I’ve just completed an online course with Christine Valtners Paintner called ‘Seasons of the Soul’. Over six weeks, we explored the wisdom and insight present in the rise and fall of each breath, day, week, month, year, and in the overall rise and fall of our lives.
One particularly resonant quote for me was from the French writer Anaïs Nin:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
I’ve been working very hard to get my studio into it’s new, well-organised, well-flowing incarnation so that I could welcome guests into it on 5th March. I was very focussed on the practical, hands on, physical shape-shifting that was taking place. This quote gave me a place to pause and to realise that I was feeling more than a little bit scared about announcing myself as an artist to the world. It also made me absolutely certain that, come hell or high water, I was going to go through with it.
Two days ago, I had the marvelous experience of spending the day in my studio watching a basket of blue hyacinth bulbs bloom. I’d bought them a week earlier and asked for some that would be out by Saturday, which was my studio début. I was too busy that morning to photograph them, on the cusp of blossoming with swelling dark purple-blue heads against the deep green leaves. But, here they were on Monday.
My husband Steve has been my champion (v. to fight for) throughout my studio re-Vamp and début, helping me in so many ways from schlepping furniture, to posting signs to help our guests feel welcome and oriented, to making coffee throughout the day, designing labels for my artwork , getting last-minute food and drink for our Foraging After-Party (don’t forget that the Moretonhampstead Food Festival was in full swing that day) and generally being a calm, supportive presence.
Most treasured of all, is his absolute confidence in me as an artist.
We had a fantastic day! We reckon we had about 150 visitors; some came for a look, some stopped to have a chat and some sat down to home-made American coffee cake and freshly brewed coffee.
Our dear friends John, Jayne and Philippa were on hand to welcome our guests and show them my artwork, which we had displayed all around our flat. I also loved seeing many of the friends I’ve made since moving to Devon, some of whom I first showed my artwork to when I was still very much a fledgling artist and their encouragement meant (and means) so much to me.
I sold several of my new, smaller pieces: vessels, couvert à cafetiere, brooches and cards. I also received 3 commissions to make a new line of shoulder bags. It was so fabulous to be in my studio and design them on the hoof, being able to offer fabric, button and strap options to my clientele. Towards the end of the day, I sold a very important piece of artwork, one that I feel ready to let go of, yet I am aware that it will be a moving ‘good-bye’ process.
My studio is at the back of our flat, next to our bedroom, so I took small groups of people to see our wedding quilt Cleaved and told the story of Steve and I and about all of the inspiration and symbolism therein. I am looking forward to including our journey On the Way to the Wedding in my fibre art talks.
In addition, I will be offering 1 to 1 tuition from my home on various quilting and fibre art techniques, and I have been invited to speak about and share my work with a couple of groups. It all unfolded and came to be in a wonderful three-dimensional spiral of a day.
My now Not So Secret Studio closed it’s doors at 4pm. As I took a last look around my studio, before going into the kitchen for a Prosecco toast to celebrate a fabulous Secret Studio day and début, my eyes rested on the now fully blossomed hyacinth.