The garden has been sadly neglected this past couple of months. Although it bumbled on quite nicely all on its own for a while, now the neglect is beginning to show – although the current spate of appalling weather didn’t help matters at all!
Goodness knows where this carrier bag came from … certainly not from anywhere I shop, but it arrived in the high winds and it has lurked in the phormium for a few days now (sigh). Every day as I go down to the studio I notice it, but I am so focused on what I am up to in the studio that even the carrier bag is neglected.
It is good to be playing with fabric and thread again, although somewhat surprising. It was as if someone had thrown a switch and I moved from being 110% obsessed with the garden to being 110% absorbed in the studio. Not that I am doing anything very exciting (Linda – Please don’t get your hopes up for a flurry of sketchbook pages!) Firstly I did some little scented sachets for a variety of Christmas markets then I was asked to do a workshop for local patch-workers, which will take place next January, so that has meant many hours of preparation, experimentation and boundary pushing – bliss. I am also absorbed in creating some embroidered fabrics for making handbags.
sadly happily an “all or nothing person” and my perpetual gripe is that I don’t seem to get the balance right. Realistically I need to remind myself that it is not a case of either / or rather a case of and / and. It is OK to have a brake from gardening, so I may loose a few plants in the greenhouse to neglect, if I don’t have tulips in the Spring next year it is no biggie and it is absolutely fine to immerse myself in the studio for a few months because I know that come the new year, I will be chomping at the bit to be out amongst the plants once more. The difficulty comes when I have my studio head on and someone asks me if I want an exhibition next year …. I reply “Oh, Yes please!” (beaming happily) then 2 days later the panic sets in as I wonder when on earth I will have the time to get together a body of textile work once the growing season is in full swing.
In the garden we have to think, plan, observe as well as actually do the business of “gardening”, if we do these things, the garden develops and moves forwards, it grows and flourishes. So it is with the business of making art, if we neglect to think, plan, observe and practise our art or craft, it doesn’t develop and grow. Sadly, our abilities don’t remain static either but rather go backwards, drawing or mark making needs to be practised regularly to remain fluid and active. You would think I would find it easy, to take a moment with a pencil and sketchbook and do a doodle or two in the garden every day, sadly I dont. Maybe it because my hands are always covered with soil, or perhaps because I find it difficult to simply observe the garden without jumping up to pull a weed or tie in a wayward plant – but most likely it is because I am so out of practise at drawing that I really dislike my sketchbook – in transactional analysis terms my “be perfect driver” has kicked in big time! So rather than do a “bad” drawing, I do no drawing at all!
So while I kick myself about being unable to get the balance right between garden and art in my life – as I write this I realize that perhaps it is not about balance at all, but about fluidity being able to move from gardening to mark-making without making a song and dance about it. Picking up my pen and paper when I notice a seed head that would look fabulous done in embroidery, pulling a weed when I walk down to my studio, combining these two important aspects of my life instead of keeping them separate and apart. After all – I did name this blog “An Artist’s Garden”!
The garden despite my neglect has wonderful colour just now, as the Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) is covered with flowers. I always think of this glorious splash of colour as the last Hurrah before the winter sets in.