Practicality and the art of tidying

Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, Galleries, Philosophy, Relationships, Soul searching

I have been itching, quite literally, as my eczema has been so bad but an investment in a pair of marigolds seems to be helping with the problem. Suggested by my husband, no problems only solutions. However, that was not my point. I have been desperate to carry on with my sorting and de-cluttering since the boys went back to school on Tuesday. I have been at the shop though, as ever practical, my husband ordered a storage unit for the side of the studio to put in work which is not in exhibition but finished so to create more space in the studio for creating. He has been impatiently wanting this solution for a while.

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storage 1








He booked out a whole day to wait for the delivery, only to be told they couldn’t make it as they needed a special machine. They said they could bring it at 6pm so my husband waited until 7.30pm and it still didn’t arrive. 8am the following morning we received a call saying they were outside the studio. We both wonder why we are so excited about storage and tidying at the moment.

Today, the sculptor was up early (3.30am) again London bound as we have excitedly sold ‘Madame Butterfly’. Then he and his right hand man are heading on to deliver the remainder of the calligraphy collection to the Hannah Pescher sculpture gardens.

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Some of the calligraphy collection heading to Hannah Pescher

So I have been in the shop all week unable to carry on my house de-clutter project. However, since my last post which resonated with many people a dear friend pointed me in the direction of the KonMari method. So, I have had time this week to do a little research. The method has been created by a Japanese lady Marie Kondo.

Japan and all things Japanese are in my blood, it feels or has definitely have influenced the shaping of me in someway. When I was 18 I went to a small village to live and work in a Leonard Cheshire home. At that time I had only ever been to France and Holland, so the culture shock was huge but I embraced and enjoyed the deep and spiritual meaning which seeped into every aspect of the lifestyle and way of being.

This sculpture, ‘Madame Butterfly’ is the outline of a woman wearing a Kimono. A geisha girl. The opera is very much about the meeting of east and west and there is such contrast between the attitudes and styles of the western world and the eastern traditions. As in the simplicity I desire for the home, this style of the theme of work by husband is about stripping back the outline to the simplest form.

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Looking into Marie Kondo’s style and her art of tidying was a great reminder of the Japanese art of being and living. Something I have not been doing and not obviously picked up from my time in Japan as I looked last night at the disaster and disorganisation of my domain. So, eager to implement it, I ‘KonMari’ -ed my wardrobe which is where she suggests to start. With clothing. This seems where I have been going wrong. Starting with all my Japanese memorabilia, letters and souvenir boxes was too hard. I need to learn how to sense whether an item ‘Spark’s Joy’ or not. According to her, by the time I have worked through clothes, books, documents and miscellaneous only then can I tackle those things that have meaning.

In just two hours I folded my huge pile of clothes, origami style and feel instantly inspired. Today wearing a skirt I have never worn before, so much so that the boys were shocked this morning and wondered if I was taking them to school with it on. A skirt which I bought in Egypt when I was staying with my sister-in-law for an extended period of time during maternity leave. So immediately the item has a memory, a story attached to the item of clothing and in this case it spark’s joy. Although, I did have to negotiate the steps up to school a little bit unused to the length of dress.

In today’s busy, constant buying and consumer driven world we all seem to have a deep desire to get back to a more basic way of life. Once we have detached from the past we can focus on the here and now and have no fear of the future- this is the theory. Can we put it into practice?

As the sculptor parts with another sculpture to someone who has purchased it as an item which will hopefully spark joy for them, I wonder what to do with my treasured kimono? Defiantly not something practical to be wearing on the school run.

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Kimono Section of ‘Madame Butterfly’


Beautiful Bronze, Philosophy, Soul searching

'The Thinker'

This sculpture, from this angle looks like a Japanese mask. Warrior like. Powerful. Strong. Alone.

In 1997 I spent 6 months in Japan. It was the first time I left home and I was on the other side of the world. Although I made lots of friends and worked there, so was  settled in a routine, it was the first real experience of being alone. I definitely experienced loneliness rather than homesickness. On my days off work I would sometimes go to the local shrines or the ‘apple cafe’ to draw. I remember  on a walk up a mountain, and on resting, lying down on my back and seeing a circle made from the tall trees above me. Then watching a single swallow flying across the sky. Like a Haiku poem. I realised I was alone.

As a teenager, I do think I dwelled upon the world ‘alone’ being a lonely place. Now in adulthood, being literally on my own is almost a luxury. So when I do have the time to myself I relish it. I find strength in it. There is peace and contentment to be found in being with yourself. Which leads me to my next question, are we ever really alone?

Whether we are the only planet which inhabits life is one big question of being ‘alone’ or ‘not alone. For me, another more profound reason as to why I am not alone is my belief in God. We watched something last night that resonated with me. The idea that those who don’t believe in a higher being or struggle with the concept, need to have an absolute proof, a certainty that there is something ‘greater’, ‘a creator’. For myself, having had almost, a before and after experience. I feel that believing in something is not just simply a comfort, as it then brings up so many more struggles and challenges.

Yesterday, our eldest boy was having a conversation with a friend of ours.

 “Alien’s don’t exist” our boy said.

“How do you know? Asked the friend.

“Because in my dreams about space I don’t see any aliens”

I was amused and intrigued by this exchange. He had logically thought through, that if he didn’t see them (in his dreams) then they didn’t exist. Proof of children’s ever-changing states of mind, the number of drawings we have of aliens almost disproves his own argument. (I think he has seen them in his dreams!)

It made me think about the arguments:

Do we really need to see things clearly to know they exist?

Does finding comfort in the idea of a creator just stop us from thinking we are alone?

Or, do we struggle with the idea of being alone because when we are, we are forced to think more deeply about whether we really are?