co-operative. Any suggestions?

I will not be manning the stall next weekend- I am rubbish at salesmanship, particularly when it involves things I have made. It is a skill I need to learn though I suppose- although it is a big leap for a public servant wage slave…

So- here we go.

Sea Tree

images . words . sculptings . crafts

Coming to the Queens Hall, Dunoon, Saturday 6th of November

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