Friday, 4 December 2015

A Great Escape

It's been a hive of activity here, working on commissions for Christmas for dear customers, and in between painting a handful of special Christmas decorations.  In the midst of all this I began to feel like I needed to get out, escape.  Do you ever have that feeling?

Previous to feeling like this, I'd had a few emails about the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate, but up until last Thursday I had only half heartedly contemplated going.  However, that morning as the sun rose up over the crags, I had a sudden urge for adventure, to go off by myself somewhere for a day.  As luck would have it, my other half was working from home and was available to do the school run, so I gathered my belongings and drove off to the station to get my tickets.

It was a crisp, bright day.  Perfect for adventure.  Boarding the train I felt a sudden rush of good feelings.  We whizzed through pretty countryside, the rolling hills lay tinged with gold in the morning light and eventually we got to Leeds where I had to change trains.


Such noise, bustle and life!  Such crowds, comings and goings of trains pulling in and out, tannoy calls, the aroma of fresh coffee and toasties, the rumble of suitcase wheels on the tarmac, the unmistakeable smell of the trains, a shriek of a whistle...every nerve ending in my body was suddenly alive, tingling with the delight of doing something new and different to the ordinary.  

As our train pulled away from Leeds, I got to thinking, and I realised that my world had become small and predictable.  In fact, bubble like.  I had my routines down to a fine art, I did the school run, I went to the supermarket, did chores and household tasks...and I hasten to add, I'm not complaining about any of this.  I love my family, my work and my home.  But somewhere along the way this routine had become my lifestyle, and the person who I used to be had got lost underneath a never ending list of 'To Do's' and demands.

Sophie Digard scarves, at the Selvedge stand

Eventually I arrived at Harrogate, a sparkling day pregnant with possibility.  On the train I had messaged some friends to tell them of my plans, and it just so happened my dear friend Marna was travelling to the show too, so we arranged to meet up!  Neither of us had had any idea the other was going, and as we hadn't seen each other since June, we jumped at the chance of a catch up.

Serendipitous things kept happening, when I got to the show (minus ticket) I asked a guide where I might purchase one.  A dear lady with a group of friends overheard me asking, and offered me a spare they were trying to sell - so I got in for the amazing price of £10, as opposed to £17!

Marna and I wandered around the halls admiring the exhibits and purchasing some gorgeous things.  The Knitting and Stitching show is great for inspiration, it fills up my well completely and I came home bursting to the brim with new ideas and plans.  After creating a brand new type of mixed media work last month, I felt reassured that I would be working on more things like that next year, the tactile element of mixed media work delights me and it's definitely going to be featuring more in what I do.

Felted necklace by Felt by Bridget

The day was a tonic.  Marna and I talked non stop about all kinds of things; our work, marketing, selling online, and then things more closer to the heart, our struggles, being this age and the challenges it brings.  I have resolved to do things like this more often now - my other half is very supportive of this luckily, and between us we can arrange child care and such like.  As much as I like where we live, and love what I do I am seeing that it is essential to my well being to do things for myself like this, to have these times either alone or with friends where I can reconnect with myself and forget about all the other stuff.  I'm grateful for my life, for all the opportunities, but there are also parts of my life that have slowly evolved and absorbed me without me even noticing.  Routine and habit can eat away at us, leave us dull and listless.

Tomorrow I am going to Birmingham to see my friend Kate Brazier, a talented artist who is exhibiting at the Etsy Christmas market.  Our friend Andrea Berry who is a textile artist and makes the most amazing bags, is meeting me at the station and we are going to shop, chat, shop, chat and then later on the three of us will go for a bite to eat and a Christmas drink and talk about all the things that light us up.  Whenever I see these girls, I always leave their company feeling buoyed, illuminated and happy.   I've also booked a workshop at Hope and Elvis next May, where I will be learning how to solder with Di T Foster - I can't wait to try something new!

Practising gratitude for the small things, every day.  Planning more adventures, dreaming up new art.  Writing more, making time for self care, more yoga and sitting quietly. 

Have a lovely weekend.
Julia x

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