small comforts

modflowers: small comfortsI am quite a political person.

Not that you would generally know this from my blog. I normally steer clear of politics here, because my blog’s not about that.

Also, I don’t like those online arguments that seem to blow up out of nowhere once people start discussing politics online. I may be political, but I am not argumentative. At least, not online I’m not.

So please forgive me for bringing politics into things today. It’s not meant to upset anyone.

Like most of my creative friends, I am reeling at the outcome of the referendum. Absolutely knocked for six. Upset in a way I can’t quite yet deal with, in fact.

It wasn’t planned as a post-referendum distraction, but I was very, very glad that I happened to have booked onto a Sherwood Art Week workshop.

If ever I needed a distraction, it was yesterday morning, post Brexit. I dried my eyes and went to make dolls’ house accessories.

Fiddling with tiny pieces of paper and little dobs of glue was the perfect thing.

Some people made Shakespeare-related items – tiddly-tiny books, quill pens and paperweights. But I, given the choice, made flowers.

Of course I did.

The first thing I made was a little wreath, using tiny paper punches and a pipe cleaner …

modflowers: small comfortsAnd then some paper roses…

modflowers: small comfortsWhich brings to mind the Marie Osmond song of the same name.

The workshop was held at The Post Office Garden, a lovely crowd-funded community venue, just around the corner from me in Nottingham. I donated to the project last year (when it was still semi-derelict) and so was keen to see how it had progressed.

And it is so lovely….

modflowers: small comfortsIt houses a community kitchen, for catering, courses and anyone who wants to rent health inspector-approved premises for food-related activities. There are plants for sale, a workshop / studio space, and, of course, the garden itself…

modflowers: small comfortsAnna and Toby, whose brainchild the place is, were a bit flustered. They were having a big launch event and open day on Saturday, and Anna was stressing over the amount of work still to do in preparation.

So I offered to help.

I wanted to spend more time in that beautiful garden, tucked away just off the main road. I wanted to distract myself from brooding on things. But most of all, I wanted to contribute something positive. To counterbalance the negativity that seemed about to engulf everything.

I spent the afternoon clearing pathways of dandelions and tying back floppity plants.

I went home dirty of hand, scratched of arm, and a little happier of heart.

modflowers: small comfortsTo find distraction in creativity; to give help when it is needed; to spend time in nature – these may be small comforts in the big scheme of things.

But sometimes, small comforts are all we have.

And, for now, they’ll just have to do. ♥

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learning to let go

modflowers: learning to let go - ATCsSometimes it’s hard to let go.

I like making Artists Trading Cards. You may remember, I made some before.

I still have the ones I received in the previous swap I entered. They are, I think, tucked down the side of the kitchen Drawer of Doom (so named as it is the drawer where everything that is small, sad and doesn’t have a proper place or purpose ends up.)

modflowers: learning to let go - atc'sI decided to enter this year’s Artist Trading Card swap, which takes place on Wednesday evening as part of Sherwood Art Week.

I like the process of making a tiny piece of textile art – they have to be just 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size – or rather, ten tiny pieces of art, which is how many you need to bring to the swap. You then receive a random selection of ten cards made by other people in return.

I’ve based some of this year’s designs on miniature patchwork quilts. There’s the log cabin block above, and a couple of patchwork and quilted ones…

modflowers: learning to let go - atc'smodflowers: learning to let go - SAW 16 ATCsThe rest are embroidered and appliqued designs.

I really like them and I am tempted to make more to frame, as they are quite satisfying to do and pretty when done.

modflowers: learning to let go - ATCsThey can be displayed, used to make greetings cards, or even sewn onto clothing like a patch, being entirely made of fabric.

modflowers: learning to let go - atc'sBut I must admit, I have a confession to make.

I find it hard to let go of these miniature artworks once they’re made.

I like the idea of swapping them for a random selection of other people’s works, really I do…

But I just feel – and it sounds awful I know, so don’t tell anyone – I just know that I’ll like mine best.

modflowers: learning to let go - atc'sSo I’m treating this as a test of character. A challenge to my selfish nature. A lesson in letting go.

I will not hang onto them. I will not hoard them. My little artworks, about which I feel so proud and proprietorial, will be released into the world, hopefully to brighten someone else’s day.

modflowers: learning to let go - atc'sAfter all, I can always make myself some more, can’t I? ♥

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give me a (new) sign

modflowers: give me a (new) signI realised the other day that I did my first stall over four years ago.

This was it:

modflowers' first ever stallNot a lot on it, was there?!

But one thing it did have, right from the start, was a sign. (Although it was made out of little bits of paper.)

I have lost track of the number of craft fairs I’ve been to where there are lovely stalls, but I am completely at a loss to know who they are. Because they don’t have a sign to tell you.

I have a poor memory for names, and I’m not very good at filing business cards I pick up – they live on the side of the fridge for a while before eventually, covered in dust and general kitchen stickiness, they end up in the bin.

I tend to keep track of favourite stalls by snapping a photo. But looking back, I can only tell who the stalls belong to if they have a sign.

It’s a shame, because I might well have sought out some of them online later.

Once my first sign started to get a bit grubby and wrinkled (like me) I sewed myself a proper one…

modflowers: give me a (new) signI made my replacement sign from a deckchair sling, because as well as being bold and eye-catching the fabric is also water-resistant.

But looking at my stall set-up with a critical eye recently, I felt a bit “meh” about it.

I fancied a change.

So I made a new one…
modflowers: give me a (new) signI used the same technique – wrapping wire with fabric – as in my recent hoopla creations…

modflowers: hanging around - handmade mouse hanging art, soft sculptureThe new sign is lightweight and easy to transport.

And if it gets a bit crumpled en route, it can just be bent back into shape.

modflowers: give me a signI added a few little fripperies, just to make it cuter…

modflowers: give me a (new) signmodflowers: give me a (new) signmodflowers: give me a (new) signIt can be propped on a shelf, pinned to the front of the stall, or hung on the wall.

And it looks quite nice when not in use…modflowers: give me a (new) signMind you, by the time I’d finished making it my fingers were a bit fatigued after all that wrapping.

I was beginning to wish I’d chosen a shorter name for my business.

So now it’s done I’m quite glad to be able to call it a wrap. ♥

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