Arts and Crafts – Using Memories

Lockdown Arts and Crafts

Like many people, over the years we have accumulated many things.

One thing we have collected is a box full of art and craft materials from various projects in the past, so during a lockdown sort out, we discovered some old air-dried clay, unused, plus a packet of clay crafting materials. Originally it was bought to make Christmas decorations, but being too busy at the time it never got used. It’s sat in a box for about three years, so we were not hopeful it could still be used.

Opening the packet, the clay inside was a little hard, but with perseverance and a little water we gently coaxed it back into life. Missing the sea and the little harbours we embarked on a project of creating little boats, some seaside houses and a lighthouse. Our crafting kit was fairly basic, but all we needed from it was the rolling pin and a cutting tool and using a tiny ruler from a geometry set, we started to create the little sailing fleet.

Working with clay, even old clay is very therapeutic, and as the little boats emerged, our thoughts turned to happier times visiting our favourite seaside villages. Once we had created the boats, we made very simple houses and a lighthouse. At the last minute we remembered to make a tiny hole at the top of each item so we could hang them up!

Leaving to dry on baking paper on an old tray we waited with nervous anticipation in case they cracked. The next day they were still intact and we painted them quickly with white acrylic paint to seal them before any cracks appeared and reinforced the join of the sails to the hull with masking tape.

Another day passed before we completed the painting on both sides and finally we had our little scene.

Clay BoatsAt Christmas we had bought a little white tree which had been too fragile to pack away with the other decorations, but now was bought back to life by us hanging all the little seaside items on its branches. It now sits happily in the corner of the lounge. If you were making the same, a branch could also be used.

Safety note: We wouldn’t recommend using this as a mobile for a baby, or small children, as if it fell the clay would be dangerous.

As we look back on this period of lockdown this will be one of our happier memories, bridging the gap between the freedom of our past and our hopes for the future.

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The view from my window

The View from my Window - My Creative Notebook

All my life I have been easily distracted by the view through a window, starting from my years in a sixth form art block gazing at the cathedral in the distance. This distraction eventually became the inspiration for my final fabric printing submission. I love the sense of calm that a beautiful view can bring, it may be the sky, but it can often be the way the window forms a natural picture frame.

Whenever I am fortunate to be living, or staying near the coast with a sea view l often rush from inside the house to photograph endless spectacular sunsets that I have seen from behind the glass. When going out for a meal by the sea, my preference is always to have the table with a view, gazing out over water lifts the soul. Constantly changing, the sea and sky compete for my attention.

Now living more inland, my view is more restricted, our garden is tiny, but even with the most microscopic of gardens, little miracles can occur. It is December and yet there are tomatoes ripening on the window-sill, no greenhouse beauties these, but grown and nurtured by my daughter. Carefully picked from our still flourishing tomato plant purchased for 50p from our local garden centre at the end of the season.

I love colours and textures and for me every part of this view tells a story.

The View from my Window - My Creative NotebookThe blue bottles have been in my collection for many years, each one added over time, and carefully wrapped for each house move. When the children were little they became part of a story of good fairies and naughty fairies that lived inside. Only one has a cork and that kept the naughty fairy safely tucked away! Now I smile at the memory and love the way that the light shines through them.

Behind the bottles an olive tree grows, it came with the house, but it serves as a reminder of the matching one that we have in a pot at the front, it brings comfort and stability and reminds me of beautiful olive groves growing in Tuscany. Beyond the olive tree we have two contrasting trees, the beautiful bay tree, still flourishing and growing despite the chill, and the apple tree, branches now bare but reminding me of the delicious fruit that it gave us during the summer.

Next to the apple tree are the striking colours of the geranium, still in flower and protected by the warmth of the wall behind. Finally in the distance the beautiful reds of the leaves in the tree next door, glowing in the remains of the winter sunshine. This garden may be petite, but I love the ever-changing view, as the sun makes its way across the sky and when we are rewarded with a full moon at night.

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